Refugee Festival Scotland is back and everyone is invited! Join us this June for an exciting line-up of events sharing the stories of people and communities who have settled in Scotland.

In a year that’s seen millions of people around the world forced from their homes by conflict and persecution, we aim to bring people from different backgrounds together to celebrate the many ways refugees contribute to life in Scotland.

What’s your story?

The theme of this year’s festival is storytelling in all its forms – from music, dance, theatre and film to visual art, cookery and conversation. More than 100 events will take place in venues across Scotland from 17-26 June. The diverse programme includes contributions from artists and performers who came to Scotland seeking refugee protection and the communities that have welcomed them. Whatever the weather, you can expect a warm welcome and a packed programme of events showcasing refugee arts and culture.

Take a look at this year’s festival programme

Our Chief Executive, Sabir Zazai said: “Refugee Festival Scotland is an opportunity to celebrate the positive difference that refugees make to our communities and the warm welcome that Scotland has always offered to people seeking sanctuary. Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to celebrate diversity and share the stories of people who have made Scotland their home.

“This has been a year of terrible stories. War in Ukraine, unrest in Afghanistan, families stranded and separated by bureaucracy, Rwandan detention centres and people left with no option but to risk their lives on dangerous journeys in a desperate bid to reach a place of safety. But there are other, happier stories, and these are the ones that Refugee Festival Scotland aims to tell. Stories of friendship, resilience, hope and new beginnings. So please join us for this exciting programme of events, make new friends, have fun, and show the world that Scotland welcomes refugees.”

Amazing artwork

The posters for this year’s festival were designed by The Museum of Things, a group of artists from refugee backgrounds. The collective, run by Maryhill Integration Network, is made up of 25 artists from 12 nationalities. Some trained as architects, designers, animators, photographers and tattoo artists in their home countries. Others only picked up a paintbrush for the very first time this year.

Roya, who is originally from Iran, is one of the artists that worked on the posters. She told us: “Before I joined The Museum of Things, I felt so lonely but now I feel like I’m part of something. I’m so happy that I’ve found so many great friends. Working with people from different backgrounds has really inspired me and given me confidence that I didn’t have before.

“We are such a diverse group, all coming from different countries and cultures. When you are a refugee, it’s like you have lost your identity. By doing something collectively and making art together that will be shared with other people in Scotland, it’s given us back our sense of identity. I feel like we have found ourselves.”

A packed programme of exciting events

Refugee Festival Scotland has something for everyone, from history trails and nature walks to cookery demonstrations, art exhibitions, football tournaments and family-friendly picnics. The line-up brings people from different backgrounds and cultures together to meet, mix and get to know each other better.

The festival celebrates the many ways refugees contribute to Scotland’s cultural life by showcasing the food and drink, music and dance, language and art that people bring with them when they settle in Scotland.

Check out this year’s line up

Photo shows Museum of Things artists Yamam and Kidisti with one of the posters they designed. Credit Paul Chappells

Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb