Latest activity from UNESCO RILA

Issued: Tue, 02 Jun 2020 15:33:00 BST

The UNESCO Chair team have held daily half hour sessions with their many partners around the world and ensured a global perspective on the progress of the virus and different political and migrant responses to this. In particularly these virtual gatherings have involved work with arts and language.

The UNESCO RILA Spring School has been postponed until October but a Virtual Spring School was held for 40 presenters from around the world – from Australia to Mosul, Kosov to Germany, Italy to Scotland. With a strong series of talks, workshops, presentations from partners from for example Migrant Voice, Mental Health Foundation, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and from painters, song writers, linguists and theatre makers these were joyful gatherings and also gentle times for us to gather and consider the ways we are sourcing and resourcing creative work when support for arts and asylum seekers has been cut to nothing.

We have continued through MIDEQ to work with the themes of south south migration, inequality and development, and have also recently twinned a toilet in the StAB with one in our partner country of Côte d’Ivoire. At present the MIDEQ team are exploring innovative ways of decolonising the traditional literature review. New blog posts are being posted over this next month on the work of the arts and languages in the MIDEQ hub.

A new approach to the annual UNESCO RILA Refugee Cycle is in preparation – watch this space.

We have held several large online meetings of a new network working on SDG 15 and SDG5 with Morocco, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Gaza.

The Chair has delivered the University of Sanctuary lecture to over 250 for UEA. This was undertaken with her team. A recording is here:

The humanitarian disaster in the City of Glasgow with the eviction of a large number of asylum seekers from their accommodation and their forced move to hotels and guest houses, whilst their asylum payment of £37.50 was stopped completed has given the Chair clear insight into the newly emerging UK policy  and much work in supporting the many actors who are part of New Scots. This article details how this work is distilled into the arts and broadsheet media: Another life lost to an asylum system predicated on injustice

The Chair continues to engage with the Aotearoa New Zealand Government Resettlement Programme and has written a guest feature for their regular newsletter. Applications for funding and renewal have been submitted by the Chair and a new PhD studentship linked to UNESCO ART LAB has been awarded.The Chair and team have engaged closely with the development and leadership of UNESCO ART LAB drawing together many actors across the field and globe.  For more information or if you would like to become involved follow us on twitter @UofGUnescoRILA or head to our web pages at

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