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June 3, 2021

University of Kent to participate in travelling festival of hope

The University of Kent is to host a UK leg of an 8,000km travelling festival taking place to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees.

The University of Kent is delighted to have been chosen by the Good Chance Theatre to host The Walk, a festival of art and hope which includes a 3.5m tall puppet of a young refugee girl – Little Amal – designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company, the world-famous creators of War Horse.

Little Amal is setting off from Turkey’s Syrian border in July and then will travel through Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium, before arriving at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus for a series of special events on Thursday 21st October 2021.

Professor David Herd from the School of English comments, “It is a great honour to have been chosen to be part of this amazing event. Our leg of The Walk, and the project overall, demonstrate the power of the arts to address the situations of people who have been displaced and who, in seeking refuge find themselves marginalised and, all too frequently, detained. The Walk reminds us of the urgency of changing the narrative around human movement. The University of Kent and Refugee Tales will be delighted to welcome Amal.”

Meanwhile Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in the University of Kent’s School of Arts, says, “Migration and the movement of people are two of the major issues faced by almost every country today. We all have an obligation to not only understand but to help others understand the reasons why people are often forced or required to journey from their homelands. Through art, we can connect with the stories of others that may be different from ours and learn how to respect and honour them. I hope this event will help us realise that the plight of refugees concerns us all, and that we can and must support them through gestures of hospitality and welcome.”

The giant puppet is a figurative representation of displaced children globally, many of whom have become separated from their families. The University of Kent is the only UK university to host this project and was invited to participate in The Walk because of its reputation for and prominent role in working towards a better future for detainees and refugees.

David Sefton, Director of Culture and Creative Projects at Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi), at the University of Kent, adds, “We are looking forward to hosting what promises to be one of the most memorable events in the history of the University and the city. This is a genuinely collaborative project drawing together multiple departments on campus and working with local, national and international partners to create something genuinely momentous.”

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Content added on 3rd June 2021. 

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