Swansea University is playing a key role in helping shape youngsters’ knowledge about migration at a unique new city exhibition.
Home Away From Home, at Swansea Grand Theatre’s Multicultural Hub, is not only a celebration of the people and organisations who have been involved in making Swansea a City of Sanctuary for more than a decade but also hopes to shape public opinions about migration.
Visitors will be able to find out more about the processes involved in migration as well as sharing touching migrants’ stories and displaying the work of Swansea City of Sanctuary (SCoS).
The University is one of 25 international partners in the EU-funded PERCEPTIONS Project which examines how Europe and the EU are seen by people who have immigrated there or intend to do so. The project will be using the exhibition as a chance to highlight its work as well as hosting special creative workshops for children aged from 7 to 11.
These workshops will allow pupils to interact with migration themes raised by the PERCEPTIONS project – faith, hope, loss, uncertainty, and disorientation – and create artworks based on those themes. It is hoped these can then be shared with EU partners.
The University’s involvement in the exhibition has been led by Professor Sergei Shubin, who heads Swansea’s PERCEPTIONS team and is director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research and his colleague Harrison Rees.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Stringer, who leads Swansea’s bid to become the University of Sanctuary, said: “Swansea University’s commitment to developing a culture of sanctuary and creating a safe welcoming place for everyone draws on its institutional values and civic mission.
“We are dedicated to working with our wide community, including sanctuary seekers to support diversity, inclusivity and equality for the service of others.”
The exhibition had originally been planned to mark the 10th anniversary of Swansea becoming a City of Sanctuary but had to be postponed because of Covid-19 and Alan Thomas, co-chair of the Swansea City of Sanctuary, is delighted it was finally able to go ahead.
He said: “It is fitting that this comes just as there is a huge outpouring of support for refugees from Ukraine. There has also been a big increase in the numbers of people seeking asylum here from other world trouble-spots.
“We have always known that people in general are welcoming towards all who have had to flee their homes because of war or persecution, especially once they meet or hear directly from them.
“This is why a major element of our exhibition features stories of individuals who have been forced to leave their home and are now contributing to Swansea. Another part is about the ways in which Swansea has given people sanctuary and a warm Welsh welcome.”
He said the exhibition is now set to go on display at other venues over the next year, inspiring as many people as possible to put their sympathy for those fleeing trauma to practical effect.
The exhibition will be running until April 7 and is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm, Saturday 11am to 3pm. Closed on Sundays.
(All images: Swansea University)
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