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Library project celebrates refugees in St Helens

Article date - 21 June 2019

St Helens Libraries are celebrating national Refugee Week, raising awareness of the experience of refugees and asylum seekers as part of the award-winning Cultural Hubs, arts in libraries programme.
Our Warm Welcome artwork  (1) rsz.jpg
Refugee Week takes place every year around the world in the week of World Refugee Day on 20 June, marked across the UK with a collection of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the country, encourage successful integration, and enable refugees to live in safety.
 
In St Helens Borough, visitors to Moss Bank Library will have the opportunity to see the result of a unique art project led by local artists Claire Weetman and Rebecca Ainsworth. The project, which began last summer, saw people from St Helens’ refugee, asylum seeker and resettlement communities explore and interpret St Helens’ Local History and Archives, gaining insight into the place they now live.
 
A photographic exhibition of the creative, multi-layered artwork that came from the project will be on display in Moss Bank Library until 25 June, and is free to view to library-goers. Meanwhile the original artwork is on display at the drop-in café at Pocket Nook Technology Campus, run by the charity ‘Our Warm Welcome’.
 
The original artwork contains many drawers where new photographs and items can be added as refugees arrive, pass through, or settle in St Helens, further enriching the exhibit.
 
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Libraries, said:
 
“It has been our privilege in St Helens to welcome refugees and asylum seekers to the borough. This library project has created truly inspiring ways of working with the people who settle here, encouraging integration, greater understanding between our communities and showcasing the talent and creativity that refugees have brought to St Helens and the UK. Come along and see the results for yourself!”
 
Cultural Hubs is funded by Arts Council England and delivered by St Helens Council’s Library Service, which is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.