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National Refugee Week marked by exhibition

We Are All Strangers poster

The University of East Anglia (UEA) and Stranger’s Hall Museum in Norwich are marking national Refugee Week (19-25 June) with an exhibition of photographs, “We Are All Strangers”, taken by residents in and around Great Yarmouth.

The pictures form part of a research project by UEA’s School of International Development aimed at better understanding the relationships between migration, inequalities and political attitudes in the UK in general and Great Yarmouth in particular.

“We asked people to take photos that convey aspects of their daily lives, such as their relationships, community and feelings of identity and place, and write words to describe them,” said Matthew Barwick, a Media and International Development MA student at UEA who led the participant photography workshop and edited the pictures. “Even though the exhibition’s called 'We Are All Strangers', it’s clear how much both migrants and non-migrants in Great Yarmouth have in common.”

The photos and descriptions are set alongside excerpts from letters written by migrants from the “Low Countries” in the 1560s and 1570s, who formed the “Strangers” community in Norwich. Together they reveal many shared joys and concerns, such as the difficulty of keeping in touch with family at home, getting to work and health worries.

“We want to celebrate and value the experiences and views of individuals and communities from different backgrounds,” said Maria Abranches, Lecturer in Social Anthropology at UEA. “We looked at the types of social, economic and political inequalities experienced by both migrants and non-migrants in their everyday lives, and how these influence their attitudes to people from different backgrounds from their own.”

The exhibition is from 10am to 4pm on Friday 23 June at the Strangers’ Hall Museum, with normal admission charges (£5 or £4.75 concessions) and includes refreshments, guided tours at 11am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm followed by Q&A sessions with project participants, academic experts and NGO representatives.