A weekend of celebration: banner drop, 2020. Image courtesy of the Refugee Buddy Project, Hastings, Rother and Wealden

Co-organised by the Refugee Buddy Project: Hastings, Rother and Wealden.

This discussion was about how the culture sector, including artists, museums and galleries, can become meaningful participants in conversations and action around migrant rights.

A series of presentations by cultural workers and activists were followed by time to think collectively about the topics and approaches introduced.

Cultural organiser and instigator Joon Lynn Goh is founding organiser of Migrants in Culture. She highlighted their work and the ‘Culture Sector Recovery for Migrants’ plan, which educates on, and advocates for, a recovery of the UK culture sector shaped by the experiences, needs and leadership of migrants and those most marginalised in the sector.

Artist Ahmet Öğüt  introduced his work, with a focus on The Silent University, an international knowledge exchange platform begun in 2012 that works with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who, although from a professional background, cannot practice due to the limitations of the asylum process. The Silent University has been hosted at museums and galleries worldwide.

Aliya Yule is an Access to Healthcare Organiser at Migrants Organise. She spoke about their Patients Not Passports campaign highlighting health inequality caused by the British government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy. Their June 2020 report highlighted how racially minoritised and migrant communities were often excluded from healthcare during COVID-19, leading to a disproportionate number of deaths.

The event was moderated by Dr Mursheda Chowdhury, Trustee and Chair of the Refugee Buddy Project, Hastings, Rother and Wealden. Dr Choudhury is a Palliative Care Physician and medical educator whose areas of special interest are empathy in practice, medical ethics and conscious/unconscious bias.

The talk was recorded and can be viewed here: