Scotland’s Refugee Festival 2021: The wonders of Art

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Scotland’s Refugee Festival takes place every year on the lead up to Refugee day on June 20 – this year the events start on the 14th.

People from refugee communities make a huge contribution to life in Scotland – and this is something worth celebrating.

The festival shows off the cultural riches and diversity of Scotland’s communities with food, drink, music, poetry, art, dance, language and ideas that people bring with them when they settle in Scotland.

The festival also creates opportunities for people to meet, sample other cultures and find out what they have in common.

By building bridges across communities, the festival offers a vision of hope, friendship, neighbourliness and solidarity with people seeking refugee protection in Scotland.

The Scottish Refugee Council is responsible for producing and co ordinating these events but there is much more involved in order to pull it all off. Hundreds of people and organisations have come together to make this festival a success; from refugee-led communities and individual artists, to activists, welcome groups and national cultural institutions.

This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the festival will take place over a number of locations, both online and in person.

Art events you don’t want to miss:

Tears of Gold: Stories of Refugee Women Displaced from Home

The University of Glasgow, in partnership with UNESCO RILA, Interfaith Scotland and The Dear Green Bothy, is delighted to host an exhibition of Hannah Rose Thomas’ powerful portraits  of Yezidi, Rohingya and Nigerian survivors of displacement and sexual violence in the University of Glasgow Chapel from 11-17 June.

Drop in to the University of Glasgow Chapel between June 11-17 to view Hannah Rose Thomas’ powerful portraits of Yezidi, Rohingya and Nigerian survivors of displacement and sexual violence. You can also join the artist for the live streamed exhibition opening and closing events.

Black Scots – (

This performance was created in 2020 for The National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘Scenes for Survival’.

‘Black Scots’ is an extract from First Snow/Premiere Neige performed by Thierry Mabonga.

A young man recalls escaping the horrors of civil war in DR Congo as a child to seek asylum in Glasgow. He finds surprising parallels between the barbarity and exploitation at the heart of that conflict and the shocking revelations of murder and profiteering painted away beneath the surface of his new homeland’s history.

Directed by Niloo-Far Khan, with an exclusive intro and conversation with lead artists Thierry Mabonga and Niloo-Far Khan.


The cultural nature of our modern society can only be truly represented and discussed by taking into account ideas around hybridity and displacement.

Migration promotes a critical re-interpretation of our society and encourages discussions around the semantics of representation, belonging, identity, othering, and the concept of home.

In response to such ideas, Distanced Assemblage – a Glasgow-based art collective – has developed this participatory digital installation. The piece features different elements that explore the ongoing concerns of the collective’s socially engaged practice, such as the idea of cultural identity, nationhood, and landlessness.

This is an online exhibition that can be viewed here:


A Thread Is a Journey

Join members of Central and West Integration Network for an outdoor exhibition of fabric and textile designs.

The artworks were created as part of a 10-week creative project in partnership with Glasgow School of Art, which included printing, weaving and embroidery.

Inspired by each others cultures, they have developed their own fabric designs.

CWIN invite you to join them in person at their outdoor exhibition at Garnethill Multicultural Centre to see the final artworks that have been created including a co-designed printed CWIN cloth.

You do not need to register for this event.

This outdoor exhibition is taking place at:

Garnethill Multicultural Centre, 21 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RE

Colouring Outside the Lines

Colouring outside the lines showcases over 70 pieces from the UNESCO RILA Affiliate Artist Network; where they connect global artists who work with and reflect on the role arts and languages play in bringing people together and strengthening social cohesion.

Paintings, photographs, videos, audio, poetry, music and 3D installations can, offer artists’ perspectives on migration, integration and identity in a globalised world and stimulate critical reflection on our understanding of refugee integration.

UNESCO is inviting people to a guided tour of the exhibition with one of the artists: step into their space and imagine what a more hospitable world could look like.

For more information and for help booking your tickets, please contact Lauren Roberts & Bella Hoogeveen at

Body mark making with Iman Tajik and the Gallery of Modern Art 

Join the Gallery of Modern Art, for a printmaking and mark-making workshop led by artist Iman Tajik.

Exploring some simple techniques to make art, you will learn about printmaking and mark-making using unusual materials.

Taking inspiration from famous artist like Yves Klein and David Hammons, Iman will guide you in using parts of the body to make prints, and you’ll have a chance to test this technique during the session.

“Our hands, through the addition of a simple creative writing exercise, will become a way to address humanity, show our connections, and learn about one another.”

Book your FREE tickets at CLICK HERE| Eventbrite

The Refugee festival is an important part of integrating and including everyone in Scotland, to build bridges and widen communities.

Sharing cultures allows us the opportunity to learn and grow from one another, so why not join in by organising an event, spreading the word using #RefugeeFestScot, or donating towards the work of Scottish Refugee Council.

You can view the fantastic festival programme in full here

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