Sheffield’s Migration Matters Festival is heading online

There’s a festival which is now in its fifth year here in Sheffield, Migration Matters. We’ve covered it before, and primarily it aims to celebrate sanctuary, migration and solidarity, uniting people through music, dance, drama and spoken word. Clearly, with in the current situation events scheduled for mid-June are not going ahead as planned, but the organisers have moved online to bring us at least a part of what we would otherwise be missing. It takes place from June 15th to 20th this year. In the past events have been centred around our newest performance hub, Theatre Deli, but this year, it’s all going online. Each year it is timed to coincide with Refugee Week, which as you might expect, aims to celebrate our ability and willingness to care for refugees; something that Sheffield can be truly proud of. We became the UK’s first City of Sanctuary in 2007, and we continue to take pride in welcoming those in need of shelter and support. 

Previously the festival has welcomed the likes of Benjamin Zephaniah, Lowkey, Moonlight Benjamin and Linton Kwesi Johnson to the event. Not surprisingly, our recent mayoral superstar and keen advocate of social justice Magid Magid will be taking part this year, leading a panel discussion. Our very own poet laureate Otis Mensah will also be returning to showcase a hip-hop event and there will be live streamed gigs. Our refugee and sanctuary seeking community will also be taking part with performances and examples of their many and varied artistic talents, alongside community workshops, led by Ignite Imaginations and Maya productions. On top of all this, the University of Sheffield have commissioned three new works, especially for the event.

The festival has always been a fantastic way of bringing the people of Sheffield together, but the Covid-19 situation actually provides the opportunity of extending the invitation to the whole world to participate. Whilst events are free, to promote the maximum possible access, they are still seeking voluntary donations. Any money raised will be distributed between refugee and asylum seekers charities, South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice & Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield. 

Sam Holland, the festival’s director, told us: “The past few months have been a challenging time for so many, and those who have felt marginalised before this are feeling the impact more than anyone else. We are therefore proud and grateful to put together a programme which will inspire hope, entertain and celebrate the importance of migration even at a time when this is on hold.”

Migration Matters Festival website: www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk
Donations can be made via: https://www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk/support-the-festival

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