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20 Welcomes – Swindon Schools Poetry Project

We're pleased to be able to share our new film with you! It documents a schools poetry project to celebrate 20 years of Refugee Week in 2018 and explores and expresses how we welcome people to our communities.

This is a shorter version of the film, but we encourage you to watch the full 16 min film which is available from Swindon Viewpoint by clicking this link: 20 Welcomes full film - Vimeo Please help us spread the message of welcome by sharing this film!

20 Welcomes

Today is World Refugee Day and this week is Refugee Week, a national arts festival celebrating the contribution that refugees make to the UK. To mark it we're sharing a video we made with Viewpoint Community Media and local school children, exploring through poetry how we express welcome.

Here is a shortened version, if you would like to view the full film you can do so here -

We hope you enjoy the film! Please give it a like and share to spread the message of welcome across Swindon and beyond.

Posted by Swindon City of Sanctuary on Thursday, 20 June 2019

The Project

With funding from South Swindon Parish Council, Twenty Welcomes was created.  This innovative poetry project, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Refugee Week,  and captured on film, brought together twenty young people, a film-maker, a poet, City of Sanctuary staff, people new to Swindon and people who’ve lived in Swindon for years.

A huge thank you to the following schools for taking part: East Wichel Primary School, Drove Primary School, Lydiard Park Academy, Commonweal School, and Royal Wootton Bassett Academy.

The Young People

Over three days, the creative youngsters from five primary and secondary schools in and around Swindon – who between them speak more than ten different languages – explored, expressed and performed their thoughts and ideas about the true meaning of ‘welcome’; all captured and crafted into a short documentary by film-maker, Florence Pellacani.

With poet, Hilda Sheehan, they shaped their words into a poem showing Swindon’s culture of welcome and embracing aspects of our town’s rich history and global diversity.  The finished poem extends “a welcome to everyone as equal valued members of the …community.” (Adapted from City of Sanctuary Schools’ Resource Pack)

What’s happened since?

Since September, these twenty innovative young people have been working in their own schools using their documentary to inspire their peers and teachers to spread the message of welcome.

Then in January 2019, we held a screening of the full film in front of a full house at Swindon Arts Centre with a Q&A afterwards with some of the wonderful students who took part, interviewed by local poet Tony Hiller and a speech given by Swindon's Mayor Junab Ali.

Thank you to everyone who supported this project, especially our funders South Swindon Parish Council!  This Project has also been made possible thanks to: Swindon ViewPoint, Voluntary Action Swindon, Swindon Arts Centre, Criss Cross Films.