Refugee Festival Scotland 2024 – Programme Highlights

June is quickly approaching, and with it comes World Refugee Day and Refugee Festival Scotland! Produced and coordinated by Scottish Refugee Council, Refugee Festival Scotland is an arts and community celebration that takes place every year in the lead-up to World Refugee Day. Hundreds of people across Scotland come together to make it happen—from individual artists and activists to refugee-led community groups, local organisations, and national institutions.

This year, there are over 100 events happening in communities across Scotland. Each event shines a light on the cultural richness and diversity of our communities, celebrating the food, music, poetry, art, dance, language, and ideas that people bring with them when they settle in Scotland.

Refugee Festival Scotland is one of many arts and culture showcases taking place in the month of June, including Glasgow International: Festival of Contemporary Arts, with some events featuring in both festivals. The Refugee Festival team has also collaborated with Common Ground at the Centre for Contemporary Art to commission a collection of events as part of the newly developed Common Ground Festival.

Here’s our selection of arts and culture events events which are refugee and migrant-led, and feature some of our associate artists:

Arabic Shorts: Resilient /صامد + Q&A

15 June 2024, 1:00pm – 3:00pm / Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose St, Glasgow, G3 6RB

This event is curated by festival fellow and Cross Borders associate, Huss Al-Chokhdar. Resilient /صامد is a collection of short films celebrating resilience across the Arab region.

Films include HUSS’s And The Flowers Have Time For Me, Liam Lopinto’s Karam Camera, which follows two Syrian refugee girls on a journey of self-discovery through filmmaking, Roxana Vilk’s I Came from the Unknown to Sing, depicting award-winning Palestinian poet Ghazi Hussein’s life in imprisonment and his newfound home in Edinburgh, Rabbie Mustapha’s The Cities I Live In, documenting a filmmaker’s recount of his travels through troubled cities, Valentin Noujaim’s Before She Forgets Heliopolis, where the director’s family confronts their almost forgotten family history, and Roxy Rezvany’s Wifi Rider, a story of young Palestinian, Shukri, who is caught between occupation, globalization, and the universal growing pains of adulthood.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Roxana Vilk and BAFTA-winning Palestinian playwright Ghazi Hussein.

Find Tickets here.

Monuments for the Present

7 – 23 June, 11:00 – 6:00 pm / Centre for Contemporary Art, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD and Byres Community Hub, School of Health & Wellbeing, Clarice Pears Building, University of Glasgow, 90 Byres Road, Glasgow, G12 8TB

Monuments for the Present invites dialogue around equalities and public space. Public monuments in the UK have been the focus of debate and action, questioning dominant narratives of national identity that glorify violent imperialist extraction and white supremacy. This open-ended project explores potentialities for different value systems to be represented in public space.

This exhibition was co-initiated by our associate artist Paria M. Goodarzi, and also features in Glasgow International.

The exhibitions are open to the public, registration is not required. Find out more here.

The Veil Between Worlds

21 June 2024, 8:00pm – 9:00pm / CCA – Theatre, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD

The Veil Between Worlds is a new audio/visual performance piece by sound artist Cindy Islam, commissioned by Refugee Festival Scotland, and taking place as part of the newly developed Common Ground festival.

Islam will share an intimate understanding of the veil and its

multiplicities; as a material fabric designated to women and a symbolic portal between us and alternative perceptions. This performance explores textures and sounds where everyday observations intersect with the contemplation of other existences, making the veil a cloak flickering through the visible and invisible.

Find tickets here.

Standing Tall Bars: A Music Celebration

22 June 2024, 2:00pm – 4:00pm / Adelaide Place, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4HZ

Our associate artist PAQUE, along with musician Declan Welsh, will deliver a special event for young people. This event marks the culmination of “Standing Tall Bars,” a collaboration between young people, PAQUE, and Declan. Together, they have created a brand new song and music video that will premiere at this event. There will be food, live music, and other activities for everyone to enjoy.

This is an invite-only event. Find out more here.

Balfour Reparations (2024-2044)

22 June 2024, 8:00pm – 9:00pm / Common Ground at CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD

Balfour Reparations (2024-2044) is a performance lecture investigating ways to confront the United Kingdom’s colonial legacy in Palestine, focusing on Arthur James Balfour’s role in the historical denial of Palestinian political rights. Through Critical Fabulation and Afrofuturism, Saleh combines history,

fiction, and fantasy, engaging with archival material. The performance lecture takes place in 2044, reflecting on a fictive apology letter issued in 2024, promising reparations to the Palestinian people. The audience will participate as members of the reparations’ evaluation committee created on the 20th anniversary of the apology.

This performance will be delivered by Farah Saleh, a Palestinian dancer, choreographer, and scholar based in Scotland.

Find tickets here.

Collective Resonance

Saturday 15th Jun 6-8pm launch event, Sunday 16th June, 11:30am – 4:00 pm, Monday 17th June, 11am- 4:00pm / The Deep End 21 Nithsdale Street, Glasgow, G41 2PZ, United Kingdom

Collective Resonance is a participatory art and cultural engagement project that employs a multidisciplinary approach to amplify voices and foster dialogue on themes of identity, activism, freedom, and hope. By exploring Iranian heritage, the project aims to enhance cultural understanding and appreciation.

Through artistic expression, Collective Resonance contributes to raising awareness, visibility, and representation of diverse experiences within the community. It promotes a collective journey towards inclusivity and social integration by transforming personal stories into a shared narrative.

The aim of the project is to facilitate meaningful dialogue that celebrates cultura

l richness and diversity among participants and audience members through visual art and music performances. we seek to promote understanding, appreciation, and celebration of cultural heritage and diversity within our community.

All welcome – no need to register. Find more info here.


Light Hope Joy Day

19 June 2024, 11:00am – 3:00pm / Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Port-na-Craig, Pitlochry PH16 5DR

Everyone is invited to a day of celebration and activities at Pitlochry Festival Theatre for asylum seekers, refugees, and local residents from communities in and around Perthshire. There will be arts activities, story and poem sharing from around the world, a walk in the Theatre’s beautiful Explorers Garden, and a delicious picnic in natural surroundings. This event will provide an opportunity to connect, enjoy the beautiful Highland landscape, and be creative, bringing people together in friendship and fun.

Find out more here.

Personal Stories – From Experience to Exhibition

14 June 2024, 11:00am – 3:00pm / Shambellie House, New Abbey, Dumfries, DG28HQ

Shambellie House, a creative centre set in a tranquil haven in rural Dumfries and Galloway, will host a day for local asylum seekers and refugees to visit and share their stories and photographs with local volunteers and photographers. Stories and photographs will be recorded and translated, if necessary, to repres

ent what “Community” means to different people. These stories will give voices to the photographs, which will be displayed as part of an exhibition at Shambellie House from June 28 to July 14. This event aims to break down language barriers through the universal language of photography.

Find out more here.


17 – 22 June 2024, 10:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 4:00pm daily / The Press, 117 High Street, Dumfries, DH1 2BH

RISE with MOOL is both a celebration of Dumfries’ rich, diverse cultural community and an opportunity for creative expression. In the lead-up to Refugee Week, refugees, new Scots, and asylum seekers in the region will work with writers, artists, and local facilitators to produce creative writing and devise art installations.

These works will be exhibited in a temporary gallery, The Press, in Dumfries town centre. The exhibition will reflect personal and group journeys, present experiences, and future aspirations. Members of the public will have the opportunity to add their own experiences of RISE to one of the installation pieces.

Find out more here.

World Piece / سلام العالم

18 June 2024, 11:00am – 4:00pm / CFINE – Simmers Centre, 2-4 Poynernook Road, AB11 5RW, Aberdeen

World Piece will bring together unique cultures from around Aberdeen to celebrate diversity by “breaking bread.” Refugees and asylum seekers living in the city will create their own sweet treats, known locally as ‘fine pieces,’ at CFINE’s Community Kitchen – Cook at the ‘Nook. Attendees can taste home-cooked dishes from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kurdistan, and more.

To book, contact the organiser at Find out more here.


Rise & Unite: Stained Glass for Solidarity

21 June 2024, 10:00am – 3:00pm / The Spectrum Centre (Studio Space), 1B Margaret St, Inverness IV1 1LS

A day of creative fun where individuals and families from New Scots communities and the public come together to design and paint individual Perspex panels, which will be assembled into a stained glass art piece.

Participants will explore themes of hope, togetherness, resilience, and community through words and imagery on their panels. No artistic talent is required, as images can be printed and traced onto the panels. The event includes refreshments like teas, coffees, juice, and biscuits, fostering a sense of community as everyone creates and connects.

Find out more here.

Rising up in Angus – піднімаючись в Ангусі

17 June 2024, 11:00am – 3:00pm / V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, DD1 4EZ, United Kingdom

At the V&A Community Engagement room, a session will be led by two artists from refugee backgrounds living in Arbroath and Montrose.

Participants will create a collective artwork in the form of a tree, with each branch featuring a word that describes their journey into Angus. This collaborative art piece aims to capture and reflect the diverse experiences and emotions of those who have settled in the area, fostering a sense of shared community and understanding.

Find out more here.


To see the full programme, visit Refugee Festival Scotland.