Photo stunt with a temporary art installation using one hundred pairs of shoes in recognition of the challenges faced by people forced to flee set to take place at 10am on Saturday the 17th of September at the Buchanan Street Steps in Glasgow
Scottish civil society organisations are joining together to send a powerful message from Scotland ahead of two critical global summits on migration.
The organisations will partner with artist Birthe Jorgensen on Saturday morning to set up a striking temporary art installation in Glasgow city centre.
One hundred pairs of used female and male shoes will be placed on a short stretch of Buchanan Street in an attempt to slow down passers-by and urge them to consider their relationship to unknown others. This installation re-imagines Jorgensen’s powerful work “100” originally shown as part of the exhibition “Hosts and Visitors” that recently ended at Glasgow’s Reid Gallery (9 Jul - 21 Aug 2016).
The stunt takes place just two days before the first ever UN Summit in New York on migration and President Obama’s summit on the global refugee crisis, and aims to raise awareness in Scotland of the opportunity the summit offers for greater international action in support of refugees. Activities to raise awareness of the summits are happening around the world this weekend.
The surge in refugee numbers in recent years has sparked an enormous outpouring of empathy and concern in Scotland. There has been cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament and amongst local authorities for resettling refugees in Scotland. But many more people remain at risk. Forced to flee widespread violence in their home countries, millions of men, women and children risk their lives and experience severe trauma and suffering as they desperately try to reach a place of safety.
Amnesty International, Oxfam Scotland, Refuweegee, Save the Children, Show Racism the Red Card and the Scottish Refugee Council hope Saturday’s stunt will send the message that ‘Scotland Welcomes Refugees’.
Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The world is in the middle of the most serious refugee crisis since records began. More than 65 million people have been forced to flee their homes by terrifying conflict and violence, millions more by natural disaster and poverty. Scotland has shown welcome solidarity to date, but there is no single solution and no one country can tackle it alone.
“The two major meetings in New York next week provide an opportunity for world leaders to take action to improve the lives of millions of people fleeing conflict, disaster and poverty.”
Selina Hales, Refuweegee Director, said: "People in Glasgow have responded to the continued forcible displacement of people in the friendliest and most welcoming way. From writing beautiful welcome letters to sharing stories at community events, it is clear that Glasgow welcomes refugees.
“However, we are under no illusion that this is enough. We, along with many other organisations and individuals want the UK Government to commit to providing safe passage to the UK. We want the Government to work internationally and tirelessly to solve the current situation so many people find themselves in."
Nicola Hay, Campaign Manager for Show Racism the Red Card said: "In 2015, nearly 90 000 unaccompanied children sought refuge in Europe, while 3% sought safety in Britain. The UK Government promised to welcome 3000 young people who have been displaced by harrowing conflict and unspeakable human rights abuses. This promise was not met. Show Racism the Red Card sees the UN General Assembly Summit of Refugees and Migrants as a moment that will define our humanity and we call on leaders to show commitment and provide a workable solution to this humanitarian crisis."