Category Archives: Exhibitions

Migration Museum: Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond

Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond

2 June – 22 June 2016  | 12pm–8pm (open every day) | Free admission
Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP
Transport: Overground (Shoreditch High Street – 2 min walk), Tube (Old Street/Liverpool Street – 10 min walk), Bus (8, 23, 26, 35, 47, 48, 67, 149, 242, 388)

The Calais camp has become a potent symbol of Europe’s migration crisis. Public opinion on this ever- evolving shantytown and its inhabitants is polarised: to some a threatening swarm seeking entry to our already overstretched island-nation, to others a shameful symbol of our failed foreign policy. Amid such debate, it is easy to lose sight of the thousands of individuals who have found themselves in limbo in Calais, each with their own story and reasons for wanting to reach Britain.

Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond is a multimedia exhibition, taking place in a momentous month that sees both the EU referendum and Refugee Week. It explores the complexity and human stories behind the current migration crisis, with a particular focus on the Calais camp.

The exhibition features compelling works by established and emerging artists, refugees, camp residents and volunteers. These include a powerful new installation by award-winning artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, art by ALPHA using materials from the camp, drawings of Calais by illustrator Nick Ellwood, art and photography by camp residents, and an installation of lifejackets embedded with the stories of their wearers. It will serve as a forum for a range of discussions, film screenings and performances, including a poetry evening hosted by Michael Rosen. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to leave their responses, which will become part of an art piece by artist-in-residence, Cedoux Kadima.

The Migration Museum Project would like to thank the following donors for their generous grants and support, without which we would not have been able to stage this exhibition: Londonewcastle, Arts Council England, ESRC, Citizenship and Governance Research at The Open University, The University of Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and all of the generous contributors to our crowdfunding campaign, including Michael and Em O’Kane, David Warren, Richard Buccleuch and Tom Jupp. We would also like to thank Counterpoints Arts for their advice and support during the planning of this exhibition.

View and download the press release here.

Events associated with this exhibition:

Birds Crossing Borders drop in art workshop, 4 June 2016, 2 -4 pm

Poetry of Migration, 6 June 2016, 5:30 – 8:30 pm

What is Britishness? 14 June 2016, 7 – 9 pm

Join the conversation on Twitter using #CalaisStories. You can find us at @MigrationUK.
Share our Facebook event page and let us know if you’re coming to the exhibition!

Exhibition: Lingering Ghosts by Sam Ivin

The artist Sam Ivin has recently published details of his latest project entitled `Lingering Ghosts’ which looks at the UK migration system and how it treats asylum seekers looking to find refuge here in Britain.

Further details of this project can be found on the website at

From Poland to Waltham Forest: New Exhibition Highlights 150 Years of Polish Migration to Waltham Forest

The Vestry House Museum is currently displaying an exhibition entitled, From Poland to Waltham Forest which runs at  as part of the E17 Art Trail.  The exhibition is on display between the 30th May and the 14th June 2015 and focuses upon 150 years of Polish migration to Waltham Forest in London.

This exhibition marks the conclusion of a Heritage Lottery Funded project to undertaken by Share UK, a non profit organisation based in Waltham Forest, with the aim of revealing how there has been a long history of Polish migration to Waltham Forest with evidence of Polish migration to the area from the mid 1800s through to the present day.

The history and heritage of “Characters from over 150 years of migration come to life through film, photography, audio and archive materials” can now be discovered both within the exhibition and also the project website which is now available online at:

Reflecting upon the project, Share UK’s Esther Freeman said: “Since this area has existed in its current urban form there have been Polish people living here. They established businesses, raised their children and contributed to the community both economically and culturally, much like they do today.”

Further details are available from the website at and the exhibition is currently running at the Vestry House Museum until the 24th June.


Black Bloomsbury Small Exhibition – UCL

Black Bloomsbury
A small exhibition has opened at the UCL Art Museum space – Black Bloomsbury looks at the work of UCL Slade Students between the wars and displays some of their artworks depicting the Black presence in London.
More information about opening times and events can be found on the UCL website: and the Equiano Centre website .

Exhibition: Somalia photo exhibition at Royal Geographical Society

Somalia photo exhibition at Royal Geographical Society

Where: Royal Geographical Society, London
When: 11.02.2013 – 15.03.2013

ICRC Somalia ExhibitionThe ICRC is celebrating the extraordinary courage and resilience of ordinary Somalis in an exhibition of photos at the Royal Geographical Society. Organized in cooperation with the Somali Red Crescent and the British Red Cross, the exhibition illustrates how humanitarian organizations have worked with Somalis over the last 30 years. Entry is free.

For further information: [ICRC website] and [Royal Geographical Association website].



Exhibition – Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees, London, 6-31 January 2013

Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees, London, 6-31 January 2013

About the project

Over half the world’s refugees now live in large towns and cities where they are confronted by a unique set of challenges. The traditional image of life in tented, sprawling camps no longer tells the full refugee story. As urbanisation reshapes much of the world, refugees too are increasingly moving to large towns and cities.
In addition, urban areas are rapidly expanding, making them increasingly vulnerable to man-made and natural disasters. With this explosive growth come new types of risks, vulnerabilities and potential humanitarian crises.

The classic picture of a refugee in a camp is changing. Refugees and displaced people move to the city in the hope of finding a sense of community, safety and economic independence. However, in reality, what many actually find are harsh living conditions, lack of security and poverty.

Working with the International Rescue Committee and the European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection department ECHO, Panos Pictures photographer Andrew McConnell has spent many months documenting this new reality in eight cities across four continents. Through images, refugee testimonies, and video, the resulting body of work presents a unique insight into the lives of urban refugees today and challenges the commonly held stereotypes. From Somali refugees in Nairobi to Syrian refugees in north Jordan, and from Burmese refugees in Kuala Lumpur to Afghan refugees in New York, the story of where people flee when all is lost is changing…

Further information can be found at:

Re-blog: The USA: A Nation of Archived Immigrants

The following has been re-blogged from the Archival Platform blog:

The USA: A Nation of Archived Immigrants

The USA: A Nation of Archived Immigrants

The USA: A Nation of Archived Immigrants

Ellis Island seems a quick stop for most of those who pour out of the boat after the all-important stop at the Statue of Liberty. Most wander in a take a look at the new exhibition on the ground floor – “JOURNEYS: The Peopling of America – 1550-1890”. To the left as you enter the main building on the island, you can walk through a short corridor and into the American Family Immigration History Center. For $5 you can get assigned a computer where for 35 minutes you can search the records of people who arrived in the U.S. through the island. You can then go and continue your search at home at your leisure afterwards.

The U.S. prides itself of being a nation of immigrants. A steady flow of immigrants has been arriving on American shores since the 1700s. The flow peaked between 1880 and 1924. Ellis Island was the country’s busiest immigration inspection station between 1892 and 1954. It was the first Federal immigration station following the Federal government’s assuming of control of immigration in 1890. A third of the country’s population today – approximately 100 million people – traces its history via ancestors who arrived through the island. Those who arrived came from countries such as Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, Italy, China, Barbados, Japan, England and Sweden. The first immigrant to pass through the station was a 15-year-old Irish girl by the name of Annie Moore on January 1, 1892. However, the wooden building housing the immigration station was destroyed by a fire in 1897 and along with it immigration records dating back to 1855. New fireproof buildings were subsequently constructed.

Immigrants arriving on the island had to show that they had enough money to settle and get themselves started – between $18 and $25 – and that they had secured passage to their final destination. They were inspected for any visible signs of ill health. Anyone who was not well would be placed in the hospital on the island. In some of the exhibitions you see ragged-looking people clutching all their worldly possessions, waiting in line to be inspected. Many of the people who passed through island who were interviewed in various oral history projects speak of the terror that gripped immigrants as they disembarked from their ships. If a person was denied entry into the country, they would be deported to their port of origin. That would be the end of the dream of a new and better life for anybody who crossed the seas seeking opportunity. Only 2% of those who sought entry were turned away though.

Once you get past the condensed version on the ground floor and explore the sprawl on the other three floors, you encounter remarkably-told stories of the experiences of people who immigrated. You learn about the things that compelled people to leave their places of origin – religious persecution, famines, and downright adventure in some cases; through how they settled in the new country – some became successful business owners, some found work, while others ended up homeless and destitute. As you move from room to room, among others you see exhibitions on industry, labour, children’s experiences, political participation, detention, aid societies, and medical care. It takes at least half a day to browse the exhibitions.

When the immigration station closed, the island was abandoned. It became a ruin until a project to restore it was begun in 1966. It took until 1982 for construction to begin and it lasted until 1990 when the museum opened to the public. Now genealogists and anybody who wants to trace ancestors that immigrated through Ellis Island can hop on the boat at New York Harbour and go across to Ellis Island or simply go online to search for names.

The American Family Immigration History Center was set up in collaboration with the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints. On the Center’s search, when you find the name of a person you are searching for, you typically find three pieces of information matched to the name: the ship’s manifest, a typed version of the person’s details extracted from the ship’s manifest, and an image of the ship on which the person travelled. The passenger record is sparse on detail, but it has some useful information: first name, last name, ethnicity (which usually means nationality), last place of residence, date of arrival, age of arrival, gender, ship of travel, port of departure, and manifest line number. The details of the ship offer clues that can be helpful as well, such as who owned the ship, when and where it was built and by what company, what colours it flew, and any known change of ownership of the ship.

I cast around for some potential South African surnames to look for, not expecting that all that many South Africans landed on Ellis Island during its years of operation. The search options are rather limited: first name, last name, approximate year of birth, and gender. I was alerted before beginning my search that the ethnicity of South Africans often shows up as British and that most would have sailed from ports in England. Unlikely as it was to have been a South African of that surname who landed on the island, Zulu was the only surname I could come up with.

There were several names with Zulu in them, such as several people who came from Colombia called Zuluaga and one from Cuba named Zuluaza. The only Zulu was a Rudolf Zulu from Austria. The people who are most likely to have been South African were two 14 year olds, James and John Zulue. James arrived on May 3, 1924 on the ship Aquitania, which had sailed from Southampton in England. The person(s) named John appear(s) as arriving 10 times from Southampton on the Aquitania, the first time being on April 11, 1924 and the last being on December 31 of the same year.

Having paid $5 and now able to conduct searches and save them, I am now trying to think up other names to look up. The extent to which immigration is embraced and how records of it are kept in the United States is something to admire.


Exhibition: East End of Islam at RichMix

*** Apologies for Cross Posting ***

(Source: RichMix –

East End of Islam at RichMix


East End of Islam

East End of Islam
Copyright – Rehan Jamil .

The East End of Islam is a black and white photographic exploration of the Muslim community in Tower Hamlets and their relationship with the East London Mosque.  The mosque’s expansive building programme and incorporation of the London Muslim Centre qualifies it as being the largest capacity purpose built mosque in Europe.

This exhibition is the culmination of a ten year period from 1997 – 2007, during which time photographer Rehan Jamil was granted unprecedented access to the Mosque and given free reign by the Muslim community to capture a number of revealing snapshots of everyday life, both at home and at prayer.  The long-term nature of the project enabled Rehan to earn the trust of his subjects to the extent that the camera was no longer a barrier.  The intimacy and candour of the resulting images is a testament to this, allowing a poignant and affectionate insight into both the privacy of worship and of the domestic interior.

The exhibition aims to explore notions of Muslim identity in 21st Century Britain and to raise awareness of a specific lifestyle and culture.  We believe this body of work documents a way of life and will promote a greater understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

The East End of Islam is a comprehensive educational tool for breaking down barriers and providing a platform for meaningful debate between two cultures.

More Information
Private View Rsvp:
Rehan Jamil


News: Travelling Photo Exhibition on State of World’s Refugees Opens in New York

The following news story was originally published on the UNHCR website as a news story – further information:

Travelling Photo Exhibition on State of World’s Refugees Opens in New York

Travelling photo exhibition on State of World's Refugees opens in New York

One of the photographs highlights the importance of education. It shows three young Afghan girls attending school in Pakistan, which might be difficult in some conservative areas of their homeland. © UNHCR/S.Phelps

NEW YORK, United States, June 25 (UNHCR) – A new travelling exhibition of photographs featured in a flagship UNHCR publication about refugees around the world has opened to the public at the United Nations building in New York.

The exhibit consists of 26 enlarged photos from “The State of the World’s Refugees 2012,” which was launched in New York on May 31 by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. The book, which is published every few years, explores key trends in forced displacement from 2006 to 2011. It also looks at the situation of stateless people.

The photos on display show the lives of the displaced as well as the vital and life-saving work that UNHCR conducts in the field. The exhibition, which opened last week in the UN Headquarters Visitors’ Lobby, also includes videos depicting the stories of people who are either refugees, forcibly displaced within their own country, or stateless.

The powerful images were taken by professional photographers as well as by UNHCR field staff. They show people in rural camp settings and urban areas and depict the humanity and resilience of people forced from their homes.

The photographs include the cover image from the book, a striking aerial shot of makeshift shelters on the edge of Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee complex with almost half-a-million Somali refugees. The homes look like mushrooms sprouting out of the arid red soil.

Another stunning image from the Horn of Africa, by Nansen Refugee Award laureate Alixandra Fazzina, shows a line of desperate people wading out to a boat off the coast of northern Somalia, hoping for a safe passage across the dangerous Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Only 11 people survived the journey.

A photo from Greece shows young migrants and asylum seekers looking out through the barred gate of a detention centre on the island of Lesvos. In the western Kyrgyzstan town of Osh, a woman stands in the shell of the home she was forced to flee to escape inter-ethnic violence in 2010. She has a look of sadness and resignation on her face.

A photo from a refugee camp in Pakistan highlights the importance of education; it shows three young Afghan girls attending a class in school, which might be difficult in some conservative areas of their homeland.

The exhibition also looks at UNHCR’s mandate to help the estimated 12 million stateless people in the world. An atmospheric portrait by professional photographer Greg Constantine shows a Crimean woman who was deported to Uzbekistan in 1944. In 1997, she returned to Ukraine and eventually acquired citizenship there.

“This exhibit reminds us that the plight of the world’s displaced affects every one of us,” said Udo Janz, director of the UNHCR office in New York. “International cooperation and support is imperative to improve the availability and quality of protection for the displaced and to pursue lasting solutions to their plight.”

The exhibition will run until August 7 and is expected to be shown in other cities around the world, including later this year in Geneva to coincide with an annual dialogue chaired by High Commissioner Guterres between UNHCR and its partners.

Copyright: UNHCR.

The State of the World's Refugees 2012

State of the World’s Refugees 2012

Further information on The State of the World’s Refugees 2012, the latest version of a flagship UNHCR publication looks at the challenges facing the uprooted and stateless can be found from the links below:


Exhibition: ATTACHMENTS: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates

ATTACHMENTS: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates

The Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery in the United States is currently running an exhibition entitled “ATTACHMENTS: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates” between June 15, 2012 and September 4, 2012.

Further details from the press release can be found below:

“I must have cried a bowl full of tears.”
–Chinese immigrant Lee Puey You, recalling her 20 months detained on Angel Island.

“I would also find it impossible to live in a country where all my family have been killed . . . “
–Richard Arvay, a refugee from Austria, describing why he did not want to return to there after World War II.

One came with plenty of money; another carried only a handful of belongings. One was a visitor; another was a citizen returning home. One had her papers in order; another brought false documents hoping to find a new life.

All of these men, women, and children left likenesses and traces of their journeys to America’s entry ways. Entering, leaving, or staying in America—their stories were captured in documents and photographs that were “attached” to government forms. A new National Archives exhibition, Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates draws from the millions of immigration case files in the Archives to tell a few of these stories from the 1880s through World War II. It also explores the attachment of immigrants to family and community, and the attachment of government organizations to laws that reflected certain beliefs about immigrants and citizenship. These are dramatic tales of joy and disappointment, opportunity and discrimination, deceit and honesty.

Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates is free and open to the public, and will be on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, through September 4, 2012.

Further Information:

See also an associated news story entitled “National Archives exhibit on immigration features Cleveland-area Holocaust survivor.”

Event: Refugee Stories Exhibition

World City: Refugee Stories

*** Apologies for Cross-Posting ***

Dear Colleagues,

For the past two years, I have been working with a team of curators on an exhibition celebrating the lives of refugees in the UK. The exhibition, World City: Refugee Stories will preview on 19 June at the Jewish Museum London (Camden Town) at 6pm and will be followed by a panel discussion at 7pm. The event will also introduce two student ambassadors, Rita, a young woman who fled Sudan with her Eritrean mother and is now a sabbatical officer at Kingston University; and Kamil, an Ahwazi Arab who fled Iran following attacks on his family and who, in addition to his studies, is now leading a human rights campaign to raise awareness of the abuses against the Ahwazi minority.  Additional events have been organised throughout the summer.  The exhibition will run until 16 September. Further information is included below.

Best wishes,

Brad Blitz

 World City: Refugee Stories:  20 June – 16 September 2012

This summer, as London welcomes visitors from around the globe for the 2012 Olympics, the Jewish Museum presents the exhibition World City: Refugee Stories showing the stories of nine refugees who have come to London in very different circumstances to flee from situations where their lives were in danger. The refugees come from countries as diverse as Poland , Hungary , Czechoslovakia , Sri Lanka , Rwanda , Chile and Cameroon , and the exhibition spans nine decades, from the 1930s to the present. The refugees stories demonstrate courage and resilience, a commitment to build a new life and to make a positive difference.

Exhibition Flyer – [Exhibition flyer]

Further Information – [World City – Refugee Stories 1]

The exhibition is accompanied by a wide-ranging programme of events, including:

Protecting People – Rebuilding Lives

Tuesday 19 June 7pm

Panel discussion on the current challenges facing refugees and asylum-seekers with David Aaronovitch, columnist for The Times, Professor Brad Blitz, Kingston University London, Dr Edie Friedman, Jewish Council for Racial Equality and Roland Schilling, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Free with museum admission. Advance booking recommended.

Journeys: How Refugee Women Struggle for Justice

Thursday 28 June 7pm

Natasha Walter, author of The New Feminism and director of Women for Refugee Women, will speak alongside women who have sought asylum in the UK . Join us to discuss what should be done now to create a more just and humane world for women who are crossing borders to seek safety.

Free with museum admission. Advance booking recommended.

In partnership with JCORE and Women for Refugee Women World Jamboree – A Night of World Music and Food

Sunday 9 September 7pm

An inspiring evening of music and food from around the world celebrating Londoners diverse roots. Musicians and chefs from Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Baha’I and Christian backgrounds will come together in this special event in support of Health Poverty Action women’s health programmes.

Admission £15 Conc £12 Advance booking recommended In support of Health Poverty Action

Exhibition In partnership with Kingston University London and the Refugee Council

The Jewish Museum

Raymond Burton House

129-131 Albert Street

London NW1 7NB


Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 10am – 5pm, Fridays 10am – 2pm

Admission (including permanent galleries): £7.50, Concessions £6.50, child £3.50.  Under 5s and Friends free

Home Sweet Home Exhibition

Sample PictureAn article in The Observer newspaper on Sunday details an interesting upcoming exhibition due to take place at the House of Commons from 12 September 2011 and the the Riverside Studies from the 18 September entitled, “Home from Home”.  The exhibition has been developed by a charity, Women for Refugee Women, which describes the exhibition as :

the show is not about individual asylum cases but about the “importance of letting people know how difficult circumstances are for these women. The vast majority who come to this group have fled serious human rights abuses, including sexual violence, ethnic and political persecution. They are traumatised by the loss of their homes and families. And what is so awful about their experiences here is that the struggle to find asylum can traumatise them all over again; they have to negotiate a very complex system, and however real their persecution, they are very often disbelieved.”

Further details and a selection of the photographs can be found in the Guardian articles at :

Asylum life: the trials of women refugees, through their own eyes

Asylum life: the daily struggles of women refugees – in pictures

Sample Image“Home Sweet Home” can be seen at the House of Commons from 12 September by prior arrangement (email for details) and at Riverside Studios, London W6 from 18 September

From Congo With Love


From Congo With Love (copyright: Rogan / Oxfam)

An exhibition by the portrait photographer Rankin entitled From Congo with Love is currently featuring in a large exhibition being held at London’s South Bank.  The exhibition has been develope din conjunction with Oxfam and displays “images and stories exploring romantic love, love lost, mother’s love and the kindness of strangers, as well as photos taken by Congolese villagers with Rankin’s guidance, providing an extraordinary insight into their everyday life.”  There is also a book to accompany the exhibtion entitled `We Are Congo’ which is available to purchase online.

Image Copyright: Rankin / Oxfam.