NEW ARTS + HERITAGE PROJECT CASTS LENS OVER MEMORIES
OF 20 REFUGEES ARRIVING IN LONDON 20 YEARS AGO
20:20 is a new multimedia arts and heritage project from Salusbury World Refugee Centre that will cast a long lens over the personal memories of refugee families who arrived in the UK from 1999 onwards. Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will tour London venues beginning with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London before visiting the London College of Communication and Brent Civic Centre later in 2019. The exhibition at the V&A will include audio-visual films and holograms of objects of significance to the refugees.
The project collects and explores the oral histories of as many as 20 refugee families over 20 years, and creates an artistic response in the form of multimedia exhibitions and performance. 20:20 is led by Salusbury World Refugee Centre, co-curated by FotoDocument and the students/academics within the Design School at London College of Communication. Capturing personal memories of homeland and agile adaptations to exile, 20:20 will also explore resilience and celebrate transnational culture in the UK. The project will launch with a taster pop up exhibition within The Globe, Gallery 4, V&A South Kensington in celebration of the national Refugee Week theme You, Me and Those Who Came Before on Sunday 16 June.
The ‘grown-up children’ who have participated in the project attended Salusbury Primary School, Brent, from 1999 onwards. Recognising the need, the leadership team of the school set up a bespoke refugee centre in response to the growing number of new arrivals presenting with complex needs in the wake of the Kosovo war and other major global conflicts. Their reminiscences will become part of the project along with those of their parents.
20:20 is being led by Salusbury World Refugee Centre, located within the primary school of the same name and supporting children and their families across the Borough of Brent. The oral histories of the 10 ‘grown up’ children and 10 parents, collated to Oral History Society standards, are also source material for participatory workshops in photography, written/spoken word, and theatre, led by FotoDocument, English PEN and Scarabeus, respectively, for current beneficiaries of the charity, creating intergenerational links. The culminating works created from these workshops will be showcased alongside professionally generated content from the participating organisations and archival photographs, significant objects, children’s drawings and other ephemera, in the suite of exhibitions and events.
The digital outputs will be archived by Brent Museum & Archives creating a lasting legacy and a resource for local learning and future generations.
20:20 is also an integral part of a wider national arts festival in the UK, Insiders/Outsiders, which marks 80 years since the outbreak of WWII and celebrates the contribution of refugees from Nazi Europe to British Culture as well as a wider cohort of refugees since that time.
Salusbury World Director, Sarah Reynolds: “Organisations such as Salusbury World work quietly & tirelessly supporting refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK. 20:20 gives us an opportunity to celebrate the work of grass-roots charities and acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that every generation of refugees makes to every aspect of life in Britain today.”
20:20 Curator Nina Emett, FotoDocument: “At this time of polarising national and European debate around refugees and migrants, 20:20 is a timely and impactful project seeking to engage, inform and inspire audiences. The multimedia approach to the project aims to appeal to audiences on different sensory levels: visual, auditory, verbal and kinesthetic, serving to enrich the engagement experience and playing a role in UK social cohesion.”
Course Leader of Diploma in Professional Studies, London College of Communication, Sarah Temple: “Working on this project has been a fascinating opportunity for our students at the London College of Communication. Our designers have such rich source material to work with: oral histories, meaningful objects and transnational languages have provided unlimited format opportunities and given compelling insights to agile adaptations by young people just like themselves. As communicators they are utilising all their skills to interpret these narratives in the most engaging ways possible.”
Refugee participant: “It has been interesting to tell my multi-faceted story and seeing that interpreted into a different media form. I’m sure parts of it will be familiar to people who have had to make a new life for themselves in the UK. I hope that I have portrayed how thankful we are of the opportunities that Britain has given us, and how lucky Britain is to have people like us.”
KEY DATES FOR 20:20
You, Me and Those Who Came Before
Gallery 4, The Globe, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
16 June 2019, 12 – 5pm
London Design Festival (LDF), Well Gallery, London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6SB
LDF 14 – 22 September 2019
Launch Night: 19 September, 6 – 9pm
Exhibition continues after London Design Festival until 16 October.
The Library, Willesden Green, 95 High Rd, Willesden, London NW10 2SF
TBA November 2019
Brent Civic Centre, 32 Engineers Way, Wembley, London HA9 0FJ
5 November – 31 December 2019
Participating organisations: Salusbury World, FotoDocument, Brent Museum & Archives, Counterpoint Arts, Tate Modern Exchange, Victoria & Albert Museum, Scarabeus, English PEN, Music Action, Insiders/Outsiders, London College of Communication, Capital City Academy, Queens Park Community School, Salusbury Primary School, Stonebridge Primary School, Kilburn Grange Primary School.