Bluecoat Event: Hostile Environment – Maya Goodfellow in conversation

“The UK government proudly calls the aim of its immigration policy to be the creation of a “hostile environment, ” while refugees drown in the Mediterranean and Britain votes to leave the EU against claims that “swarms” of migrants are entering Britain. Meanwhile, study after study confirms that immigration is not damaging the UK’s economy, nor putting a strain on public services, but immigration is blamed for all of Britain’s ills. Yet concerns about immigration are deemed “legitimate” across the political spectrum, with few exceptions. How did we get here?

Through interviews with leading policy-makers, asylum seekers, and immigration lawyers, Maya Goodfellow illuminates the dark underbelly of contemporary immigration policies. A nuanced analysis of the UK’s immigration policy from the 1960s onwards, Hostile Environment links immigration policy and the rhetoric of both Labour and Tory governments to the UK’s colonial past and its imperialist present. Goodfellow shows that distinct forms of racism and dehumanisation directly resulted from immigration policy, and reminds us of the human cost of concessions to anti-immigration politics.”

To book and for more information see: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/events/view/events/4035

For more information from the publisher (Verso) see:

https://www.versobooks.com/books/3064-hostile-environment

WoWFest19 Bluecoat, Liverpool

Two storytelling events are taking place on Thursday, 23rd May at the Bluecoat as part of WoWFest, the Liverpool Literature festival.

I want you to know: A Writing Workshop for Refugees and People from Refugee Families

This is a writing workshop for refugees to tell their stories. Many times, refugees are asked to talk about why they became refugees. We’ll be focusing on stories that you want to tell, whatever those stories might be. The workshop is open to refugees at all levels of writing experience.  It is part of Barbed Wire Fever, a creative exploration of what it means to be a refugee (funded by Arts Council England). www.barbedwirefever.com

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Reflecting realities, preparing new professionals

Karen Morris sharing her collection of refugee-themed picturebooks at the AfR conference, 2017

Karen Morris writes

In schools and other settings, our graduates play a significant role in the lives of pupils and encounter personal, ethical and moral dilemmas which are often unconnected with the taught curriculum. They need to be able to draw on a teaching philosophy that is distinctive and personally informed but reflects ethical values and principles. Such a philosophy needs to be responsive to the demands of a changing world where social, political, economic and environmental issues have a significant impact on the lives of children and young people. As a primary English tutor this is a key part of my role in preparing future professionals. Continue reading

Women’s Day 2019: Debate, educate and dance

Women refugees can be especially vulnerable. Marking Women’s Day, fundraising, education and dance events are taking place to support work for displaced women. 

Today, UN High Commission for Refugees are fundraising to support more projects like the ‘Women’s Committee of the Future’. Based in Turkey, where over 3 million Syrian refugees were living in 2016, the Urban Refugee Women’s Network, with UNHCR support, developed a support group for women coming together over tea. Continue reading

Migration Working Group North-West

Action for Refugees supports the Migration Working Group North-West, led by Edge Hill academic Dr Zana Vathi. Members of AfR are affiliated to this new group, which brings together academics and activists across the region working in, or researching migration in the North-West. Affiliated members beyond Edge Hill include arts, health and housing organisations based in the region.

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Where it all Began – A Stand and Be Counted Production

Imagine if everyone was ordered to return to their place of birth.

The UK’s first Theatre Company of Sanctuary, Stand and Be Counted present a wild and vivid vision of the future, combining storytelling, movement and live music.

Coming to Liverpool at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool 9th October.

Tickets £10.50 (£8.50 concessions)
Click here for a trailer and further details

Syrian Mothers’ Day Event in Liverpool 25 March 2018

Written by Mayya Al Safadi Diab.

With the help of Refugee Action, an event was organised by members of the Syrian refugee community for Syrian ladies and children in Liverpool on the 25th of March 2018. Thanks to the active ladies and in co-ordination with Refugee Action, the event was a great success, it involved traditional Syrian food that was cooked by the participant ladies themselves.

It was so lovely to see the pride each lady has represented her dish with, as in Syrian culture expressing love and dedication get represented by the Syrian food that takes a long time to be made most of the times.
Some ladies shared with hand made products and presented one of their creations to the winner of one of the competitions, which was great joy to the ladies, there were some games and presents as well to give to the winners with one of the Syrian ladies doing Henna for the young children and the women which was received with great joy.
Everything was free as thanks to refugee action support the hire of the hall was covered by them which made it more enjoyable to all ladies.
Some ladies travelled from Huyton to attend the event and they felt that it made them feel much better as lots of them were worried about families and relatives in Syria but being surrounded by their friends made the nostalgia a bit easier to manage. The kids were running and laughing, as the language barrier still a big part of these womens lives it made them relax and enjoy the event by being able to express themselves in their mother tongue with people around them. The event was a success by all measures.

Demonstration in support of Eastern Ghouta Liverpool city centre, Sunday 25 February 2018

The Syrian community in Liverpool organised, at very short notice, a moving demonstration in support of their compatriots and, in some cases, former neighbours caught up in the siege of Eastern Ghouta. This was in response to the escalation of the attacks by Syrian government forces and Russian warplanes on Sunday 19 February. Hundreds of people including women and children were killed in the space of a few days.

I spoke to people at the gathering who were waiting for news of loved-ones and others who had already been told the worst about family and friends. The dignity of all present was very striking. It was also interesting to note that there was no collection of money at the event. The main aims were to raise awareness of the situation and seek support for the victims.

The day before the demonstration, the UN passed a resolution (with the support of Russia) for a 30 day ceasefire. However, on the day of the demonstration government forces were still attacking Eastern Ghouta. The situation remains desperate with an estimated 1,500 people killed since February. It is estimated that the conflict in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced more than 11 million others. A very small but important number of these are now settled in our region.

Mike Stoddart

If you are interested in supporting the refugees based in our area, please see our volunteering page for more information.