Refugee Week 19 to 25 June 2023

This year’s theme is Compassion.

There are crucial differences between sympathy, empathy and compassion. We are using the following as working definitions:

Sympathy involves understanding someone else’s emotions from our own perspective. It is closer to pity.

Empathy involves feeling what someone else feels.

Compassion is a conscious choice to turn empathy into action. It necessarily involves action that stems from a deep respect for another’s feelings and experiences. It does not include actions taken from the perspective of an outsider.

Bristol Refugee Festival has been running since 2005. See this year’s amazing programme of events. See RENS events below.


This Refugee week, RENS has two key aims:

  • Promoting a message of welcome and belonging.
  • Countering narratives of hate and division.

We are inviting everyone with awareness and knowledge of the current situation to join with us in promoting these messages across Weston and North Somerset, through both independent and collaborative action. We will promote all actions that further these aims and if you would like to run an event at The Other Place, please do contact us.

Refugee Week provides a focal point that energises collaborative action. However, we recognise the importance of continuing related activities throughout the year and we welcome opportunities for ongoing collaborations.

The New Union Flag is a project developed by award-winning transdisciplinary artist, researcher and curator, Gil Mualem-Doron. The project, which ran from 2014-2021, supported by Counterpoint Arts and Art Council England, re-imagines the Union Jack and celebrates the communities that have contributed to the UK’s cultural legacy.

Taking inspiration from the artist’s work, we are beginning to create our own version/s at The Other Place. If you have small pieces of fabric that, for you, represent your heritage, please drop them off at The Other Place.  

‘We Belong’ Exhibition at The Other Place

This will be a participatory exhibition in the meeting room, with opportunities for all communities to contribute. It will ask the question who are ‘we’ and will seek to set current migration narratives within a wider context.

The exhibition will include flags representing the mother countries of all those who currently live and work in Weston and North Somerset, and statements of welcome and belonging in the many languages spoken.

Visitors can contribute to the exhibition with artwork, written pieces and links to debates that further an understanding of the current situation.

Perspectives: Creating an inclusive story of us

North Somerset Council Chamber, 19 June, 1.30pm to 5pm

A panel-led discussion exploring historical, global and current perspectives followed by a conversation about local issues and local action.

Booking necessary: We anticipate this will be a popular event, please book early to be sure of a place.

The panel will include national and local representatives (details to be announced shortly).

  • 1.30pm-2pm: Registration, Coffee & Tea
  • 2pm-3.30pm: Panel Discussion (details to be confirmed shortly)
  • 3.30pm-4pm: Refreshment Break
  • 4pm-5pm: Local Action. What can we do, what should we do, and what support can we give?

World Refugee Day at The Other Place, from 10am

Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety.

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.

We will be marking World Refugee Day with an informal day of films, food and discussion.

The programme of films will be published shortly but, in the meantime, please do save the date in your diary!

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