On Wednesday 22nd June 2011 – Bristol held an event to celebrate its new status as a City of Sanctuary, signifying it as a place which welcomes Refugees and Asylum Seekers, offers them a place of safety and values their contribution. It was a fantastic day celebrating a multicultural Bristol, and consisted of a civic launch at Bristol City Council Hall and a promenade performance at the Bristol Cathedral.

This event marks the beginning of the next phase of Bristol as a City of Sanctuary; it was a Call to Action, aiming to raise awareness and provoke actions from citizens of Bristol that make explicit the support – both emotional and practical – that we offer as a city.

This film is of the official launch of Bristol as a City of Sanctuary on the 22nd of June 2011. For a longer, 24 minute version, please contact us at [email protected] and we will send it to you.

Bristol City of Sanctuary launch by COSBRI

Amongst a rich Refugee Week programme, using themes of ‘welcome’, ‘contribution’ and ‘sanctuary’, this colourful, thought provoking, celebratory arts event brought together performers, musicians, artists, refugees, asylum seekers, individuals, indigenous people, residents and workers from Bristol.

Speakers were:

  • The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor, Geoff Gollop
  • Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County and City of Bristol, Mary Prior
  • Tiffy Allen, National Coordinator, City of Sanctuary
  • Khethiwe, Zimbabwean Sanctuary Seeker, member of Bristol Refugee Rights
  • The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, MA, The Dean, Bristol Cathedral
  • Nigel Costley, TUC South West Regional Secretary
  • Barbara Janke, Leader of the Council
  • Marvin Rees, Master of Ceremony

There were many symbolic moments to the day. The tea and cake in the Council House symbolised a traditional English welcome. Umbrellas used in the dance and procession across College Green denoted shelter. The procession itself is a physical and symbolic journey. The Dome of Everybody represented Bristol and safety, and it also demonstrates how small actions can produce big results. Bristol Cathedral itself represents sanctuary. The diversity of the Faith Statements underline the universal and non-denominational nature of this event. The performances in the Cathedral combine entertainment and reflection – embodying the paradoxical emotions of sorrow and joy, of fleeing your homeland and of finding a sanctuary far from that home. The Song of Sanctuary expresses the universality of the experience of persecution by combining elements from the Qur’an, the Bible and an African song. And the Cathedral bells were half-muffled to signify both celebration and reflection.

With the help of EcoMedia, the day was streamed live over the internet and a record of this can still be found here.

We’d like to thank all of those who helped make the day happen. Click here for a full list of contributors (over 170 of them!).

There were many symbolic moments to the day. The tea and cake in the Council House symbolised a traditional English welcome. Umbrellas used in the dance and procession across College Green denoted shelter. The procession itself is a physical and symbolic journey. The Dome of Everybody represented Bristol and safety, and it also demonstrates how small actions can produce big results. Bristol Cathedral itself represents sanctuary. The diversity of the Faith Statements underline the universal and non-denominational nature of this event. The performances in the Cathedral combine entertainment and reflection – embodying the paradoxical emotions of sorrow and joy, of fleeing your homeland and of finding a sanctuary far from that home. The Song of Sanctuary expresses the universality of the experience of persecution by combining elements from the Qur’an, the Bible and an African song. And the Cathedral bells were half-muffled to signify both celebration and reflection.

We’d like to thank everybody who helped make the day happen, so you’ll find all those involved (over 170 of them!) in making the day as spectacular as it turned out to be below…

Performers:

  • Dr Allofus – acted by Alan Coveney (http://www.uk.castingcallpro.com/view.php?uid=132293)
  • Chai for two (David Mowat, Knud Stüwe)
  • Bristol Refugee Rights Band
  • Ursula Monn – playing the HANG
  • Henry Shaftoe
  • Songo African Drumming and Dancers – www.songo.org.uk
  • The Dhol Project
  • Cecilia Ndhlovu & her gumboot dancers
  • Anthar Kantara – Tabla – www.myspace.com/khantara
  • Jon Sterckx – Tabla – www.jonsterckx.co.uk
  • Nathan Cole – Gong
  • Alphonse Daudet Touna – Helele
  • Knud Stüwe & Rosemary Cuthbert– Apron Song – www.roscuthbert.co.uk
  • Batch Gueye & drummers – www.batchgueye.co.uk
  • Boy Choristers of Bristol Cathedral – Deep Peace of the running wave by John Rutter
  • Tashi Dhondup – Tibetan singer
  • Richard Barnard – Composer of Song of Sanctuary, composed especially for the launch.
  • Laurie Stewart – Sing Up
  • Ashley Down Primary School
  • Adult Choristers
  • Bristol Cathedral Bellringers
  • African Sambasistas

Speakers:

  • The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor, Geoff Gollop
  • Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County and City of Bristol, Mary Prior
  • Tiffy Allen, National Coordinator, City of Sanctuary, Sheffield
  • Khethiwe, Zimbabwean Sanctuary Seeker, member of Bristol Refugee Rights
  • The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, MA, The Dean, Bristol Cathedral
  • Nigel Costley, TUC South West Regional Secretary
  • Barbara Janke, Leader of the Council
  • Marvin Rees, Master of Ceremony

Faith statement readers:

Know that this place is sanctuary for all nations (Dean David Hoyle)
For the Baha’i – With our thoughts we welcome you (volunteer)
I am Muslim – If you are hungry, we will give you food (Latif Ismail)
I am Jewish – With our words, we welcome you – Valerie (Russell Emmott)
I am Buddhist – If you are thirsty we will give you drink (Li Yan Tay)
I am Christian – With our hearts, we welcome you (Pastor Osien Sibanda)
I am Sikh – If you are a stranger, we will invite you in (Gurdial Singh)
I am Hindu – We offer Welcome, Peace and Blessings to you (Sharda Panchal)
I am of no faith – We celebrate you (June Burrough)

Mandala:

Hon. Jamyang Gyatso (Supported by Yonten Ngama)

He was born in Tibet and was a monk at Gommang Monastery in Amdo, Eastern Tibet. Now a teacher in Gommang Monastery in S. India, he will be making the Kalachakra or Peace Mandala. (Mandala is a sanskrit word , the Tibetan name is Cheunkor ). A Mandala is a representation or map of the Buddhist Cosmos.

For the maker it is a meditative visualisation practice used as an aid to quieting the mind and ultimately attaining enlightenment. The Kalachakra or Peace Mandala symbolises Universal Compassion and is believed to be healing to all sentient beings.

Plaque:

Tashi Dhondup from Tibet

Crew:

  • Artistic Director – Liz Mitchell (www.movementor.co.uk)
  • Stage Manager – Kate Hartoch
  • Amarintha Pike, James Dalby, Luke Peck, Rachel Haggie & Ruth Burger

Volunteers:

Jon Mitchell, Cassandre Butcher, Sandra Yeonhee Lee, Amy Palm, Maria Kennedy, Andrew Denner, Madhu Anhes, Rachel Haggie, Curtley, Tim Carter, Neil Pirie, Adam Cutler & Lynn Hunt

The Pierian Team who supported the launch of City of Sanctuary; Adrian Baxter; Andy Waitt; Ann Musty; Caroline Gill; Ghazaleh Emami; Jane Hartoch; Joe Hoare; June Burrough; Nick Thomas; Tracey Dixon.

Photography and Film:

Chief of photography – Simon Howlett; The Engine Room; Mark Simmons Monica Connell; Liz Crew &
Tim Denning of ExtraVerte Adam Laity; David Martyn.

“EcoMedia Collective”:www.ecomedia-uk.com: Kyle Hannan, Sam Downie

City of Sanctuary Steering Committee:

  • June Burrough – Chair
  • Forward Maisokwadzo – Development Worker
  • Caroline Beatty – Bristol Refugee Rights
  • Father Richard McKay – Priert in charge, St Nicholas of Tolentino
  • Canon Tim Higgins – City Canon Bristol Cathedral
  • Elinor Harris – Regional Director of Refugee Action
  • Adam Cutler – Bristol City Council Community Engagement
  • Dr Christien van den Anker – Migrant Rights Centre and UWE
  • Valerie Russell Emmott – Equalities South West
  • Alistair Beattie – Bristol Mulit-Faith Forum
  • Christopher Orlick – Trustee, Bristol Refugee Rights
  • Rob Porteous – Trustee, Bristol Refugee Rights

City of Sanctuary Team:

  • Forward Maisokwadzo – Development Worker
  • Hanna Saastamoinen – Volunteer
  • Abduhakim Mohammed – Volunteer
  • Sandra Yeonhee Lee – Volunteer
  • Andy Waitt – Volunteer
  • Refugee Action – for kindly offering us Sanctuary in their office space

Song of Sanctuary:

Funga Alafia Ashay Ashay (*)
To neighbours who are near,
to neighbours who are strangers,
the companion by your side,
the wayfarer you meet. (+)
You were hungry and I gave you food.
You were thirsty and I gave you drink.
You were a stranger, I invited you in. (#)
Funga Alafia Ashay Ashay
With our thoughts, we welcome you.
With our words, we welcome you.
With our hearts, we welcome you.
See, we have nothing up our sleeves! (*)

Notes:

Song of Sanctuary was specially composed for the Launch of Bristol City of Sanctuary on Wednesday June 22nd 2011
Funga Alafia Ashay Ashay * translates as: “Welcome, Peace and Blessings to you.”
Texts adapted from:
+ Qur’an (4:36), # Bible (Matthew 25), *Traditional West African song

The Embroidered Apron by Rosemary Cuthbert written over Knud Stuwe’s moods:

When I was a child———-
Stories would unfold———-
Idle time turned to gold, as my
Mother told me her deep, mysterious fairytales
My small face was pressed close———-
To her hand stitched apron———-
Embroidery and stories wove their spell
Such a lovely spell
As I listened to her, she would tell me
Magic tales———-

Happiness and unhapiness follow after one another,
Even as we smile at one another
Tragedy will lurk in some nearby place,
Waiting to sever a relationship or kill a joy.
Father left – he saw a darkness coming –
Fled across the sea to look for America, and to be safe there,
Leaving our poor Mother alone – with her two small children
In a country ripped apart, torn to shreds,
By religious hatred, greed for land, and for power.
Quickly we bundled up a few belongings and left home,
Joined the lines of refugees and fled without shelter or water,
In the dark behind us burned the fires of rape and slaughter
And nothing left for mother
But to die on stony ground on a freezing night under hostile stars
From starvation-and heartbreak- there———-

Now when I reflect———-
Stories still unfold———-
All my life turns to gold
I remember her, and her deep, mysterious fairytales
Her stories, and the stitching———-
On her apron, keep———-
Unravelling their pictures, weaving spells
In my memory, as I paint them for her
She will tell me-
Magic tales———-

SAFETY by Bristol Refugee Rights

S is for seeking security
Hoping to live life peacefully
Support when we’re far from our family
Sanctuary from what we had to flee

A is for asylum application
Living under the threat of detention
A struggle to get accommodation
Anxious to forget our stressful situation

F is for finding friendly faces,
Sharing food from far off places
Friends, please tell Bristol of our fears
Thoughts of deportation, bring us to tears

E is for English, ESOL, Education
Communication, gives us liberation.
Understanding from the population
Help us beat discrimination

T is for teaching, tolerance and talking
Sharing our knowledge and helping
Together we wrote this poem, side by side
Together us and you, we can bridge the divide

Y is for Yes,
Yes you can work, Yes you can stay,
Yes you are welcome in this City of Sanctuary
We’ve a long way to go but the foundation is laid

This poem was written collectively by members of Bristol Refugee Rights for the launch of Bristol as a City of Sanctuary 22ndJune 2011

Venues:

We’d like to thank Bristol City Council and Bristol Cathedral for hosting the event and for the wonderful support of their teams on the day.

And finally we’d like to thank our partners and funders on this project, without whom the day would never have happened:

The Arts Council England; Quartet Community Foundation; Bristol City Council;
Bristol Legacy Commission; Rolls-Royce; Faiths In Action; City of Sanctuary; Refugee Week; TUC; The Pierian Centre; Refugee Action; Movementor; Bristol Multi Faith Forum; Bristol Refugee Rights; Migrant Rights Centre Bristol; Bristol Cathedral; St Nicholas of Tolentino.

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