Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June.

In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

Refugee Week started in 1998 as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers. An established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week is now one of the leading national initiatives working to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.

Refugee Week takes place in June each year Refugee Week
Refugee Week takes place in June each year

The aims of Refugee Week are:

  • To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility
  • To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK
  • To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector
  • To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences
  • Our ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution.

Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, with events held by a wide range of arts, voluntary, faith and refugee community organisations, schools, student groups and more. Past events have included arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, concerts, football tournaments and public talks, as well as creative and educational activities in schools.

Refugee Week celebrates the contributions of refugees and refugee communities in Britain Refugee Week
Refugee Week celebrates the contributions of refugees and refugee communities in Britain

Through Refugee Week, organisations and individuals aim to provide an important opportunity for asylum seekers and refugees to be seen, listened to and valued.

The theme of Refugee Week 2019 is ‘You, me and those who came before’, an invitation to explore the lives of refugees – and those who have welcomed them – throughout the generations. Read more about this year’s theme here.

Refugee Week 2019 | West Midlands events

Refugee Week 2019 Exhibition Syrie Prints by Haseebah AliHaseebah Ali / GAP Arts

EVENT: Syrie: Prints by Haseebah Ali
DATE: 11/06/2019 – 20/07/2019
TIME: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
VENUE: The GAP, Birmingham
DETAILS: An exhibition by Haseebah Ali responding to images of displacement and loss that filled the headlines at the height of the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Refugee Week 2019 Action for Refugees BirminghamAction for Refugees

EVENT: Auction for Action 2019
DATE: 17/06/2019 – 23/06/2019
TIME: 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
VENUE: Online at
DETAILS:  Auction for Action is an online auction event each night of Refugee Week until Sunday 23 June showcasing local artists, designers, makers and shakers.

Refugee Week 2019 Film Screening Glasgow Girls BirminghamBBC Films

EVENT: Refugee Week film screening: Glasgow Girls
DATE: 19/06/19
TIME: 6:00pm – 8:30pm
VENUE: Brushstrokes, St Philips Parish Centre/Messenger Rd, Smethwick B66 3DU
DETAILS: Film screening of ‘Glasgow Girls’ followed by discussion, organised by Migrant Voice and Brushstrokes Sandwell. A film based on true events, how a community stopped deportations and change government immigration policy. This film screening is part of Refugee Week activities taking place around the city.

Refugee Week 2019 Saathi House stock imageSaathi House

EVENT: Saathi (Friendship) Celebration Day
DATE: 21/06/2019
TIME: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
VENUE: Saathi House, 49 Bevington Road, Aston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B6 6HR (Next to AVFC)
DETAILS: This is a multi faith Eid celebration for Refugee Week organised by Saathi House and SIMRA, in partnership with Migrant Voice . It is an opportunity for migrant women to join with members of the public, local community groups and refugee organisation to come together. We will be celebrating the contributions of migrant communities to the culture and economy of the city. Attendees are encouraged to bring and share food and showcase talent. All welcome.

Refugee Week 2019 Afrikan Fusion Workshop with Millicent ChapandaAfrikan Fusion

EVENT: Afrikan Fusion Workshop
DATE: 21/06/2019
TIME: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
VENUE: Symphony Hall Foyer, Birmingham, West Midlands
DETAILS: Join us for a collection of multicultural music making workshops delivered in true African cultural practices, encouraging self-expression and improvisation. Inclusive drumming, singing and dancing.

Refugee Week 2019 JAZZLINES FREE GIGS- RUSH HOUR BLUES Africa-Calls-Trio-Gaobi-Millicent-MalickSupplied

DATE: 21/06/2019
TIME: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
VENUE: Symphony Hall Foyer, Birmingham, West Midlands
DETAILS: Africa Calls Trio – A collaboration with Millicent Chapanda (Mbira player, percussionist and singer from Zimbabwe), Henri Gaobi (Master Drummer from Ivory Coast), and Malick.

Refugee Week 2019 L'Orchestre Afrisa InternationalL'Orchestre Afrisa International

EVENT: L’Orchestre Afrisa International
DATE: 22/06/2019
TIME: 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
VENUE: MAC Arts, Birmingham, West Midlands
L’Orchestre Afrisa International – The legacy of the great Congolese Rumba singer Tabu Ley Rochereau is respectfully carried on by a stellar lineup of his […]

Refugee Week 2019 Refugee Week Festival BirminghamSupplied

EVENT: Refugee Week Festival
DATE: 23/06/2019
TIME: 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm
VENUE: MAC Arts, Birmingham, West Midlands
DETAILS: A free family event with live music, workshops (drumming, arts and crafts) face painting, stalls and activities. Performances from: Afromanding, Cessie Djamba.

Refugee Week 2019 Craftspace UKCraftspace UK

EVENT: Shelanu Women’s Craft Collective at Celebrating Sanctuary Festival
DATE: 23/06/2019
TIME: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
VENUE: MAC Arts, Birmingham, West Midlands
DETAILS: What skills do you value from other countries: cooking, singing, football? At Celebrating Sancturary Refugee Week Festival members of Shelanu: Women’s Craft Collective will work.

Refugee Week 2019 Craftspace ShelanuCraftspace UK

EVENT: Transferring Skills
DATE: 23/06/2019
TIME: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
VENUE: MAC Arts, Birmingham, West Midlands
What skills do you value from other countries: cooking, singing, football? Members of Shelanu: Women’s Craft Collective will work with visitors to make transfer printed.

Refugee Week 2019 Artconnects with Salma ZulfiqarSalma Zulfiqar

EVENT: ARTconnects
DATE: 23/06/2019
TIME: 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
VENUE: MAC Arts, Birmingham West Midlands
Details: ARTconnects – A creative workshop which aims to empower refugees and strengthen links with the host communities they live in. Run by international artist and activist Salma Zulfiqar the workshop will use art and conversation to connect people from diverse backgrounds through creative expression.
Salma Zulfiqar was also voted as one of the most inspirational women to hail from Birmingham and her work has been documented in Once Upon A Time in Birmingham – Women Who Dared to Dream: New book celebrates inspiring Birmingham women and their achievements



Hosting a Refugee Week related event? Let us know via our I Am Birmingham Twitter or Facebook page, and we’ll add it to this listing. Thank you.

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