In Our Park: The project that celebrates migrants and refugees

BBC Culture also produced this infographic highlighting immigration across the UK “I have an immigration question,” asks Madlen Lopez, 21, a Californian, who spoke to BBC Culture on Saturday morning, in the south-west London…

In Our Park: The project that celebrates migrants and refugees

BBC Culture also produced this infographic highlighting immigration across the UK

“I have an immigration question,” asks Madlen Lopez, 21, a Californian, who spoke to BBC Culture on Saturday morning, in the south-west London park where she volunteers for a multi-cultural community organisation.

“There’s these stereotypes about immigrants and they’re not true,” said Lopez.

“People just assume we’re freeloaders, that we don’t pay for things.

“There are people in the community who are really worried about losing their jobs, who are worried about a lack of opportunity.

“I’m very American, my family came here over 100 years ago and we did the same. I want to try and be part of making it the right place to be,” she added.

Lopez is one of a record 12,000 people who have taken part in the In Our Park project since it was launched three years ago.

It is a flagship initiative of project Globalise Your Space, which celebrates the many ways that people of diverse backgrounds can meet together, learn and grow.

Highlights of this week’s programme include Christine and the Queens opening the Prêt à Manger UK store.

And we meet Hella Raschin, a woman from Berlin who teaches English as a foreign language to refugees and migrants, working at a new centre for English skills in a small town near Calais.

There was also art display at the project’s opening, celebrating the contribution of people from all over the world to Britain, with an exhibition of a selection of multi-cultural sculptures and works.

‘We’re not immigrants but refugees’

After the exhibition, the celebration went to Angel tube station, where “these are refugee artists”, says Jan Kacal, an Estonian who arrived in London in 1972 and is a composer for film, theatre and dance.

Kacal spoke to BBC Culture about the artists who created a show titled “Heroes From Our Portfolio”.

A central symbol of the project is a steel sculpture called “Hella Raschin … Exiles from Europe”, by Hussein Ershag.

It is a tribute to the countless migrants who have died trying to get to the UK.

Ershag said: “The show really says something that has stayed with me, that refugees and migrants are not just immigrants, they are the descendants of those who arrived to our countries,” he says.

“We are not immigrants but refugees,” he adds.

“When you hear the words refugees, you think of people fleeing to search for new freedoms and that is something our museum tried to present.”

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