Through great art, Libraries of Sanctuary raised awareness of what it means to be a sanctuary seeker with staff, volunteers, and library users and helped libraries to welcome, celebrate, and include refugees and asylum seekers.
We took the project to both central and local libraries in Bolton, Oldham and Manchester.
Here are just some of the project’s highlights:
We took live music – didn’t we all miss live music during lockdown? – to library audiences with a beautiful contemplative gig with Seyed Ali Jaberi and the Hamdel Ensemble at Manchester Central Library.
It was one of the first live music events in Manchester.
Audiences loved it.
Meanwhile, at Bolton Central Library, visitors enjoyed lively Congolese beats from the band Britannia Rumba.
“We loved the dancing and the beats. We are usually bored at home, but the music really cheered us up! When are they coming again?”
Family audiences didn’t miss out with family-friendly workshops in Northmoor, Chadderton (Oldham), on Bolton High Street, and Beswick, Wythenshawe, and Longsight (Manchester).
Children and adults enjoyed Persian percussion with Arian Sadr, African and Caribbean dance with Imani Jendai, African drumming with Serge Tebu, singing with Emmanuela Yogolelo, doll-making with Gloria Saya, protest art with Mei Yuk Wong, Bangladeshi storytelling with Apu Chowdhury, Ethiopian dance and circus skills with Masresha Wondmu, and eco-art and poetry with Rabia Begum.
“I enjoyed watching my children have so much fun. It was a real feel-good event. Thank you!”
We’re delighted that, despite the difficulties of lockdown and the inevitable need to find (many!) new ways of working, the project reached nearly 600 people including lots of families and employed 27 artists from refugee heritage or ethnically diverse backgrounds – Ethiopian, Chinese, Cameroonian, Congolese, Iranian, Kurdish, Roma, Egyptian and Senegalese.
“The atmosphere of the event has been amazing, and it has been wonderful to be a part of it!”