Whatever the weather, residents in Renfrewshire can expect a warm welcome at Refugee Festival Scotland – and a colourful programme of events celebrating refugee arts and culture.

This year’s festival runs from 14th June – 20th June with everything from live music and dance to online art shows, film screenings, gaming marathons and family-friendly picnics, the festival has something for everyone.

The line-up, which showcases refugee arts and culture, aims to bring people from different backgrounds and cultures together to meet, mix and get to know each other better.

This year’s festival focuses on helping communities in Renfrewshire, and across Scotland to reconnect and build bonds of friendship after months kept apart by the pandemic.

The festival celebrates the many ways refugees contribute to Scotland’s cultural life by showcasing the food and drink, music and dance, language and art that people bring with them when they begin new lives in Scotland.

Refugee Festival Scotland is produced by Scottish Refugee Council.

If you would like more information on the 2021 festival programme, visit: refugeefestivalscotland.co.uk.

Photos by Paul Chappells / Scottish Refugee Council


Renfrewshire highlights 

Musicians In Exile – Always on the Move, in association with Paisley Arts Centre

In their new film, this group of asylum-seeking and refugee musicians, explore the journey of how we they music through the lockdown and what that music means to each of them as they slowly return to live performance. Their new song, Always on the Move, speaks to their flight from danger, constant instability and hopes of settling in a new home. In association with The Glasgow Barons, Paisley Arts Centre and Kick the Door Productions for Refugee Festival Scotland.

Monday 14 June

Free, online

For more details, contact Carla at carla.almeida@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Welcome to Our Zoom Club 

Children aged 8-12 are invited to Join the kids from Serve2020 in Paisley for a special edition of their weekly Zoom Club for fun, games, songs and more.

So far, the group has been on a ‘virtual world tour’, shared food from 17 countries, been visited by a poet and a puppy, and have ‘visited’ a farm. They’ve also done some fundraising and twinned with a toilet too!

Tuesday 15 June, 5pm

Free, online

To book your ticket, please email aggela@Serve2020.org

Storytelling session with Tawona Sithole in Partnership with Pachedu Cultural Café

Join the Pachedu Cultural Café in Ferguslie for an online storytelling session with Tawona Sithole, better known by his ancestral family name, Ganyamatope. His heritage inspires him to make connections with other people through creativity-based learning. Tawona is a poet, playwright, author and mbira musician. He is the co-founder of Seeds of Thought, a non-funded arts group, and currently the UNESCO artist-in-residence at the University of Glasgow, with research and teaching roles in the school of education and medical school.

Wednesday 16 June, 7pm

Free, online

To watch, tune into Ren TV: renfrewshireleisure.com/rentv/

How to Make a Traditional Abaya with Sewing2gether All Nations

Join Aysha from Paisley group, Sewing2gether All Nations, as she demonstrates how to make an abaya dress, a loose-fitting garment that is traditionally worn by many Muslim women across the world.

Wednesday 16 June, 7pm

Free, online

A link to join will be available at sewing2getherallnations.com

Celebrate Culture Photography Competition with University of the West of Scotland

As part of Refugee Festival Scotland 2021, Renfrewshire’s Ethnic Communities Cultural Steering Group and UWS are holding a photography competition.

Submit photos celebrating Refugee Week with the following categories:

  • ‘My Happy Place’
  • ‘Something new’
  • ‘Connect’ (open to wider community and non-UWS students)

Deadline for submissions is Thursday 17 June at 5pm

Free, online

Send your photo to internationaladvice@uws.ac.uk with ‘CC Photo’ in the subject title

Jambo! Radio Live Sessions for Refugee Festival Scotland

Tune in to hear musicians form refugee communities in Glasgow and Renfrewshire perform live at Jambo! Radio’s socially distanced studio.

Friday 18 June, 5pm

Free, online

Tune in at Jamboradio.co.uk

Sharing Food Experiences with Sean Wai and Renfrewshire’s Ethnic Communities Cultural Steering Group

A creative online workshop lead by poet Sean Wai Keung on food and poetry.

Bring along a photo, recipe or an idea about food that means something to you.

From home cooking inspirations to favourite ingredients and writing prompts, we will explore memories and share foodie thoughts. Ideas shared during and following the workshop will be collated into an illustrated micro-publication which will be sent to participants and available in community spaces across Renfrewshire.

Saturday 19 June, 2pm

Free, online

For instructions on how to join visit renfrewshireleisure.com/refugee-week

By Events Reporter

Staff reporter writes about events coming up in Renfrewshire.