The 15 - 21 June 2009 was Refugee Week, a national event which encourages people to celebrate the positive contributions that refugees and asylum seekers make to the UK. Ann-marie McGoughey, our project worker for engaging refugees and asylum seekers, tells us how it went:
This year, the Simple Acts campaign was launched to inspire people to use small, everyday actions to help change the perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers. Refugee Week organisers have developed a list of 20 simple actions, that anyone can do, such as 'smile', 'cook a dish from another country' or 'learn to say a few things in another language'. The full list can be seen on the Simple Acts website.
Here at National Museums Liverpool, we supported Refugee Week and the Simple Acts campaign, by delivering a series of events for staff and visitors. Events included a drawing workshop with artist Charlotte Brown, linked to the 20 Simple Acts. Participants chose their favourite act and drew a picture to represent it. Charlotte then joined all of the pictures together to create a Simple Acts banner, which measured over 9 metres in length! Staff also had the opportunity to contribute to this enormous piece of artwork during a lunchtime event at World Museum Liverpool.
We also had a number of events in the museum’s Treasure House Theatre, including African Beats workshops with Chaba. During these workshops, visitors learnt how to drum, sing and also tried African travelling dance. Also in the theatre during the week, we showed two films created by groups of young refugees and asylum seekers: Visitor & Samurai and Make Your Own Liverpool.
The week ended with a celebration event involving groups of primary school children and students from EMTAS (Ethnic Minority & Traveller Achievement Service). The pupils had been working with EMTAS in the run-up to Refugee Week and treated us all to a show of performances, films and artwork that they had created. The grand finale included a balloon release outside of World Museum Liverpool, during which the children released their positive messages for refugees and asylum seekers.
All in all, a very enjoyable week, with over 560 simple acts completed by National Museums Liverpool staff and visitors! I can't wait for next year!