By Shereen Perera
Take Refuge is a sociopolitical experiment initiated by a group of activists at Goldsmiths University who wanted to call attention to our C21st obsession with self care and the idea of “switching off” at a time when we desperately need to “switch on” when speaking about the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers, especially in an ever increasing hostile environment.
Take Refuge presents itself as a self care and mindfulness campaign inspired by trends such ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), apps such as Headspace and an ever increasing tendency to use sound, silence and meditative noises as a means of self care.
Audiences are directed to a Soundcloud page via their Instagram (@TakeRefuge_) where they think they are listening to calming noises but the sounds they are listening too are actually recordings done in deeply political spaces associated with the refugee and asylum seeker journey to the UK. Listeners are only made aware that Take Refuge is a political awareness campaign when an ASMR style presenter informs them of the context of the locations of the sounds they have been listening too.
These locations include entry points to the UK such as Heathrow Airport and the sea at Dover; these are places that most of us associate with holidays or greeting loved ones. However for someone seeking refuge these sites are associated with danger and uncertainty. Other locations include Colnbrook Detention centre which is situated in a residential area just a few miles away from Heathrow where asylum seekers remain waiting to find out if they have been granted safety.
At the end of engaging with Take Refuge audiences are directed to the Information page on the Take Refuge website where there is a beautifully designed ‘passport’ style publication that includes just a selection of the incredible organisations, social enterprises and charities working with refugees and asylum seekers in London.
The passport (pdf) acts as a ‘call to action,’ and tells you how you can get involved, no matter what your skills are or how much time you have, we can all do our part to help solve the global refugee crisis.