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Migrant Futurism: Kenmure Street

Sun 25 Jun 2023, 1.30pm
Part of Refugee Week
Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer
Talks & debates
Audience sitting at  a talk

This panel brings together community activists and organisers to reflect on the power of the Kenmure Street protest, two years on.

The panel features Mohammad Asif and Pinar Aksu, who were active throughout the day, alongside Sami, an organiser in the anti-raids network. It’s moderated by film-maker, activist and founder/director of Radical Ecology, Ashish Ghadiali.

On the morning of 13 May 2021, UK immigration officials conducted a dawn raid in Glasgow Southside’s Kenmure Street, detaining two Indian nationals in a Home Office van, only to be met by an organised response from members of the local community who surrounded the vehicle.

What unfolded was an eight-hour grassroots protest, animated by the spontaneous chant, ‘These are our neighbours, let them go.’

The action, which took place during Eid in one of Scotland’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, resulted in the release of the two men, and was celebrated as a symbol of hope and solidarity in the face of the UK government’s ‘hostile environment’.

How did it come about? Why was it so effective? What happened after the cameras had gone away? And what can activists and communities learn from the anti-raids movement about organising in response to the Illegal Migration Bill.

Mohammad Asif is director of the Scotland-based Afghan Human Rights Foundation.

Pinar Aksu is a campaigner and development officer at the Maryhill Integration Network which works across Glasgow to facilitate connection between refugees, migrants and settled inhabitants of the city.

This event is part of the launch of Migrant Futurism, a long-term curatorial strand of research and public programming led by Radical Ecology, in collaboration with Counterpoints Arts and the Southbank Centre.

Migrant Futurism interrogates cultural strategies, in the context of displacement, for the imagination of just and sustainable futures.

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 12+

Dates & times

Sun 25 Jun 2023, 1.30pm
Approximate run time: 1 hour.
Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


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