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We're inviting audiences on a journey of discovery as part of Refugee Week 2021.

On Thursday 17 June at 12.30pm we are inviting audiences to take part in a free, interactive journey of discovery and explore songs, stories, spoken word and soundscapes created by diverse communities in response to We Cannot Walk Alone the theme for Refugee Week 2021 (14-20 June).

Participants will be able to join Skimstone Arts’ Artistic Director Claire Webster Saaremets and musician and co-presenter Kema Sikazwe live via Zoom where they will be guided along an animated map and get the chance to meet a host of artists and communities as they share artworks they’ve created and what they mean to them. Including uplifting and thoughtful songs, films and stories this is an opportunity for people to come together to begin to understand refugee and lived experiences from across the globe that help us to recognise the importance of humanity.

As Claire Webster Saaremets explains:

This year’s Refugee Week theme We Cannot Walk Alone is taken from Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech and invites people to reach out beyond our current circles and make new connections, so that we can walk forward together. This is a philosophy that is at the heart of all Skimstone Arts activity.

Our amazing team has been working with our very own Young Artist Collective and ECHO Artists, the Bosnian community in the North East of England, Friends of the Drop In for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Sunderland, communities in Byker, the INSPIRE group in the West End of Newcastle, young people at The Bostey Community Centre in Walker as well as our partners working with refugee communities from Libya, now in Accra, Ghana to co-create and devise new work to be shared as part of this special event which will also be broadcast live via our community internet radio station Skimstone Radio.

26 year old Ako, a refugee from Iraq currently living in Sunderland, and his friends Shaho and Hadi worked with Claire to create a short film called The Sea: Part 1. He said:

"Skimstone is like a second home for us, especially for refugees and artists, always proud to be working with Skimstone Arts, humanity important part of the group. I meet many people at Skimstone Arts, it's talent and happy to be part of this group and to make this short film. For my first experience in England it’s always supporting and helping us. Appreciate what it is doing.

Claire added:

Ako and his friends Shaho and Hadi bring such powerful stories about their lives, their courage and creativity. To share these through music, film and photography is much appreciated by us and we’re excited to see what we can learn and share together.

Skimstone Arts’ We Cannot Walk Alone event follows on from the success of UNITY Festival 2021 which saw over 1,000 people from across 23 countries come together via Zoom for a free weekend of music and stories celebrating community, nature and social action.

We Cannot Walk Alone will take place on Thursday 17 June at 12.30pm via Zoom as well as being broadcast simultaneously via Skimstone Radio. For more information about how to get involved click here. The broadcast of We Cannot Walk Alone will be available as a podcast via Skimstone Arts website after the event.

This event has been made possible with kind support from Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Newcastle City Council. 


Refugee Week 2021 
Refugee Week, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions of refugees, will take place between 14 and 20 June 2021.

The theme of Refugee Week 2021 is ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’. Taken from Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, the theme invites us to reach out beyond our current circles and make new connections, so that we can walk forward together.

Refugee Week 2021 will see hundreds of arts, cultural and community events and activities held by a wide range of organisations and groups across the country. The programme will be mainly online but will also feature in person activities, Covid restrictions allowing.

Anyone can take part in Refugee Week by holding or joining an event or activity, or doing one of eight Simple Acts, which are everyday actions anyone can do to stand with refugees and make new connections in their communities.

Refugee Week is a partnership project coordinated by Counterpoints Arts.

For more information on Refugee Week and to get involved, visit the Refugee Week website at

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