Refugee Week 2023

19th-25th June 2023

Refugee Week is the world’s largest arts & culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of people seeking sanctuary. It’s been running in the UK since 1998 and is always the week around World Refugee Day (20 June).

Through a programme of arts & culture, sports and educational activities alongside exciting media and creative campaigns, Refugee Week brings people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels, as well as foster a deeper understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges people face when seeking sanctuary.

Who can take part?

It’s an umbrella festival which means anyone can take part no matter where they are. Last year, an estimated 1.6 million people took part in Refugee Week, with over 1000 events all across the UK (including Scotland, Wales and Ireland) as well as 5 new international festivals (Berlin, Greece, Hong Kong, Malta, Taiwan), joining the long standing Refugee Week Australia.

Who is it for?

Refugee Week is for everyone. Anyone can get involved whether you have 5 minutes or 5 months to prepare something. In the past, we’ve had all sorts of individuals, groups and organisations take part such as: sports clubs, faith groups, schools, businesses, arts organisations, community groups and people at home. Activities have included performances, artistic commissions, creative workshops, school activities, community get togethers, football tournaments, faith events, cooking classes, meals, walks, talks and podcasts – just to name a few!

What is this year’s theme? 

For Refugee Week’s 25th anniversary we invite you to celebrate what compassion looks like in action. Together we can create a shared understanding of compassion to ensure we are extending it widely to all.

“Our task must be to free ourselves – by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”                       – Albert Einstein


Why Compassion?

The last few years have been challenging for all of us. We are still adjusting to new realities post-lockdown as well as responding to new crises. In the UK, dangerous anti-migration government rhetoric continues, along with inhumane conditions for asylum seekers.

But, none of these things happen in isolation. We know how interconnected our world is: how something seemingly “far away” impacts everyone. All of this makes us even more aware of the need to widen our circles of compassion.

Within our own experiences are all the tools we need to be compassionate, not just to ourselves and those in our immediate circle but to all our human neighbours and our one shared home, planet earth.

The organisers of Refugee Week 2023 worked with brilliant artist Murugiah to come up with an image based on the theme of compassion.


You can read more about this year’s brilliant poster by @_Murugiah here: Compassion – Murugiah Commission – Refugee Week

Simple Acts

Join us this Refugee Week in completing these everyday actions, that we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections in our communities. Find out more here