Refugee Tales 2017
From Runnymede to Westminster: A Walk In Solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Detainees
Refugee Tales is an outreach project of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group inspired by the experiences of men held in immigration detention at Gatwick and the work of the Group in 20 years of visiting.
In June 2015 and July 2016 the Refugee Tales project walked in solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigration Detainees, from Dover to Crawley along the North Downs Way. As the project walked it reclaimed the landscape of South East England for the language of welcome, and everywhere it stopped it was met with hospitality and enthusiasm. Working directly in collaboration with those who had experienced the UK asylum system, and taking Chaucer’s great poem of journeying as a model, established writers told a series of tales en route. Through that sharing of other people’s tales the project gathered and communicated experiences of migration, seeking to show, in particular, what indefinite detention means.
From 1 to 5 July 2017, Refugee Tales will walk again, from Runnymede to Westminster stopping at Walton, Kingston, Brentford and Hammersmith. We still call for the practice of indefinite immigration detention to end. At every stop of the way leading writers will help tell the tales of asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, as well as the stories of those who work with them. As the project walks it will create a space in which the language of welcome is the prevailing discourse, a political carnival in which the act of listening is a common resource.
Since Refugee Tales walked first time the debate around human movement has fluctuated dramatically, as pressure for a change of policy on indefinite detention has continued to build. It is a cruel and debilitating practice that continues to do untold damage to tens of thousands of lives.