A major art exhibition, previously on display in the Houses of Parliament, is to have its first showing outside London in the New Room in Broadmead for three weeks from 19 June to 9 July.
The exhibition entitled ‘I Am A Refugee’ has been developed by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and design agency Coley Porter Bell and celebrates the contributions of refugees past and present to life in the UK.
It opens on 19 June to coincide with the start of Refugee Week 2017. Three giant screens will tell the stories and celebrate the achievements of people who have entered the UK as refugees, including such well-known names as singers Rita Ora and Freddie Mercury, writer Judith Kerr, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, computer pioneer Dame Stephanie Shirley and 51 other famous and not-so-famous individuals.
The exhibition illustrates how refugees who have made the UK their home have made significant contributions to the arts, science, sports, commerce, industry and social care, as well as the communities they live in, and that each has a unique story to tell.
Sarah Marcus, communications director for JCWI, said: “The ongoing global refugee crisis means that now, more than ever, it is worth us all reflecting on how men, women and children who have sought safety in the UK have shaped our society, culture and history.
“This exhibition demonstrates how when refugees are welcomed they are able to thrive and contribute, and it’s great that the people of Bristol will have easy access to it in the centre of their city during this year’s Refugee Week.”
Louise Wratten, Community engagement officer for the New Room, said: “This time last year ‘I Am A ‘Refugee’ was being exhibited by St Paul’s Cathedral, so we’re very honoured that the New Room has been selected to display it for Refugee Week 2017.
“The impetus for this fascinating project is very much in keeping with John Wesley’s message about social justice, and it is a highly appropriate first display for our newly refurbished exhibition space.”
The exhibition space is part of an 18-month multi-million pound project, partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which has just been completed in the New Room – also known as John Wesley’s Chapel – as part of The Horse Fair Project.
It is part of a brand new visitor centre which also features a new café, gift shop and revamped themed heritage museum. ‘I Am A Refugee’ is a free exhibition and will be open continuously from 10.30am to 4pm on Monday- Saturday and 1pm-4pm on Sundays from 19 June to 9 July.
Refugee Week, which has been running since 1998, takes place annually in the week closest to World Refugee Day, 20 June, and celebrates the contribution of refugees in the UK as well as promoting understanding of why people seek sanctuary. The theme for 2017 is ‘Our Shared Future.’
For more information on the Bristol Refugee Festival see www.bristolrefugeefestival.org , on the JCWI see www.jcwi.org.uk , the ‘I Am A Refugee’ exhibition seewww.iamarefugee.net and the New Room see www.newroombristol.org.uk .