13th June 2023

Refugee Week and Refugee Festival Scotland are almost here! And I’m sure you’re excited as we are!
Refugee Week takes place  from the 19th – 25th June with the theme of COMPASSION and for those of you in Scotland  Refugee Festival Scotland starts a bit  earlier on the 16th – 25th June with the theme of HOPE

The STAR team will be celebrating Refugee Week by traveling around the UK and speaking at a wide range of university events including at the University of Winchester, Birkbeck University, Royal Holloway, University of Edinburgh and University of East London. STAR groups will also get getting involved in their towns and cities. 

We want to invite you to celebrate hope and compassion with us this June, keep reading to find out how you can get involved.

Simple Acts

Simple Acts are everyday actions we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections in our communities. Here are just a few of the simple acts that STAR National will be getting involved with this year.

1. Walk Together

The idea is simple- get a group together and go on a walk together. 

Wherever you walk and whoever you walk with, you’ll be joining people up and down the country, coming together to create new connections and reflect on the journeys that refugees face. You can walk together whenever you wish – but we are particularly encouraging people to do their walks during the Great Get Together weekend, (23rd- 25th June).

You can register your walk with The Great Get Together and use this year’s tool kit

2. Use your Platform 

As a STAR group you have a brilliant platform and a vast network of students. Use Your Platform for Refugee Week to show solidarity and compassion and help shift the narrative around migration and displacement. Here’s some suggestions for how you can use your platform for Refugee Week.

3. Watch a film

Is there anything in the world more powerful than a story? Films can be powerful storytelling mediums to take us on journeys without us ever having to leave our seats.

At STAR we chose to watch the brilliant MATAR as one of our own simple acts. Directed by Bafta-winning director, Hassan Akkad, MATAR is a powerful and poignant story of resilience and perseverance following the story of an asylum seeker in England. It is based on the lived experience of co-writer Ayman Alhussein.

See our film night guide for tips and ideas on how to run a successful film night. If you want any help with this feel free to get in touch by emailing lois@star-network.org.uk 

If you’ve already seen MATAR, Refugee Week team have compiled a list of other wonderful films and TV shows which help us better understand migration, displacement and help us grow our compassion.

Wherever you are this summer there is a huge variety of events for you to get involved with. You can see the full line up for Refugee Week here, and the full line up for Refugee Festival Scotland here, but we want to share with you some of STARs top picks for this June:

  1. Visit the Southbank Centre in London any day during Refugee Week and find a range of free and exciting activities. See full programme here.
  1. Join Edinburgh to celebrate the wonderful cultures and positive contribution of migrant communities at the Festival of Migration 2023.
  1. Bristol Refugee Festival will host their annual Celebrating Sanctuary event – a free festival of music, performance art and more! 
  1. If you’re in Manchester head to You Can See Me But I Don’t Exist a photography and creative writing exhibition by people seeking refuge living in Birmingham, London, and Manchester.
  1. Tune in online for an evening of poetry and open mic  Twaano: from Zambia to Scotland by refugee writers and performers 
  1. See STAR’s chief executive Emily speak on the panel at Compassion to Action: Sanctuary Seekers in Higher Education,  Birkbeck STAR’s event in collaboration with VOICES network! More details to be released soon. 

7. Join the Afghanistan and Central Asian associate for a combined arts festival over the weekend of 24th – 25th June. The 24th will be a celebration of Afghan culture and the 25th a celebration of Ukrainian culture!

Use social media and involved with Refugee Week’s 2023 Thunderclap

We want to celebrate the STAR network’s actions for refugee week and participation in the simple acts. Send us your wonderful work – big or small –  and be sure to take lots of pictures and tag us so we can highlight your achievements and showcase the collaborative impact of STAR! 

This year Refugee are asking the public to mark the beginning of Refugee Week by taking part in a *social media thunderclap* moment. 

On Monday 19th June at midday (UK time) Refugee Week will encourage everyone to put their compassion into action and stand with refugees around the world. There’s never been a more important time to stand in solidarity with people who seek sanctuary.

Here are three simple steps to take part in the thunderclap moment:

Step 1: Add the orange heart emoji to your social media handle and bios 
Step 2: Share the compassion heart  by Murugiah
Step 3: Share this message “I’m putting my #CompassionIntoAction this #RefugeeWeek by ___” and fill in the blank.

See the full invitation with instructions and inspiration here

Please share this with friends, neighbours, businesses, partners, organisations and more so we can spread the ripples of compassion far and wide. Together!

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