Opening Hearts through Arts

Updated 22 June 2022: Trying to heal in the midst of chaos

The retraumatisation of the hostile environment

shado and Counterpoints Arts have collaborated on a series of articles in celebration of Refugee Week 2022. They are written by artists, activists and journalists who are creating change in their communities and exposing first-hand the hostility of the UK’s asylum system. This piece is written by Loraine Mponela, a mother, writer, community organiser and migrants’ rights campaigner. She is originally from Malawi and moved to the UK in 2008 where she now lives in Coventry. Loraine is the ex-chair (2018-2022) for Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG) and is the co-chair for the Status Now 4 All Campaign which is calling for Indefinite Leave to Remain for all that need it in the UK and Ireland. Loraine also sits on the advisory group of Refugee Week UK.

This year’s Refugee Week theme of ‘Healing’ has brought up a lot of questions for me around the healing that needs to take place for refugees trying to settle here in the UK. The immigration system is constantly stabbing and prodding at us. How can a wound heal if it keeps on being opened?

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Would Little Amal go to Rwanda this year?

Quakers in Britain: Fred Ashmore discusses the harshening hostile environment for refugees and asylum seekers and shares what a response rooted in love and justice could look like.

Last year, many British Quakers took part in or witnessed a series of events throughout Britain in which a 3m tall puppet, Little Amal, journeyed from the Syrian border via Dover to Manchester, joining in events and rallies during her journey. Amal symbolised the search for a new life of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers. The events were inspiring and full of hope.

Little Amal’s journey ended in late 2021. Since then, the UK government has passed the Nationality and Borders Act – legislation which changes the potential outcomes for those who come here full of hope. This year, 2022, Amal would be identified as a criminal because she didn’t travel by one of the government’s approved routes. A real life Amal could well be rejected from applying for asylum in the UK and could even be deported to Rwanda under the government’s scheme.

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Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.

Start with Hope, change will follow

Updated 5 June 2022: Amal is back on the road in UK 19 – 27 June 2022

She will be visiting Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Stonehenge, London, Canterbury, and ending on the beach at Folkestone where she arrived last year:

Continue reading “Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.”

Michael Morpurgo on A Point of View speaks about welcoming refugees and migrants

BBC: Point of View:

‘Over the centuries’, writes Michael Morpurgo, ‘we have been a safe haven to so many, and they have helped make us the people we are today – at our best, a deeply humanitarian people. I fear we are not at our best today’. Michael argues that, although we need to address the issue of people smuggling and deaths from dangerous Channel crossings, we must not lose our capacity for kindness and ‘generosity of spirit’ towards those who need our help.

This talk is worth listening to..

Released On: 20 May 2022 Available for over a year

‘The other side of hope’

the other side of hope: journeys in refugee and immigrant literature

SUBMISSIONS OPEN until 31st of May 2022 – ​please read updated submissions guidelines below

new email address for submissions:

​We admire, respect, and are friends with writers and poets from all walks of life. However, the other side of hope exists to serve, bring together, and celebrate the refugee and immigrant communities worldwide. To help promote and showcase writing from these communities, fiction and poetry are open to refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants only. We accept non-fiction, book reviews, and author interview submissions by everyone on the theme of migration. Please see categories below.

We publish twice a year, one print issue and one online issue. Continue reading “‘The other side of hope’”

Together with Refugees – show your support

QARN is a signatory to Together With Refugees: please get involved in the Orange Hearts campaign at their your local level.

Updated 28 April 2022: After the government forces through the Nationality & Borders Bill we fight on…

Today, in the face of overwhelming opposition, and forced to resort to strong-arm tactics in the House of Lords, the Government has managed to steamroller the catastrophic Nationality and Borders Bill through Parliament.

[…] Kindness and compassion will win …

We should take a moment to celebrate all that we’ve achieved together over the last year. We will be drawing on the vitality and breadth of our coalition of over 400 organisations, and supporters up and down the country, who have shown their resolve to fight the bill every step.

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The Power of Art

EVENT: Life Seekers Aid Art Exhibition – 6 November 2021, London

Life Seekers Aid (LSA) would like to invite you to ‘The Penally Camp Exhibition’. We will be showcasing the amazing artwork of Asylum Seekers and Refugees who were accommodated at the MoD Facility in Wales. 

We are exhibiting artworks from artists who were present at the camp, the creation of which served as a lifeline and means of expression for people whose voices were being stifled. The works tell a human story of their journey, their homelands and the prosecution they have suffered along the way. They also tell of their continued mistreatment at the hands of the Home Office/The Far-Right. 

The Home Office Policies/ The new ‘Anti-Refugee Bills’, which they are currently attempting to pass, try to criminalise/dehumanise people seeking refuge in Britain. 

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There are two films here: ‘Suspended’, and ‘Roots’

These films are short, and ‘Roots’ in particular will be very appropriate for adults, but also for showing in schools.

Inscape Animations is a group of three women who use the medium of film to address global issues such as war, migration and climate change. Throu​gh a combination of sound, image and words, we aim to explore complex ideas and challenge xenophobic narratives.

There are two films: ‘Suspended’, and ‘Roots’

You can see the films here: Inscape Animations: