Refugee Week (20-26 June) is a nationwide initiative that celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees, migrants and people seeking sanctuary to the UK and encourages better understanding between communities.
This year, The Higgins Bedford, BRASS (Bedfordshire Refugee & Asylum Seeker Support), Bedford Creative Arts and St Paul’s Church have worked together to provide in-person events and online content to mark Refugee Week.
For the first time since the pandemic began, the popular BRASS five-a-side football tournament at Russell Park will return on Saturday 18 June. Visit www.brassbedford.org.uk to find out more.
This year The Higgins Knitting & Crochet Group celebrates its three year anniversary from when it first began as part of the Refugee Week celebrations in 2019. On Tuesday 21 June, the group will meet again to craft blue and yellow sunflowers and hearts as symbols of solidarity with Ukraine and all are welcome to join in this free session from 11am – 1pm. To register your interest, please email Gemma Hutton at firstname.lastname@example.org
The BRASS market stall will be at Bedford Market on Wednesday 22 June from 11am – 4pm. Visitors are invited to find out more about the lives and experiences of refugees and how you can help to support them at the market stall.
As part of the Body & Soul exhibition at The Higgins Bedford, the Study Day on Saturday 25 June includes a fascinating talk by Dr Charlotte Grant, Senior Lecturer in English at NCH and granddaughter of the artist Martin Bloch. Dr Grant will share stories of the pioneering women in the Bloch family who escaped persecution in Nazi Germany, including her grandmother Charlotte whose portrait is on display in the exhibition.
The Body & Soul Study Day also includes a guided tour of the exhibition with Victoria Partridge, Keeper of Fine and Decorative Art and features talks by the curators. Professor Christiana Payne discusses ‘Remarkable Women’ and reflects on the artists in the exhibition, alongside new research on the women portrayed, including the mysterious ‘Mrs Box’, the 70-year-old Devon farmer painted by Dora Carrington. Dr Mary O’Neill explores the competing notions of ‘femininity’ in artworks by Lucian Freud and Roy Lichtenstein.
The Body & Soul Study Day runs from 11am – 4pm and tickets cost £20 per person. The ticket price also includes a free copy of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Watercolour and Drawings catalogue. Please visit www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk to see the full programme of the day. Tickets can be booked on The Higgins Bedford website or by calling the Box Office on 01234 718044.
Later on Saturday 25 June from 7pm-9pm, St Paul’s Church will host an evening of spoken word, poetry and singing with MIDAIR, inspired by the theme of healing. MIDAIR (a space co-created by artist Jeff Jacques and those who identify as migrants) brings visibility to the experiences of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to enable connections with the larger community. Local poets and performers are also invited to get involved. Visit Bedford Creative Arts page on Event Brite to book free tickets and to find out more information.
Online content will also be available to view throughout the week on The Higgins Bedford’s website, including a display objects and artworks from the collections relating to displacement, migration and experiences of being a refugee.
Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “Refugee Week is an important time to celebrate the courage of refugees across the world who have been forced from their homes and countries to escape conflict. The Higgins Bedford and partners have put together an important programme of events that will help us to recognise the struggles refugees are forced to go through.
“For the full list of events and activities, please go to www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/Whats_on/Refugee-Week.aspx”