A multi-venue celebration of global music and culture featuring a diverse programme of artists takes over Birmingham, UK from tomorrow Wednesday 20 June, to Saturday 23 June to mark Refugee Week. Showcasing artists in exile, supporting refugee rights in and around Birmingham.

Celebrating Sanctuary presents Refugee Week Festival on Wednesday 20 June - Saturday 23 June 2018 at the Ikon Gallery, Ikon Slow Boat, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Symphony Hall foyer, Ort Cafe, Midlands Arts Centre (mac). Free and ticketed events.

The festival, curated and delivered by city based arts charity Celebrating Sanctuary, will see a series of talks, special performances and workshops with musicians from Angola, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sudan, Ukraine, UK and Zimbabwe given at Ikon Gallery, Ikon Slow Boat, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Symphony Hall foyer, Ort Cafe, and Midlands Arts Centre (mac).

Music and culture fans are invited to a festival introduction and meet-the-artists session with Millicent Chapanda and Ben Pathy on board the Ikon Slow Boat - a converted canal barge moored at Brewmaster Bridge in Brindleyplace - on Wednesday 20 June (4pm-6pm), before a free intimate set from Senegalese kora player and singer Kadialy Kouyate at Yorks Cafe in Ikon Gallery (8pm - 8.40pm).

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery hosts the free Refugee Week 20th Birthday Celebration on Thursday 21 June, featuring performances by Writers Without Borders, Sisters in Mbira with Zimbabwean musicians Millicent Chapanda and Anna Mudeka, plus African-Latin collective Afro Mio led by Angolan recording artist Ben Pathy, along with stalls and activities. (12pm - 4pm). 

Guinea-Bissauan virtuoso guitarist Tony Dudu and his project Gumbe Jazz give a much anticipated free show as part of the popular Jazzlines Free Gigs programme in the foyer of Symphony Hall on Friday 22 June (5pm - 7pm).

Later the same evening, Congolese singer-songwriter Didier Kissala will perform a special acoustic set at Ort Cafe (8.20pm - 10.30pm), with a second stirring performance from Tony Dudu and Gumbe Jazz (9.20pm - 10.30pm). Tickets for the evening, priced £5, can be purchased on the door.

Celebrating Sanctuary's Refugee Week Festival 2018 programme culminates in a six hour extravaganza across spaces at Midlands Art Centre (mac) featuring live performances from The Refugee Choir, a collaboration between the European Youth Music and the St Chad’s Sanctuary Refugee Choirs, led by  Lizzy Cragg (Birmingham Opera Company), feted Birmingham singer-songwriter Layla Tutt, African-Latin collective Afro Mio, Ukrainian singer-songwriter Iryna Muha, Midlands roots band Culture Dub Quartet, Sudanese singer and Ood player Hassan Salih Nour, Zimbabwean Mbira players and singers Millicent Chapanda, Chartwell Dutiro and Anna Mudeka, Guinea-Bissauan singer-guitarist Nifeco Costa with his band Babock Jazz, and a joyous finale with music, dancers and drummers from the Democratic Republic of Congo's The Redeemed, led by Didier Kissala (12pm - 6.15pm).

There will be a number of workshops throughout the final day, including kite-making, arts and craft workshop, women's craft collective, textile working, face painting, drumming, salsa dance and art and conversation (1.20pm - 4.30pm, booking required on the day).

Celebrating Sanctuary formed in 2002 to showcase and support artists in exile, and to support refugee rights. Celebrating Sanctuary is supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, The Cole Trust and Near Neighbours.

“Our four day celebration not only offers audiences the opportunity to experience global music and culture from a wide range of artists who themselves have faced and continue to face issues related to migration, but also delivers a resoundingly positive response to anti-immigration narratives in a city which has become the centre of multiculturalism it is today thanks to diversity and inclusion. We look forward to sharing our 2018 programme with people of all ages and backgrounds."  - Rachael Cox, Celebrating Sanctuary Programme Manager

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