Virtual Spring School 2020

On 5-7 May 2020, the UNESCO RILA team hosted the Virtual Spring School 2020, a closed events for contributors of the Spring School 2020. The full event will once again be open to all in May 2021.

The event brought together 34 presenters for 21 presentations around the theme of MayDay. Below is the programme summary.

Most of these sessions will be repeated in much more elaborate form during the live Spring School (in Autumn, the spring of the southern hemisphere). Keep an eye on our Twitter feed and our News section to be the first to know when registration for that free event opens.

Virtual Spring School 2020 programme cover

Virtual Spring School 2020 programme page 1

Virtual Spring School 2020 programme page 2

Virtual Spring School 2020 programme page 3

Spring School 2020 postponed

Because of the covid-19 outbreak, we have decided to postpone the Spring School 2020: The Arts of Integrating to later in the year. The new dates will be announce on our Twitter page, on the news feed and in our newsletter. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please send an email to

Spring School 2020 - PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED!

Registration for the Spring School 2020 is now open.

Tickets are free and can be booked through our Eventbrite page

Our annual Spring School will take place from Tuesday 5 until Thursday 7 May 2020 in Heart of Scotstoun Community Centre.


Spring School 2020 front page

UNESCO RILA Spring School 2020 programme page 1

UNESCO RILA Spring School 2020 programme page 2

UNESCO RILA Spring School 2020 programme page 3

UNESCO RILA Spring School 2020 programme page 4

UNESCO RILA Spring School 2020 programme page 5

List of keynote speakers:

  • Abduljabbar Alsuhili (Borderline Offensive) - Title TBC
  • Samson Kambalu (independent artist, Ruskin School of Art and Oxford University) - Cinema and Praxis
  • Antonella Alessi (Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo “Danilo Dolci”) and June Bianchi (Bath Spa University) - ArtsTogether: Supporting integration of migrant children through intercultural arts educational strategies
  • Alison Phipps (University of Glasgow) - Masquer'aide. Covering and Recovering.

List of keynote listeners:

  • Elwira Grossman (University of Glasgow)
  • Iman Sharif (University of Glasgow
  • Lucy Cathcart-Frödén

List of contributors:

  • Pinar Aksu (Maryhill Integration Network) – Creative Approaches to Raising Awareness: The Sea of Paperwork
  • Lucy Cathcart-Frödén (Luma Words and University of Glasgow) and Rachel Morley (clinical psychologist) - Reimagining ritual
  • Becky Duncan (Open Aye) – Well-being Of the Woods: how creativity in nature enhances well-being
  • Dr Giovanna Fassetta, Esa Aldegheri and Nihaya Jaber (University of Glasgow) – This sea is mine - Arabic language taster
  • Ken Gordon (Refugee Voices Scotland) - Catching our breath - making refugee podcasts
  • Deirdre MacKenna (Cultural Documents and GRAMNet), Natalia Palombo (Many Studios), Jessica Carden and Tiffany Boyle (Mother Tongue) – Who decides what you see?
  • Dr Angela Massafra, Caroline Austin, Annette Reilly Drummond and Emily Breedon (Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow) - “Orient-ation” from “Disorient” at the Gallery of Modern Art
  • Dr Jamie Rann (University of Glasgow) with NACUSSO and Govan Community Project - Help Lines: a Collaborative Poetry Translation Workshop
  • Ilona Richards (Inverclyde Community Development Trust) and Paul Bristow (Magic Torch Comics) – Sharing Stories
  • Claudia Schneider and Joceline Berger-Kamel (wirsprechenfotografisch) – Let it be Democracy
  • Bradley Smith and Filipa Tomas (Single Shoe Productions) – In The Beginning – Storytelling workshop
  • Anne Storch and Dr Angelika Mietzner (University of Cologne) - WATCH / RELAX / REFLECT: a reply to mayday
  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh, with I.D. Campbell (painter), Dr Alaa Nabeel Hamdon (University of Mosul), Debora Kayembe (human rights lawyer) and Prof Alison Phipps (University of Glasgow) - At Risk Academic Refugees: a portrait
  • Robert McNeil, MBE (Remembering Srebrenica UK) – Art as Therapy
  • Sarah Cox (University of Glasgow) and guests - Language ecologies and linguistic repertoires
  • Steven Ritchie (Ice and Fire’s Actors for Human Rights) – Night Shelter Stories
  • Vicky Mohieddeen (theatre maker) & Sanna Al Froukh (clinical psychologist) - Theatre of Healing / Theatre of Cruelty
  • Victoria Bianchi (University of Glasgow) - Christmas cakes: A reflective space to share stories, reflections and Harisi
  • Valentina Bonizzi (artist) – Hospitalities of Love
  • Nazek Ramadan (Migrant Voice) – Feel At Home
  • Effie Samara (Red Woman Theatre and University of Glasgow) – Taxi Driver – The Exile After Levinas
  • Asha Varadharajan (Queen’s University, Canada) - The (Ab)uses of Dignity: Identity and Affect in “Refugeedom”
  • Esyllt Lewis (Glasgow School of Art) - Y Gymraeg mewn celf: art, culture and climate anxiety
  • Hyab Johannes (University of Glasgow) - Stories of refugee trafficking: 'They raped and buried my friend alive'
  • Mohamed Omar (Mental Health Foundation) - Voice and Visibility, The New Scots
  • Tesfalem Yemane (University of Leeds) - Embedded Realism? Critical examination of the EU's development aid in the 'age of migration'

UNESCO RILA Spring School 2020 - Call now closed!

The Arts of Integrating: MayDay


Tue 5 - Thu 7 May 2020
Glasgow - Scotland


We’ve borrowed language to make the international radio distress signal
The dictionary tells me that Mayday comes from the French: m’aider
English gained the word from the French speaking helpers.
Help – Hilfe - it gained from German speaking assisters.
Charity came via the Romans. 

There are ironies here. Multiple ironies. Multilingual ones.

We invite artistic, academic, artistically academic and academically artistic contributions to our third spring school which connect with this theme of ‘MayDay’- of the ‘International Radio Distress Signal’.

We are interested in proposals which…

♫         explore the ways in which the arts are used to express distress and in the questions of efficacy which are raised when artists engage in applied work or align their work with groups. Is this work exploitation or is it mutuality?

♫         address how we affirm dignity when dignity is stripped. What is the role of the arts and language and culture in dignifying human beings and their environments?

♫         explore multilingual dimensions and origins of words for ‘help’ or ‘aid’. How do we avoid sentimentalising care or aid or hospitality? We are especially keen to open out critical discussions of humanitarianism and aid to human-centred understandings of the ethics of care.

♫         provide reflections and stories from those who help and have been helped in the creation of refuge, from those who understand their stories as those as people seeking sanctuary and those who understand themselves as aligned to and connected through critical reflection and practical or artistic work to the movements of people saying ‘Refugees Welcome’.

♫         provide policy discussions of what help looks like pragmatically when delivered through services, councils, NGOs, and the absences around assistance.

♫         tell the many stories of those engaged in volunteering, art making, academic research who are ambivalent about the place of help, of ‘white saviour complex’ and humanitarianism and those who are focused on legal remedies. For more info see the Manifesto of RISE setting out guidelines for arts engagements with those seeking refuge.

Suggested duration of presentations: 

  • Workshop / panel / performance: single slot of 45 mins or double slot of 90 mins
    Session blocks through the day will be either 45 or 90 mins in length, so any proposals with a performative or workshop element should bear this in mind. This is just a guide and proposals of a longer/shorter duration will be considered. 
  • (Academic) papers / presentations: 30 mins including discussion
    If your proposal has a more academic slant then please submit as a presentation. Presentation proposals will be allotted 30 mins; we suggest 15/20 mins presentation plus 15/10 mins discussion.

Please be aware that the size of the audience will be a maximum of 80 people. If your session only works with a smaller number of people, please state this clearly in your proposal and we will try to accommodate this where we can.

Format of submission

Please send your submission to in one of the following formats:

  • Written description/abstract of maximum one side A4 (11pt Arial)
  • Link to an Audio/video recording of maximum 2 minutes

Please include the names of the people involved in your session, as well as the name(s) of the organisation(s) they are from. If you need audio-visual equipment on the day, get in touch with us to see what is available in the venue.

Deadline for submission is midnight on 13 January 2020. Proposals will be reviewed the following weeks and you will be notified of the outcome by 24 January 2020.

Fees & Expenses

The organisers cannot pay fees to those who will present at the Spring School in Glasgow. We have a very small travel budget to support a limited number of presenters. If your proposal is accepted, you will receive more information on how to apply for travel support.

Childcare: Due to the location of the event, it will not be possible to provide on-site childcare.  If you will require childcare, please get in touch with the organisers as soon as possible, to see if we can assist or partially subsidise childcare as required.

For questions, comments or to discuss your ideas, please contact Bella Hoogeveen in the UNESCO Secretariat at

Information on previous UNESCO RILA Spring Schools can be found here.

SprayPeace Banner from Spring School 2019