Refugee Week 2020

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival held every year around WORLD REFUGEE DAY on June 20th.

Sunderland Refugee Week celebrates the contribution of refugees to our society and remembers why people are forced to leave their homes and seek asylum.  2020 REFUGEE WEEK is still happening with the theme ‘IMAGINE’ but like most events this year it will be digital and in Sunderland there are a number of stories, collections and events to share.


Sunderland City of Sanctuary start off the week with their Walk of Sanctuary when we remember how people travel to get here. This year City of Sanctuary Chair Chris Howson will walk at 2 metres apart with different members of the refugee and voluntary community accompanying him on sections of the walk around Sunderland’s landmarks with a send off on zoom at 9am by the Bishop of Durham.


Civic landmarks will be lit up in blue on the Monday evening to symbolise the skies and seas shared in every journey through life.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Michael Mordey, said: “We are proud to support Refugee Week which provides us all with a chance to learn more about the life and death decisions facing people escaping war and persecution, and better appreciate the cultural and social contribution they make to the world.”


We took inspiration from art refuge’s project CORONAQUILT which they describe below:

We at Art Refuge have dreamt up the Coronaquilt project to bring people together both through a virtual global platform, and at a community level….A quilt is a protection, a cover, or blanket, its patchwork structure bringing individual squares together.”

Art refuge suggested we make our own community quilt and here in Sunderland we asked the refugee community and voluntary agencies to send in photos of what they have been doing during lockdown. A huge thank you to Billy Broad from GENTOO housing association for putting together our coronaquilt and video of all those shared images. They show our common humanity throughout lockdown.