On the final day of its 2018 walk, the Refugee Tales project, which walks in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers and detainees, will pause at the gallery to recite articles from The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, marking its 70th anniversary.
This special happening coincides with Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s presentation in The London Open 2018 exhibition of Civil Rites (2018). The film takes Martin Luther King’s honorary doctorate acceptance speech at the University of Newcastle in 1967 as the point of departure for a timely meditation on contemporary social justice movements.
Continuing its call for an end to indefinite detention, Refugee Tales 2018 runs from 7-11 July: www.refugeetales.org
Refugee Tales is an outreach project of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group inspired by the experiences of men held in immigration detention at Gatwick and the work of the Group in 20 years of visiting.
In June 2015 and in July 2016 and 2017 the Refugee Tales project walked in solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigration Detainees. As the project walked it reclaimed the landscape of South East England for the language of welcome, and everywhere it stopped it was met with hospitality and enthusiasm. Working directly in collaboration with those who had experienced the UK asylum system, and taking Chaucer’s great poem of journeying as a model, established writers told a series of tales en route. Through that sharing of other people’s tales the project gathered and communicated experiences of migration, seeking to show, in particular, what indefinite detention means.
In July 2017, Refugee Tales walked from Runnymede to Westminster stopping at Walton, Kingston, Brentford and Hammersmith, still calling for the practice of indefinite immigration detention to end. At every stop of the way leading writers helped tell the tales of asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, as well as the stories of those who work with them. As the project walks it creates a space in which the language of welcome is the prevailing discourse, a political carnival in which the act of listening is a common resource.
Since Refugee Tales walked first time the debate around human movement has fluctuated dramatically, as pressure for a change of policy on indefinite detention has continued to build. It is a cruel and debilitating practice that continues to do untold damage to tens of thousands of lives.