Seminars with the Sanctuary Working Group for Refugee Week

The Sanctuary Working Group at The Open University, in partnership with Covid Chronicles from the Margins, are delighted to announce three very exciting seminars that will be taking place during Refugee Week 2022. We invite all staff, students, internal and external guests to come and join, at a time where we celebrate the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary!

Refugee WeekSanctuary Working Group

All tickets are now available on Eventbrite

No Friends but the Mountains   
Tuesday 21 June 12:30 - 1:30pm  

To kick off Refugee Week, we will first be facilitating a showing of this wonderful short film, composed of Kurdish voices and Welsh animation, made in Swansea in 2021-22 by Shahsavar, Lucy and Tom. The film was made with support from the Arts Council of Wales, and in collaboration with the Open University's Covid Chronicles from the Margins project. It grew out of our multilingual children's stories and animations, which you can view on the Hafan Books website.  

Shahsavar Rahmani is a professional interpreter in Swansea, originally from Kurdish Iran. Shahsavar interviewed dozens of refugees from Kurdish Iran and neighbouring countries for the Covid Chronicles project. He narrates the film, which presents five interviewees and their stories of persecution, flight, resistance, and hope. Interviews are in Kurdish (Sorani), with English subtitles. Poems by Sherko Bekas and sayings in Farsi and Kurdish frame the film.  

Lucy Donald is a professional artist in Burry Port, South Wales. She created striking images and stop-motion animations inspired by interviewees: the title proverb, Ebrahim's idea that a refugee is like a transplanted tree, the traumatic channel crossings. The images accompany the stories, rather than illustrating them, adding emotive layers.  
Tom Cheesman is a retired academic, trustee with Swansea Asylum Seekers Support, editor of Hafan Books. He secured a small grant for this project from Arts Council of Wales, worked closely with Shah on subtitling and audio editing, and used Audacity and Movavi to assemble the film.  

Identity Over Time  
Wednesday 22 June 12:30 - 1:30pm 

The second session will present a digital photographic exhibition of works by amateur and professional Swansea photographers. It will explore how, through a series of photography workshops organised by the Open University’s Covid Chronicles from the Margins project and the Iberian Latin American Association during the pandemic, Spanish speakers from Swansea came together to explore their pasts, presents and hopes for the future in visual genres. The group of photographers consisted of exiles from Chile in the 1970s through to today’s refugees from Venezuela and El Salvador in collaboration with Spanish speaking Swansea locals.  
The workshops were led by the renowned photographer Humberto Gatica Leyton, Andrea Ibarra Abreu, a visual artist and undergraduate at Trinity St David University, Charly Ibarra Abreu, a digital artist and media studies student at Swansea University and Carlos Ibarra Rivadeneira, educationalist and refugee support worker. They will lead the session alongside Patricia Jones who leads the ILLA.  

Blood and Gold - A Journey   
Thursday 23 June 12:30 - 1:30pm 

In her award-winning show Blood and Gold, which had its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, Mara Menzies explores migration journeys, weaving tragedy, loss, and trauma in a rich tapestry which tells the story of colonialism, migration, and oppression but also of humanity, love, and healing.   

Mara Menzies is an award-winning performance storyteller whose dynamic, colourful style brings this ancient art form to life, drawing on her rich, dual Kenyan / Scottish cultural heritage, to create worlds that explore contemporary issues though legend, myth, and fantasy. She has been invited to share stories in 27 countries with her latest production, ‘Blood and Gold’ exploring the legacy of colonialism and slavery through myth, legend, and fantasy. It premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 as part of the Made in Scotland showcase and was nominated for the CATS award 2020 and was one of 5 shows nominated for the Filipa Braganca award for best emerging solo female performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019, receiving rave reviews from top theatre critics. 

All tickets are now available on Eventbrite.