A place for the displaced

Leicester is celebrating the contribution of refugees and asylum seekers through a week-long programme of events during Refugee Week.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK, and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. It takes place every year across the world in the week of World Refugee Day on Wednesday 20 June.

The University is working towards becoming a University of Sanctuary and is already working with refugees and asylum seekers, providing language classes and opening up other opportunities for participation in higher education.

During Refugee Week, which begins on Monday 18 June, the University will:

  • Provide information for those hoping to apply to University in the future
  • Highlight information about volunteering opportunities with refugees and asylum seekers
  • Take part in a visit to a City of Sanctuary drop in
  • Provide talks about what it is like to be a refugee or asylum seeker in Europe
  • Have a film show about the experience of three Zimbabwean refugees and their lives in Leicester

Refugee Week also sees the launch of an internationally acclaimed artwork at Leicester Cathedral. The installation, Suspended, supported by the University will be exhibited from Refugee Week, through the Cathedral’s ‘Conversations’ season until Leicester’s ArtReach-led Journeys Festival International.

Composed of hundreds of items of clothing discarded by refugees upon their arrival on the island of Lesbos, a ‘stilled explosion’ will be created over the Cathedral nave, inviting the viewer to contemplate the violent fragmentation experienced by the inhabitants of the garments.

Phil Horspool, from the University’s English Language Teaching Unit and Chair of the University of Sanctuary steering group, said: “The University of Leicester is delighted to contribute to bringing this exhibit to the city. We will be actively contributing to raising awareness of the plight of refugees through the organisation of various events across the summer. We are committed to becoming a University that welcomes refugees and asylum seekers and increasing the opportunities for them to participate in and contribute to our community.”