The University of Hull is celebrating Refugee Week 2021 with a series of new podcasts.
‘Voices of Sanctuary’ – a month-long, weekly series launching on Friday, June 18 – will see university experts explore different perceptions on how we understand sanctuary and those seeking refuge.
Interviewees in the new series include a visual artist who works with those seeking sanctuary, a barrister, a law enforcement officer and an academic working on the politics of sanctuary.
The new podcasts come as the country celebrates Refugee Week 2021 – a UK-wide festival taking place between June 14 and 20, which celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.
Dr Martin Nickson, Lecturer in Education at the University of Hull, said: “People seeking asylum or refuge bring a wealth of talent, experience, skills and knowledge to the UK and individually and collectively have a wealth of social, human and educational capital that can only enrich our society.
“But people seeking asylum or refuge still face long standing and deep-rooted barriers, many of which arise outside of the University, to accessing education, jobs and training.”
Dr Nickson facilitates Talking Hull – a University initiative which since March 2020 has delivered over 300 free hours of ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) classes.
Talking Hull also hosts twice-weekly informal discussion sessions, helping members feel welcome at Hull and better connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2018, the University was also awarded University of Sanctuary status.
As a University of Sanctuary, the University offers scholarships and individual support to enable refugees and asylum seekers to realise their academic potential and endeavours to ensure that the
University campus and its local community are places of welcome and sanctuary for all.
Dr Nickson said: “Talking Hull is proud to be part of the University of Hull's Sanctuary network and we're proud of the University of Sanctuary’s collective achievements.
“However, there’s still a lot of work to do and it would be great for more people to be involved – all University staff are welcome.
“Refugee Week is a great opportunity for all members of the University community to find out more and to get involved, whether that is attending a live event, following the podcast series the University has arranged, or trying out volunteering with one of local community organisations we work with.”
Both the city and the University of Hull have a long tradition of welcoming and supporting those who are displaced by conflict, persecution or natural disasters.
One recipient of the University’s Sanctuary Scholarship said receiving support from the University had “brought the future to the present.”
They said: “For me to be able to get this scholarship is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, because it has helped me to get that degree that I so wanted for many years.
“There are people who are from minority backgrounds and deprived areas who do have the ability and they have the potential to make a difference in life but they just don’t have that opportunity, that one opportunity that they would get to make a difference in their life.
“What I have got now has given me more passion to do what I had always wanted to…having been able to study and get the degree will empower me now to do more.”
The new podcast series, ‘Voices of Sanctuary,’ will begin later this week. You will be able to find the entire series, as it is released, by visiting our YouTube channel.
On Wednesday, June 16, the University will also be hosting an online film club discussion of the feature documentary ‘For Sama.’
The multi award-winning film documents the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life across five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married, gives birth to Sama, and “wrestles with an impossible choice – whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.”
The film club event will start at 8pm and will finish by 9.30pm. The event is not a screening and participants will need to watch the film in advance. The film is available on the screening platform All4.
To book a place, please email email@example.com.
Further information about events taking place to celebrate Refugee Week across the city can be found on the Hull Refugee Week Facebook page.