Everyone is welcome

This commitment to making our museum venue welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers is reflected in the following projects.

If you or your group are interested in working with us please contact our Community Engagement Team by email.

Refugee Week in the Museums

Refugee Week is an important date in the calendar for Leicester Museums & Galleries who have been awarded the prestigious Museum of Sanctuary Award. For the past five years there have been major events at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery led by asylum seekers and refugees in partnership with the museum. These events have included performances by musicians, poetry read by refugee creative writing groups, myth-busting talks, fashion shows of national costume, debates and discussions, collaborative arts and crafts – some led by refugee artists, films made by asylum seekers and much more.

Banner made by the After 18 Group during Refugee Week 2019
Banner made by the After 18 Group during Refugee Week 2019

The event has spilled over into the square outside the museum with the railings decorated with flags offering a welcome to asylum seekers, and attracting many visitors who may not have been aware of the event. Many families from all backgrounds have taken part in the event and in making flags and banners to express a welcome to those seeking a safe place.

Sanctuary Wall

As part of the People’s Open Art Exhibition in 2019 a wall was given over as a Sanctuary Wall to display artwork and the message that the museum welcomes asylum seekers and refugees. The aim of the Sanctuary Wall was also to commemorate the loss of the thousands of people who have lost their lives attempting to reach a place of safety.

Museum staff worked with fifteen community groups, seven of whom were groups for refugees and asylum seekers including After 18, Leicester City of Sanctuary and The Women’s Welcome Group. The others were a range of community groups including some with disabilities, elders groups and youth groups, ESOL groups and craft groups. Each person created a colourful collaged bird with a person on their back being flown to freedom. These were displayed alongside a moving artwork by a local artist, and created a stunning and poignant display. Following the end of the art exhibition the Sanctuary Wall has become a travelling exhibition displayed in local libraries and community venues.

Examples of the Community Engagement Team's work with refugees and asylum seekers are featured on the City of Sanctuary website in the Sanctuary in the Arts Resource Pack.

Leicester City of Sanctuary visit to the Sanctuary Wall at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery
Leicester City of Sanctuary visit to the Sanctuary Wall at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery