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Refugee Week 2019

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Refugee Week 2019

In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. Bedford is a town of migration. We have a long and proud tradition of welcoming new communities seeking new lives – some people have arrived seeking work and better opportunities, some people have fled war or persecution.

Take part in a variety of events to discover stories of displacement, explore the lives of refugees and the people who welcomed them throughout the generations, based on this year's Refugee Week 2019 theme:

You, me and those who came before


Refugee Week Launch

Saturday 15th June, 11am – 4pm

Free - The Higgins Bedford

Enjoy live music, talks, poetry, creative workshops and information, celebrating the beginning of a busy programme of events for Refugee Week in Bedford. The launch will include the opening of Kwibuka Rwanda – Remembering Rwanda, a travelling exhibition from Pitt Rivers Museum.


The 25th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsi

Saturday 15th June, 2pm - 5:30pm

Free - The Higgins Bedford

Hear stories at the Urumuri commemoration for the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi. The exhibition, developed by Dr Julia Viebach and Pitt Rivers Museum, looks at the many memorials marking the sites where the genocide took place.


2 - 4pm: Commemoration, Castle Room

4 - 5:30pm: Exhibition & Refreshments, Sir William Harpur Gallery



Tuesday 18th June, 11am – 4pm

Free - The Higgins Bedford

A chance to join like-minded crafters to knit and crochet hats, socks, gloves and blankets for refugees across the globe. All items will be distributed by UK Charity Knit for Peace.


Email gemma.hutton@bedford.gov.uk to register you interest or support the event with some knitting to be delivered to Knit For Peace HQ.


Click here for more information.


Pop-up Museum #You, me and those who came before

Wednesday 19th June, 11am – 3pm

Free - Bedford Central Library

Bring the stories and objects that you, your parents and grandparents have brought with them from their home countries to share and celebrate at this Pop-Up Museum. Recipes, cook books, favourite coffee pots, toys, scarves, hats or photographs – what favourite things did you, your parents or grandparents, bring with them to start life in the UK?


Windrush Family Day & Global Kitchen

Saturday 22nd June, 12pm - 5pm

Free Entry - A Different Brew

Celebrate National Windrush Day and Bedford's Windrush Generation with a day of face painting, music, folk songs, dancing, dominoes, food and Windrush stories.


Working in Collaboration with Arise In Bloom, Nubian Teachings, Friends Of Refugees, Urban Adventures (Natures Gifts), Bedfordshire Opportunities for Learning Disabilities (B.O.L.D).


This Noisy Isle

Saturday 22nd June

Performances starting at: 10:00am, 10:15am, 10:30am, 10:45am, 11:00am, 11:15am, 11:30am, 11:45am, 1:00pm, 1:15pm, 1:30pm, 1:45pm, 2:00pm, 2:15pm, 2:30pm, 2:45pm - (Each group is limited to 16 patrons)

Enjoy an outdoor treasure-hunt style performance for 7-11 year-olds and their families inspired by William Shakespeare's The Tempest. This adventure through a strange, magical new world explores the refugee crisis in a new and inventive way. Discover magical powers, solve puzzles, meet mysterious characters, navigate the sea and search for a new home in this truly interactive family experience.


Come prepared for the elements as much of this adventure takes place outdoors!

Book Tickets here.

Working in Collaboration with Spun Glass Theatre and The Place Bedford.
Created in partnership with Creative Arts East, The Garage Norwich and Arts Council England.


BRASS Family Football Funday

Sunday 23rd June

Free - Russell Park

It’s game on at Family Football Funday on 23rd June! Enter your team and test your skills on the pitch in a free five-a-side football tournament at Russell Park. The Mayor of Bedford will present prizes to the winners.


Visit BRASS website for more information.