Migrant Lives Matter festival

Staff and students from the University of Sussex’s School of Global Studies have organised a festival of music, comedy and film on campus this weekend, to fundraise for local migrant and asylum-seeker communities.

Taking place on Sunday 19 November, at the university’s dedicated arts venue, the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, the festival will include a full day’s programme of music, comedy, film, arts, talks, workshops and more.

Headliners include comedian Juliet Meyers, author and activist David Wilson, co-founder of War Child, an exclusive screening of new film Brexitannia, alongside a Q&A session with writer and filmmaker Charlotte Kuhlbrand, and Brighton-based melodic pop band Penelope Isles.

Money raised will go to local migrant and asylum-seeker support groups and organisations, including Sanctuary on Sea and the Migrant English Project.

Co-organisers Rosa Weeks and Joseph Piercy say: “The inspiration for the festival came from seeing the awful situations in the Mediterranean, across central Europe, and in the Calais camps, along with the increasingly negative portrayal of migration in the media and by certain politicians in the lead up to the referendum. We felt that there was no point getting upset and angry about it all, a better response would be to do something positive and supportive.

“We approached Professor Paul Statham, Director of The Sussex Centre for Migration Research, with the idea of running a day mini-festival of migration. Paul was very enthusiastic about the idea and instrumental in getting the project off the ground, putting us in touch with local migrant and asylum seeker support groups and organisations.

“It was from there that we decided to turn the event into a fundraiser for local groups who do fantastic work with these displaced communities, often relying entirely on the good will of volunteers just to survive.”

The festival also features Best Foot Music, who bring together displaced musicians from around the world, and Refugee Radio, a Brighton based organisation who provide support and a voice to the migrant and asylum-seeker communities in Brighton and Sussex.

Global Studies faculty are contributing, with Professor Dominic Kniveton running a ground-breaking experiential learning workshop on environmental change and migration, a Q&A with Professor Mike Collyer after a screening of the film Mediterranea, and a talk by Professor Paul Statham introducing the film Ticket to Paradise.

Elisa Sandi, a recent Global Studies MA graduate, is giving a talk about the reception of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Brighton, particularly focusing on the work of the Hummingbird Refugee Project.

There will also be a talk and display by the Brighton Table Tennis Club, about the ways they can help migrants integrate into their new host community, and a performance of a new work by BAFTA-winning film and sound producer Paul James and visual artist Jo Hunt, Lupe Lupe, in which thousands of loops and phrases from music, film and found sounds are live mixed and dubbed over a visual backdrop.

Tickets for the festival are available from www.attenboroughcentre.com | 01273 678822, and cost £10 or £8 for concessions.

The festival takes place at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on Sunday 19 November from 11am – 7.30pm.


Sussex academics are also taking to the stage next week to provide an entertaining insight into the astounding life of a Holocaust survivor and Civil Rights activist. 

Dr Doug Haynes (American Studies) and Dr Joanna Pawlik (Art History) will be joined by former Sussex PhD student Diarmuid Hester (University of Cambridge) and artist Harold Offeh in a performance inspired by the incredible life of Rosey E. Pool.

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By: Rose Tremlett
Last updated: Monday, 18 December 2017

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