Refugee Voices

Several times a year, Julie runs Refugee Voices project weeks in schools, working intensively with a small group of students to put on a play about asylum seekers and refugees. Where possible, she works with a professional actor, bringing drama and storytelling together with dynamic results.

Working in partnership with Bradford Action for Refugees and City of Sanctuary, Julie collected stories from two refugees and two people who work with refugees, all living in Bradford. Keeping the stories in their own words, she produced a script, stitching the stories together. During project weeks, she works with groups of students to prepare the script for performance.

During the project week, Julie makes daily visits to the school, working with the same group of students each day. The daily lessons can be anything from 2 to 4 hours long, working with a group of 10 to 12 students, and the programme includes education on the issues surrounding asylum seekers/refugees. Julie uses drama and storytelling games and techniques to develop performance skills, with the week culminating in a performance to other students, staff and sometimes parents. The project can be complemented by myth-busting lessons from Bradford Action for Refugees.

"It was fun, interactive, and I learnt lots of things, like what an asylum seeker is and what their life is like. It made me feel like I wanted to help and it was interesting looking into their lives. They come to seek peace and we should help."
Year 8 Student, Titus Salt School

There are secondary and primary versions of the script available. So far, the project has visited Grange Technology College (year 7), Shipley CE Primary (year 5), Titus Salt School (year 8), and St Joseph's Catholic College (year 7), with visits due to Myrtle Park Primary and Baildon CE Primary.

The script has also been performed by a group of adult volunteers, in Immanuel Community College and at the Zephaniah Celebration Day 2012. It is possible to run the project with groups of adults or young people in a church or community group, possibly over one day instead of a full week.

If you would like to know more or would like to speak to someone about booking the project, please contact us.

In an exciting development, City of Sanctuary has employed Mary Blacka, a part-time worker who is developing the Schools of Sanctuary project in Bradford alongside Refugee Voices. Julie is part of the board supporting this project in Bradford. If you are interested in becoming a School of Sanctuary, contact us and we will put you in touch with Mary.

"Everyone's voice deserves to be heard."
Year 7 Student, Grange Technology College

"I gained lots of confidence. I didn't know about refugees/asylum seekers, so now I know a lot about them."
Year 8 Student, Titus Salt School

"I learnt that you can't judge a book by its cover."
Year 7 Student, Grange Technology College

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