Get us in your inbox


8 things to do for Refugee Week in London

Alexandra Sims

Refugee Week, an annual celebration of refugees and their contributions to the UK, just turned 20. Here’s how to get involved: 

A Polaroid for a Refugee’

In 2015 photographer Giovanna Del Sarto travelled around Europe visiting areas where large numbers of refugees had arrived after fleeing conflict and crisis. Using a Polaroid Land Camera she took candid, intimate images of some of the new arrivals she met to capture a more personal side of the refugee crisis. After each portrait, she kept one for herself and gave the other to her subject as a gift for them to take on their journey. See a handpicked selection of the snapshots at this lovingly curated exhibition. Migration Museum. Vauxhall. Until Jul 1. Free.


Joelle Taylor

Home and Exile

Poet Sam Berkson, aka Angry Sam, whose most recent collection of verse records his experiences visiting West Saharan refugee camps, hosts this evening of poetry and spoken word raising awareness of refugee and migrant experiences. Eritrean-born rapper and producer Awate, writer and journalist Bridget Minamore and award-winning spoken-word artist Joelle Taylor will also be spitting stanzas and belting blank verse to raise some much-needed funds for Southwark Refugee Response. Peckham Pelican. Peckham Rye Overground. Thu Jun 21. Suggested donation £5.


Imad’s Syrian Kitchen Takeover

Syrian chef Imad Alarnab has already made his mark on the London food scene with his pop-up on Columbia Road. Now the refugee chef, who owned two restaurants in Damascus before they were destroyed during the war, is bringing his traditional Middle Eastern dishes to Second Home’s beautiful courtyard café where he’ll be cooking up a different Syrian speciality every day. The kitchen is running as part of Second Home’s ‘Choose Love’ event series for Refugee Week, so there will be a whole lot going on. Our tip: make a beeline for Imad’s famed falafel. 
Second Home Holland Park. Tube: Holland Park. Tue Jun 19-Fri Jun 22. Prices vary.

Refugee Week: Dance for Refuge x V&A

Break out your most dramatic dance moves in the V&A’s entrance hall at this DJ-powered late. Portuguese spinner Mafalda’s beats matched with Boiler Room co-founder Thris Tian’s synth-laden global sounds will be making Dale Chihuly’s blown-glass chandelier shake. V&A. Tube: South Kensington. Fri Jun 22. Free.

Moving Stories: A Refugee Week Special Event

Drop by the British Museum for a packed day of performances, films and workshops. Stay for the free screening of Ai Weiwei’s powerful documentary ‘Human Flow’ in the BP Lecture Theatre, which follows the Chinese artist across the globe as he attempts to capture the reality of forced human movement. Get there at 2pm to hear a special introduction and insider take on the film by co-writer Tim Finch. British Museum. Tube: Russell Square. Sun Jun 24. Free.

Help Refugees Supper Club at Peckham Levels

Tuck into a Middle-Eastern-inspired vegan banquet in a former multi-storey car park and raise money for refugees while you’re at it. Peckham Levels’ banging vegan restaurant Wildflower has teamed up with So Vegan and Help Refugees for this veg-filled supper club fundraiser. While you stuff your face, keep your ears open for a music line-up curated by in-house music venue Ghost Notes, with politically-charged rap from Iranian-born MC Farhood. This lot are on the level for sure. Wildflower. Peckham Rye Overground. Thu Jun 21. £40.

Summer Fair on Islington Green

Amnesty International’s I Welcome campaign is helping individuals around the world do simple things to make newcomers feel welcome in their communities. Join the movement at this neighbourhood fair where you can dance to world music, feast on global street food and buy local crafts. Unlike your average village fête, there’ll also be talks on the challenges facing asylum seekers in the UK from Labour MP Meg Hillier, Syrian activist Ahmad Al-Rashid and Dr Hailay from the International Centre for Eritrean Refugees. Islington Green. Tube: Angel. Sat Jun 23. Free.

Sounds for Syria

Get serenaded by an oud (lute), ney (flute) and kanun (zither) playing hundreds of maquams – that’s impassioned melodic loops – in true Syrian musical tradition at this concert from the London Syrian Ensemble. The tuneful collective is made up of some of the finest musicians from the Damascus Conservatoire, who are now based in the UK. All proceeds go to the Marhabtayn Trust, which supports people caught up in Syria’s conflict and refugee crisis. Conway Hall. Tube: Holborn. Sat Jun 23. £30.

Refugee Week runs until Sun Jun 24. Find out more here

Find more things to do in London this month with our June guide.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news

      Read next