Refugee Week: live in your home

Monday, June 15, 2020 - 18:19

The last three months have seen most of us spend more time than ever in our homes. And during lockdown many of you will no doubt have reflected on just how lucky we are to have a place to call home at this time. And nothing puts that more starkly into focus than Refugee Week.

There are more than 25 million refugees in the world, with a further 3.5 million people globally currently seeking asylum. But whilst the numbers are staggering, it’s important to remember the people behind them; the individuals. Refugee Week, is the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and promoting and understanding why people seek sanctuary.

The festival is the brainchild of Counterpoints Arts, and over the years we have worked with them often to stage events here at the Southbank Centre. But just because our doors are closed doesn’t mean that this year is without events. Instead, Refugee Week has moved online, and here are some stand out events you can support, by joining from your own home.

An evening with musician Marouf Majidi

Thursday 18 June

Spend an evening in the company of the brilliant Persian classical musician and composer Marouf Majidi. The accomplished Kurdish Tanbur, Persian Tar and guitar player will tell the journey of his own migration to Europe through song and conversation with Josephine Burton.

This special concert is hosted by the charity, Home, which raises much needed funds to support refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. They do so through gigs like this, which give audiences the chance to encounter exceptional musicians and their stories, in the intimacy of a home environment. Or in this case, your own home.

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Live artist music videos: Nyaruach and MC Tardast

Thursday 18 June

Hear from these two remarkable musicians in exclusive video interviews and performances put together by our friends Counterpoints Arts. First up is South Sudanese singer Nyaruach, sister of hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal, who will join her for a special conversation and performance of their music. Nyaruach is currently seeking asylum in the UK. 

She is followed by the Iranian grime MC Tardast, who you may remember from our M.I.A.’s Meltdown festival in 2017, when he performed on our Riverside Terrace with collaborator Farhood. The two friends founded Manteq, a UK based record label which promotes creativity, collaborations and music by young artists and MCs with experiences of displacement. For Refugee Week he performs his new set Mirrors.

Both videos will be streamed on social media by Counterpoints Arts and ourselves – Nyaruach at 7pm, MC Tardast at 8pm. Check the Southbank Centre’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more details.



No Direction (at) Home

Sunday 21 June

As part of last year’s Refugee Week we presented the comedy collective, No Direction Home here at the Southbank Centre. This year, as our venus remain closed, we've teamed up with our friends Counterpoints Arts for a live, on-line comedy night. Hosted by Tom Parry, the bill features stand-up comics from refugee and migrant backgrounds, including Délia Remy, Edin Suljic, Nour-ani Sisserian, Yasmeen Gharwi & Selam Mengistu, with a special guest headline set from Nish Kumar.

The gig takes place on Zoom, starting at 8pm; and you ‘pay what you can afford’ for tickets (suggested £5-£10) Guest list places available for low or zero income.

tickets & more information



Get involved in refugee week

As well as these three live events there are a number of other ways you can get involved in Refugee Week at home. We asked our friends at Counterpoints Arts to offer some suggestions for ways families and children in particular could offer their support.

Imagine the future you want to see: get involved in Refugee Week


As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. But now they’ve stopped. And it's a huge worry to us, and the people we work with. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.

The show must go on(line)

Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.

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