The Migrant and Refugee Crisis: artistic and civil society responses at Leicester Cathedral

Leicester Cathedral is marking Refugee Week with an exhibition and series of events over the summer. The main exhibition piece is Arabella Dorman’s “Suspended”. Clothing and shoes salvaged from camps in Lesbos and Calais will be suspended over the Cathedral nave with an invitation for viewers to handle and touch the clothes. Arabella Dorman said: “I recently stood amidst the ruins of Aleppo having travelled to Syria to bear witness. A buried shoe, a lady’s handbag, a child’s toy in the rubble are the only traces of the men, women and children who once lived there, refugees now stuck between a past to which they can never return, and a future to which they cannot move forward. “Suspended” seeks to bring these lives to our attention and remind us of the urgent need for compassion, empathy and understanding as we reach out to our fellow human beings in plight. In doing so, it is a call to re-find the common thread that binds the mosaic of life together in celebration of our shared humanity.”

One of the events, “The Migrant and Refugee Crisis: artistic and civil society responses” takes place from 6.30pm on Friday 13 July 2018. This is a panel event organised by Leicester University’s Department of Media Communication and Sociology in association with the Leicester Migration Network and speakers include:

Pierre Monforte and Gaja Maestri from Leicester University’s Department of Media Communication and Sociology, Sandra Dudley from Leicester University’s Museum Studies and Ambrose Musiyiwa, writer and events organiser.

I will be on the panel to talk about “Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge” and subsequent initiatives, the Journeys Poems Pop-up Library held at Leicester Railway Station during the Everybody’s Reading Festival and the Journeys in Translation project.

Dr Maria Rovisco, from Leicester University’s Department of Media Communication and Sociology and the Leicester Migration Network, said: “Artistic responses to the European migration crisis gained momentum in 2016. From Ai Weiwei’s high profile Berlin installation, which covered a Berlin landmark with thousands of life jackets used by people seeking asylum, to artistic interventions such as participatory arts workshops in refugee camps and fundraising arts projects, many artists are embracing agendas for justice and social change that extend beyond the arts. Yet, we know little about what is driving civil society actors and artists to engage with the plight of refugees. Against the backdrop of Arabella Dorman’s ‘Suspended’, this panel discussion invites activists, poets, academics and the general public to look at how can we build more hospitable and welcoming societies for those seeking refuge on the European continent.”

There will be a question and answer session after the speakers. More details from the Facebook event.


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