At Take One Action we have always made a conscious effort to make sure the stories we share and the films we champion tell and are told by a multitude of voices from around the world. While this is prominent in our feature film programme we have not explored this diversity within our curation process so the Tales of Refuge event marked an exciting development in the structure of our festival programme and allowed us to work with newly arrived refugees to build a programme that told their own story on screen.
Why the project matters
The project developed organically from an initial meeting with members of the Network who were keen to volunteer with us. Our aim was to integrate them in the festival and to allow them the opportunity to engage with Glasgow’s vibrant cultural life in a new way. We brought them in to our short film programming team and from this they decided to curate their own programme of short films to present at the Network with a conversation exploring their own experiences of exile and refuge.
Our aims was to offer share films with the public and to make sure that we had a special emphasis on the exhibition and programming of films about refugee and asylum for people who have asylum seeker, refugee or migration-related background. We noticed that there was a lack of programming like this.
Three members of the Network worked with their Volunteer Coordinator to create an hour-long reel of short films which was presented to a sold out audience of 40 people as part of the festival.
Maryhill Integration Network
N/a – film licences were secured for free and venue hire was provided by Maryhill Integration Network
The event was very successful and provided us with a way to engage with a small group of newly arrived refugees, and use film as the spark to ignite a wealth of conversation around their own experience of exile and refuge. The project grew organically from our volunteer engagement which meant that we only supported very lightly by providing the choice of films and promoting the event through our festival channels. As a result the group took great ownership and pride over the event and were able to build the discussion in a way that they felt echoed their own focus.
What didn’t work
The venue we had was too small and the event sold out within the first 2 weeks of the programme being released! We would have loved to be able to present the event in a larger space so that we could welcome a wider audience.
What you’d do differently if you did it again
We would secure a larger space for the event so that we could welcome a larger audience. It was important that the venue was at the Network so that the members felt comfortable in that space so we would want to ensure that it was still in this location but just a little bigger.
Awareness and Attitudes
The project allowed us to engage with our festival focus on migration and refugee rights to a new way, and framed from the perspective of refugees living in Scotland which was an incredibly valuable experience. By using film as the starting point we were able to spark conversations around refugees rights in Glasgow very organically, both with the team at the Maryhill Integration Network, our own volunteers and our audiences.
The programme was curated by 3 members of the network and attended by several other refugees who also attended the Networks events, as well as our usual festival audience. This diversity of experience gave a real depth to the screening and event which we would love to echo across our cinema based screenings as well in the future.
Knowledge & experience
This was an entirely new project for the team at Take One Action and we were delighted that it grew into such an engaging and valuable event. As a result we have built a strong connection with the Maryhill Integration Network which we would like to foster, and a model for programming which we can present to other integration centres for future years.