How Essex and Herts has supported refugees and asylum seekers

The Unaccompanied Children of Calais by Ian Wolter, shortlisted for an art prize

The Unaccompanied Children of Calais by Ian Wolter which is outside St Mary's Church, Saffron Walden - Credit: Archant

Two free online talks organised by Anglia Ruskin University are among events taking place for Refugee Week 2021, and more than 700 schools in Essex and Cambridgeshire will be offered resources about children escaping the Spanish Civil War.

On Monday, June 14 at 7pm Dr Jeannette Baxter of Anglia Ruskin University will talk to artist Ian Wolter whose sculpture The Children of Calais is outside St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden.

Mr Wolter, an ARU Cambridge School of Art graduate, will discuss the inspiration for the artwork and how it can be used to raise awareness and provoke discussion about the refugee crisis.

On Thursday, June 17 at 7.15pm Dr Baxter and Dr Ed Packard from the University of Suffolk will talk about the Havens East project, and the story of the Basque child refugees who came to East Anglia during the Spanish Civil War.

Anglia Ruskin University's initiative called A Day of Welcome this year is inspired by the Basque child refugees.

It is set to expand from Norfolk for the first time, to cover schools in Essex and Cambridgeshire.


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Over 60,000 Norfolk school children have taken part through Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary since the 2018 launch.

The aim is to build understanding of the experiences and contributions made by refugees and asylum seekers, uncover and celebrate stories of refugee migration, and signpost Refugee Week events.

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Essex schools will receive a resource about the Basque children who sought safe haven at Theydon Bois.

Schools in Cambridgeshire will learn how volunteers worked tirelessly to house and help the Basque children.

Dr Jeannette Baxter of Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Jeannette Baxter of Anglia Ruskin University, Associate Professor in English Literature and co-lead of A Day of Welcome - Credit: ARU

Dr Jeannette Baxter, Associate Professor in English Literature at ARU and co-lead of A Day of Welcome, said: “It’s particularly exciting to extend this year’s A Day of Welcome to school communities across Essex and Cambridgeshire because both counties have long played an important role in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers.

“Our specially designed resources will offer students the chance to engage with these overlooked stories of our collective history, and help them to make connections between stories of refugee migration, past and present, local and global.”

Dr Baxter's Havens East project was an online exhibition last year for Refugee Week. It is online at https://havenseast.org/

To reserve a place at one of the free talks, please visit www.aru.ac.uk/events 

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