What is Refugee Week?


May 26, 2023
May has been a busy month for Curious Motion! As well as providing our regular programme of classes, we’re hard at work making preparations for a very special event.

What is Refugee Week?

Compassion in Action flyer. Saturday 17th June, 1pm - 4pm at Project Colt, Elland Bridge, HX5 0SG. Drop in, no need to book! Enjoy music, drawing, dancing, free refreshments and more! On a white background with purple, yellow, green, red, blue, and orange circles dotted around, plus an illustration of two colourful imaginary beings embracing in a big hug.

May has been a busy month for Curious Motion! As well as providing our regular programme of classes, we’re hard at work making preparations for a very special event. On Saturday 17th June, we’re holding ‘Compassion in Action’ at Project Colt in Elland. It’s looking to be a lovely day of community arts to bring people together for Refugee Week 2023, and you’re all invited!

But what is Refugee Week?

Refugee Week, which this year will run from 19 – 25th June 2023, is an umbrella festival that anyone across the world can take part in, all to do with celebrating the meaningful contributions that refugees and asylum seekers make in our society, and helping build strong and resilient communities that can welcome and come together with people seeking sanctuary.

The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is ‘Compassion’. Compassion can be complex to describe. I feel the best way to do it is not to describe the concept itself, but what it motivates us to do. Compassion is what enable us to do things to help ease the suffering of others and also ourselves. Hence the title ‘Compassion in Action’. The question is not ‘What is compassion?’, but ‘What can we do with it?’.

It’s important that anything set up for Refugee Week is based around the wants and needs of those who have lived experience of seeking sanctuary. Earlier this month we held a feedback event to gather ideas from local refugees and asylum seekers not only about what activities they might like included in ‘Compassion in Action’ but also what they might like to access in our regular classes, and how we’re doing with supporting them (check out the photos on the left to see some of the feedback!).

I want to say a big thank you to everybody that came; for me it was the first time meeting some people and it was so lovely to connect and to learn. So many ideas came out of the meeting, from craft, to exercise, to music, to art. It helped us get a big picture of what we can do next, and helped us make a game plan for ‘Compassion in Action’.

Following on from all this valuable feedback, we’re busy organising an event that you can expect to include music, art, free refreshments, and of course movement! Sam and I are also working on a special sharing with the children who attend our ‘Stories in Motion’ class, and they’ve been giving lots of fabulous input to create something that showcases their own ideas on compassion and friendship.

There’s no need to book for the event, simply pop in and out as you please. We’ll be at Project Colt from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday 17th June, so please do come and say hello!

We’re also looking for some volunteers to help run the event smoothly, assisting us with managing refreshments and activities, health and safety etc. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, please do get in contact. You can email me isla@curiousmotion.org.uk, or contact Sam on WhatsApp on 07740 366365 for more info.

It would really be a big help to get some more hands on deck to make sure we can make this a valuable and enjoyable experience for everybody.

Take a look at the Refugee Week website for more information about migration, compassion, and the festival itself. If you’d like to host your own event or get involved in any way, big or small, there’s resources for that too – including a shop where you can buy merchandise to help support Refugee Week. The artwork is also really fantastic – they’ve commissioned the artist Murugiah to do some beautiful bold, fantastical designs themed around compassion. I’m planning on ordering a sweatshirt for myself!

In a time where migration and the word ‘refugee’ is used as a political bargaining chip, it’s important that we approach the subject with kindness, nuance and a willingness to learn.

Whether you have lived experience of seeking sanctuary or you don’t, I hope that you can join us in celebration and solidarity to acknowledge that compassion is at its most powerful when it’s manifested in action.

Hope to see you there! Isla x


Isla Hurst

Questions in Motion Author

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