Embroidered bag made in Trogir, near Split, Courtesy of The Higgins Bedford

The Higgins Bedford is hosting free online events inspired by the theme ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’

Refugee Week is a nationwide initiative that celebrates the contributions of refugees to the UK and encourages better understanding between communities.

The initiative is an invitation to extend your hand to someone who is outside your current circle, has had an experience you haven’t, or is fighting for a cause you aren’t yet involved in.

The challenges of the past year have exposed deep inequalities, including in housing, income and access to healthcare. But the pandemic has also shown how interconnected each of us are.

The Higgins Knitting and Crochet Group began as part of Refugee Week two years ago. This year, it is inviting crafters to join them on Zoom to knit or crochet a square that can be made into blankets and distributed to refugee families.

The event will take place on Tuesday 15 June from 11am – 3pm.

Later in the week, curator and art historian Leila Mehulić, is leading a creative virtual workshop to create a version of Boîte-en-valise (box in a suitcase), a work by Marcel Duchamp that was dedicated to Walter Benjamin, a famous philosopher and refugee.

As well as using objects from The Higgins Bedford collections, members of the public can add their own objects and photographs from their homelands to the artwork. The event will run on Thursday 17 June from 2pm – 3:30pm.

To register your interest and join in these events, please email gemma.hutton@bedford.gov.uk.

Councillor Doug McMurdo, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said:

“Refugee Week is a chance to hear the experiences of those who have sought sanctuary in the UK and connect with their story.

“The Higgins Bedford have long supported Refugee Week, and this year is no different. With two great activities planned, why not sign up to join in with one of the virtual events being held by The Higgins Bedford?”

Other local organisations are also celebrating Refugee Week. St. Paul’s Church is hosting an installation of creative pieces made by local schools and community groups, including a display by The Higgins Bedford’s monthly Craft Club group.

Members of the public are invited to take a quiet and reflective walk around the Church to view the installations from 14 – 19 June. Visit www.stpaulschurchbedford.org.uk to find out more.

BRASS (Bedfordshire Refugee & Asylum Seeker Support) is running an awareness raising market stall in the town centre on Wednesday 16 June.

BRASS has for many previous years run a football tournament during refugee week, but has decided best to postpone it to a later date due to the COVID surge. Visit www.brassbedford.org.uk to find out more.

Knitted Squares, Courtesy of The Higgins Bedford