Day 18: A day of welcome, wisdom and sweet solitude

Monday 18 June – is a day full of activity and mix of poignant voices starting with the Essence of Welcome an exhibition to celebrate Refugee Week, of poetry and images from the Art and Writing Class held at the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. The class is run by top children’s author Sita Brahmachari (“Worry Angels”, “Artichoke Hearts”, winner 2011 Waterstones Children’s book prize) and illustrator Jane Ray (“Fairy Tales”, “Can You Catch a Mermaid”, “The Glassmaker’s Daughter”). The exhibition is at South Library until Saturday 23 June. Sita and Jane will be working with specially invited classes of Year 3 or Year 4 children today  to celebrate and share the refugee experience, including the contribution they make and their rich cultural experience.

6.30pm Remembering the 4000… at Finsbury Library –The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 saw thousands flee the cities of northern Spain. 4,000 refugee children arrived on British shores in May 1937. They received no government funds and were cared for by communities across Britain. This event in Refugee Week looks back at the experiences of the children and the support they received, with highlights from the Marx Memorial Libray’s archive collections and personal testimony from Herminio Martinez, one of the refugees. Join us for this fascinating talk.

7pm Words of Wisdom at 27 Dingley Place, EC1V 8BR A multitude of different local women’s voices – young and old, past and present – come together for an evening of poetry, stories and song – to share pearls of wisdom and a wealth of experiences gathered across the decades. Presented by All Change.

7pm Sweet Solitude at Free Word – What does it mean to be silent? Does it mean you have been silenced or ignored? Or can it be an active choice, the birthplace of artistic expression? Poet in the City Producers invite an eclectic array of voices from across the artistic landscape to come together in exploring creativity as a means of escaping solitude. Using silent performance, the evening will seek to investigate the societal factors that might cause a person to retreat or be rendered mute, discussing the presence of silenced language in our society and how solitude, both self-imposed and inflicted can manifest itself creatively. Join us as we turn the sound down to the volume of silence for an evening exploring the depth of what’s really being said, when we say nothing at all. Poet in the City Producers is a group of talented 16-25 year olds producing live poetry events, discussions and campaigns to ensure young people have a stake in the future of poetry.

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Word Associations … 18-24 June 2018

Refugee Week – Different Pasts Shared Future

Celebrating 20 years –18-24 June 2018 – Refugee Week is celebrated in the UK each year to coincide with World Refugee Day on 20 June.  It is a unique opportunity to celebrate the positive contributions that refugees and asylum seekers make to the UK and to promote understanding about why people seek sanctuary. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. This year the theme is Different Pasts Shared Future.

Islington refugee and migrant communities bring to the borough a wealth of culture and Refugee Week events help highlight this whilst emphasising refugee issues, and delivering positive educational messages that counter fear, ignorance and negative stereotypes of refugees, through arts, cultural and educational events.

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Free Words of the Week – 3

Broaden your lexical horizons during the festival and look out for these Free Words of the Week, just outside Free Word Centre. Take a picture and join the conversation online with #FreeWordOfTheWeek or go further by putting them on display where you work! Expect to stumble upon a unique new word each week, connected to the festival’s wellbeing themes. Head over to to find out more or sign up for weekly posters.

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Day 17: Cally Festival!

Sunday 17 June 12-6pm – Story Street (off Caledonian Road) -part of the Cally Festival, a huge one-day street party on the Caledonian Road. Presented by Word Festival’s very own poet-in-residence Paul Lyalls, Story Street will see storytelling, poetry, rap, spoken word and readings, with performances from local people and well-known poets and storytellers – including pupils from Thornhill, Copenhagen, Vittoria and St. Andrews (CofE) Primary Schools, Key Changes artists and more. Come and pull up a hay bale and enjoy the show.

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Day 16: Islington Activism – Walk

Saturday 16 June, 11am – from Islington Town Hall

Remembering the 70s and 80s. Explore the streets of Islington through stories of local activism against apartheid, for nuclear disarmament, rights for women and the LGBT+ community with a local CIGA guide.

Presented in partnership with Islington Museum and inspired by their exhibition, Fighting Apartheid: Activism in Islington,this walk introduces the main sites where activists campaigned to bring about change.

The ANC headquarters in Penton Street, bombed in 1982, were a focal point for organising the struggle. Boycotts took place at petrol stations and supermarkets in the borough, and the London Recruits, an underground activist group, had roots in Islington. Canon Collins of St Paul’s Cathedral, inspired some of the most effective fundraising for the Treason Trial Defence Fund in 1956 , and later funds for political trials and the support for dependants of activists.

The 1980s was also a key time for the nuclear disarmament campaign CND, and the Greenham Common women’s movement. Islington born Zelda Curtis ran an older women’s support group. Sisterwrite bookshop in Upper Street offered a friendly meeting point. Fundraising for the families affected by the miners’ strike of 1984 was widespread in the borough, with cash buckets outside supermarkets. The Lesbians and Gays support the Miners group, made famous in the feature film Pride, fundraised in Islington pubs and other LGBT+ activism was a feature of the 1970s and 1980s. Learn more or relive your memories on this walk, ending at the Museum where you can view the exhibition.

Click here to book.

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Day 16: Library2Library Walk – Angel Adventure

Saturday 16 June, 11am starting at South Library –  This walk through the heart of Islington ofers the chance to sing a funny song on the site of an old music hall, talk about puppets outside a charming puppet theatre, do a short nature trail and learn about an important canal. Lastly we’ll call in at a larger Theatre and look at a Well that has been there at least 350 years. Afterwards, in Spa Fields, there will be a story read about a Silver Arrow which is appropriate as we’ll also hear on the walk about a famous lady who was inspired to great works of charity when she survived being struck by a stray arrow.

Starting at 11am at South Library,115-117 Essex Rd, N1 2SL, the walk will finish at the Finsbury Library, 245, St John’s St, EC1V 4NB in time for you to join the Islington Reads archery themed story telling event in nearby Spa Fields 12:30 – 2:30pm Booking for the guided walk is essential. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Ideal for children age 7 – 11

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Day 16: Children’s Picture Books Masterclass

Saturday 16 June 10am-4pm at House of Illustration – Join award-winning children’s book writer and illustrator and regular House of Illustration tutor, Claire Alexander, for a one-day masterclass in developing words and pictures for a 0-5 children’s book.  An informal and friendly session, you’ll get great tips, learn new skills and go away with some inspiring starting points.£60 Click Here to Book

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