Refugees and asylum seekers are all too often seen through the narrow prism of their experiences of displacement, but this is only one part of the picture. Refugee artists and their community partners challenge those limits daily through storytelling, creative space-making, and organising. In the two podcasts in today’s episode of Refugee Realities, Natasha Menon, Sarah Doyel, and Maria Harb invite their guests to discuss the role of the arts and culture in refugee advocacy work.
Refugee Week as a movement, not a moment
Hosts: Natasha Menon and Sarah Doyel, MSc students in Migration and Public Policy, LSE
Usman Khalid and Emily Churchill-Zaraa discuss why storytelling matters, how Refugee Week is a movement rather than a moment, and the ways in which we can all act in solidarity with refugees daily.
Emily Churchill-Zaraa is the Coordinator of Refugee Week, an arts and cultural festival celebrating the contributions of refugees. This year the festival is being held from 14 to 20 June. Refugee Week UK is a partnership project coordinated by Counterpoints Arts, which is a charity that supports and promotes the arts by and about refugees and migrants.
Usman Khalid is the founder and director of HAVEN Coffee. Founded in February 2019, HAVEN Coffee is a social enterprise serving ethically sourced, fair-trade, organic cups of specialty coffee with a social mission of breaking the false narratives about refugees in society.
Listen to the podcast.
Acting with a social purpose
Host: Maria Harb, MSc student, International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, LSE
In this podcast, we meet two inspirational women – Victoria Lupton and Fida Alwaer. Victoria has been living in Lebanon for the past 10 years and is the co-founder of Seenaryo, a leading specialist in theatre and play-based learning with marginalised communities in Lebanon and Jordan, in particular refugee communities. Victoria talks us through how Seenaryo came to be and how the organisation continues to navigate the different crises in the country. She also explores the issue of NGOs focusing solely on the refugee population and how it can risk intensifying tensions between host and refugee communities.
Fida was forcibly displaced from her home country Syria and arrived in Lebanon in 2012. In 2017, she began as a participant in a Seenaryo youth theatre project and has since worked as a facilitator on many different Seenaryo projects after undergoing Seenaryo’s theatre leadership training. Fida talks to us about how her involvement in Seenaryo’s theatre projects allowed her to learn about the stories of other asylum seekers in Lebanon and to share her own story. She also tells us about how through the different theatre projects, her voice was amplified, and she could openly express her experiences with different issues including single motherhood.
Listen to the podcast.
This post is opinion-based and does not reflect the views of the London School of Economics and Political Science or any of its constituent departments and divisions.