Winter Light Festival (2019)

For the first time in Krakow, we organised a festival dedicated to the cause of refugees in Novemeber 2019 called the Winter Light Festival which highlighted the role of the arts in raising awareness and inspiring thought and reflection. The participants who took part in this unique event had the opportunity to show solidarity with refugees, get to know more about their lives, their stories and find ways to raise awareness about them and, of course, help them.

The Festival began with a lecture and lively discussion session about the psychology of the refugee situation led by Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran. It was then followed by the legal anthropology of the refugee situation in the detention centres in Poland, led by Dr. Przemyslaw Tacik. Later, a powerful film called Lampedusa in Winter directed Jackal Brossmann was screened. The following day saw the first performance by the Phoenix Theatre Company of Beyond: The Journey, led by Marta Kontny and Michael Thomas. The performance included a series of powerful monologues, originally written, giving voice to the individual stories of refugees.

We had also organised workshops led by specialists on how to communicate about refugees through art and drama! The latter encouraged those involved to meaningfully walk in the shoes of refugees- perspective-taking. The highlight of the workshop was the ‘Letters of Solidarity’ event, where people come shared their messages of solidarity to refugees and these messages were translated into Farsi, Arabic, French and Urdu by locals who live in Krakow. More than 100 messages were written, cards were made to be sent to refugees living in the Greek islands.

The finale included a wonderful concert at Klub Alchemia by 4 local artists – BalkanArtz, Dominik Plebanek, Imad Fares and Sawak. Everybody who either took part were swept along by the passion and engagement of everyone involved. Erasmus students of psychology also volunteered to help out at the event. The community came together to put on a brilliant show and joined in solidarity to RethinkRefugees