CSB Refugee Week Festival 2022

We Are Birmingham 2022 – Self Portraits Exhibition Launch

Saturday 18th June – 12-2pm

Library of Birmingham - Address: Centenary Sq, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA

We Are Birmingham 2022 – Self Portraits Exhibition

In partnership with photographer Brian Homer of ‘Handsworth Self Portrait’ project dating back to 1979. 

We invited people from all backgrounds, across the city, to document themselves with self portraits, done in the style of Brian’s famous ‘Handsworth Self Portrait’ project.  The project was part of CSB's We Are Birmingham 2022 campaign which reflects the diversity of Birmingham in 2022 giving visibility to our refugee and migrant communities.

We are Birmingham 2022 - Self Portraits Exhibition

18th June - 18th July

More Information here

20 Years of Birmingham Refugee Week - Launch

The Refugee Week Festival happens each year in June, celebrating the contribution and resilience of refugees in the UK, and sharing their stories, campaigns and culture. CSB  has run a World Music and Arts Festival for Refugee Week since 2002 making this our 20th Year!

To celebrate our 20th Anniversary our programme was as follows;

Presentations and introductions

Spoken Word

from Ahmed Magare (Somali born artist, poet and spoken word artist)

For our 20th Anniversary Ahmed was commissioned by CSB to write a new spoken word piece which he performed for the launch of this year’s Refugee Week festival.

Spoken Word

from Stories of Hope and Home -  a story-telling project offering Asylum Seekers and Refugees a space to share their stories and others a space to hear them. 

Live Music!

from Niwel Tsumbu & Didier Kisala (DR Congo), 1pm

Niwel Tsumbu & Didier Kisala cam together for a collaboration to launch our Refugee Week programme. Niwel and Didier have a long standing friendship going back to their youth in Congo and their performances present a combination of styles and experiences, reflecting their shared culture, stories and memories.

Refugee Week Takeover at Symphony Hall

Address: Centenary Sq, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA

Saturday 18 th June 10-6pm

CSB took over Birmingham's iconic and much loved Symphony Hall 

Highlights from Refugee Week 2022 at the Symphony Hall

Journey to Safety photography exhibition, 10-5pm

In partnership with the Aston University Centre for Migration & Displacement. 

Exploring spaces and places of reception and support along the ‘Balkan Route’, this exhibition challenges the myth of the simple journey, instead highlighting the dangers and struggles faced by displaced people as they seek safety in Europe.

We also had Steve Tchoumba (Cameroon) hosting a drumming display and workshop 2 – 2.45pm; plus crafts, information stalls and arts and cultural activities throughout the day.


Live Music from around the world, 3-6pm

Jennifer Blackwell Space

A musical extravaganza featuring top acts from around the world, presenting a line up of local, national and international artists representing music and cultures from different parts of the globe;

  • Traditional Gnawa (sacred trance) from Simo Lagwawi and Gnawa Blues Allstars (Morocco)
  • Roma (Gypsy) songs from Julia Kozakova (Slovakia)
  • Traditional Sudanese sounds from Hassan Salih Nour (Sudan)
  • Eastern European music from Karolina Wegrzyn (Poland)
  • Soulful Sudanese rhythms from Ebo Krdum

Hosted in partnership with B:Music.

Celebrating Sanctuary 20 Years of Birmingham Refugee Week - Ikon Gallery partnership

Sunday 19th June 4-5pm

Kadialy Kouyate Trio

Yorks Cafe, Ikon Gallery: 1 Oozells St, Birmingham B1 2HS

Kadialy Kouyate (Senegal)

Descended from a great line of griots dating back to the 13th century.  Kadialy’s kora playing and singing style have been appreciated in many ensembles and institutions, enriching the London music scene with his griot legacy. Performing with his trio of bass, percussion and kora, Kadialy draws on his heritage and its traditional songs to create his own mesmerising compositions.

Highlights from Refugee Week 2022 at the MAC

20 Years of Birmingham Refugee Week - MAC Summer Series

Address: Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH

Hope, Determination and Song by Anna Mudeka

Thursday 23rd June, 8pm 

Zimbabwean born singer, musician and storyteller Anna Mudeka tells the remarkable life story of an iconic South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist. Chronicling a life blighted by hardship, tragedy and struggle, Hope, Determination and Song features many best loved songs including Mbube, Pata Pata and Soweto Blues, songs which embody an irrepressible spirit and integrity and which earned her legendary status. Script by Zimbabwean writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and Directed by Tonia Daley-Campbell.


20 years of Birmingham Refugee Week Festival Family Event In Partnership with Mac

Saturday 25th June 1-4.30pm

Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham's Refugee Week Festival happens each year in June, celebrating the contribution and resilience of refugees in the UK, and sharing their stories and campaigns.  It was an exciting afternoon of music with performances by top musicians from around the world.

  • Seikou Susso (Gambia)
  • Muha (Ukraine, Latvia, UK)
  • Los Musicos (Columbia)
  • Didier Kisala & The Redeemed (DRCongo)
  • Also spoken word, community performances and presentations.


Samer Rashed & Surge: Tales of the Gypsy Jazz In Partnership with Surge Forward

Saturday 25 June 2022

Mac Outdoor Arena 7:30pm

Following on from their sold out show at Centrala in 2019 acclaimed Palestinian viola player and composer Samer Rashed returned to Birmingham with his band to perform “Tales of the Gypsy Jazz”. This is his second album that follows his unique path of putting the viola at the centre of his work. For this speical event,  Samer and his band were joined by musicians from Surge Orchestra, re-imagining his music with some of Birmingham's finest players including Alex Polack, Katie Stevens, Ruth Angell and Xhosa Cole.

This event was presented by Surge Forward Music and Arts in partnership with Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham as part of Refugee Week Festival 2022

Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham

2022 is the 20th Anniversary of CSB and the Refugee Week Festival in Birmingham.  To mark the occasion we’ve launched a year long program called We Are Birmingham 2022, where we’ll reflect on and showcase 20 years of diversity and culture in Birmingham's Music and Arts Scene. 

To find out more about We Are Birmingham 2022, please click here.

Celebrating Sanctuary is supported by

Arts Council England & National Lottery Heritage Fund