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 Socially engaged art, art therapy and  training 

Art Refuge has had a presence in the UK since the charity was founded in 2006.

With its base in Bristol, we have started to expand our work into the surrounding counties and other parts of the UK, namely Kent, London and through our online groups which reach people across the UK and much further afield.

From Calais to the UK

Two films about crossing the English Channel 

This year, Art Refuge has collaborated with Young Roots and their youth service on making a series of stop-frame animations. Led by Tony Gammidge and Majid Adin.  You can see a collection of videos below.

The Community Table 

Folkestone, Kent

The Community Table

Since Autumn 2020, Art Refuge has been working in local community spaces in Folkestone, Kent, supporting men recently arrived in the UK and temporarily housed at Napier Barracks. Artist Aida Silvestri, whose origins are in Eritrea, has become a core member of the team, also leading on our photography workshops for young people in collaboration with Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN).


Our weekly Folkestone project uses The Community Table model - originally developed by Art Refuge in Calais to welcome those who find themselves displaced - alongside volunteers, local staff, interpreters and visitors - to sit around a table and share spaces through art making.

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HOST - Hundreds of Small Tails

UK and France


Photography credit to Phoebe, Foster Carer and ROUTES/HERE group member. 

Hundreds Of Small Tails - is a collection of small plasticine creatures made during Art Refuge sessions in and around Calais, Kent and King's Cross from 2015 onwards. These creatures have been made by displaced people in moments of absorption and connection with others despite precarious and sometimes dangerous living conditions as they seek lives free from war, oppression and other forms of political violence.

Hundreds of little creatures, people, vehicles and objects of the every day have been cared for by the team and have made their way back and forth across the English Channel to regular art making spaces, where their calls have inspired visual responses, and so the number of creatures has grown…

HOST was first exhibited by one of the team, Aida Silvestri, at the Folkestone Fringe in 2021, where the creatures were taken in and looked after by shopkeepers across the town at the physical English border, displayed in windows for the town’s inhabitants to notice, take interest in and start new dialogues on displacement and resilience. 

Around this event, throughout much of the pandemic, Art Refuge formed an online support group called ROUTES/HERE for foster carers, key-workers, supported lodgings hosts and advocates who were living and working in Bristol and the surrounding counties. This group decided to invite HOST to the South West, and so, through simple acts of hospitality the creatures are being welcomed into the homes and workplaces of the ROUTES/HERE group, and their networks. Throughout the Bristol Refugee Festival the opportunity to offer a place for one of these creatures will be extended to members of the public, all of which will be documented here in the coming weeks and months….Watch this space as we grow our network and collective acts of hospitality!


You can follow the story of HOST by following our Instagram - @artrefuge_host 



Bristol and Surrounding

An online support group for those who support and care for young, displaced individuals. 

ROUTES/HERE; an online support group for foster carers, supported lodgings hosts, advocates and key workers. Their work that supports, cares, guides and learns from young people who have reached safety in the UK from Eritrea, Sudan, Afghanstan, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Syria and Kurdistan.


Inspired by conversations with the network around our art and art therapy groups with young refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol (2017-2021).


The group in its original format came to a close at the end of 2021, as the group wanted to change the direction and investment of their energies to a political-art project in response to feelings of hopelessness surrounding the fall of Kabul and the introduction of the Nationality and Borders Bill

to Parliament. 

Led by Bristol lead, Sarah Robinson and local Intercultural Trainer and foster carer,

Alison Clarkson Webb.


Invited by North Somerset Council and Curo Group, this open-access photography group is for young people in North Somerset who have experiences of seeking asylum in the UK. The weekly photography groups include a range of photographic processes alongside the use of other art materials and media, and focus on physical, geographical and psychological orientation, including walks using photography, found objects and mapping. As the core component for the group, photography offers opportunities for expressive freedom, playfulness and a sense of agency over the telling of individual and collective stories. 

We Are Here: Photography Group for Young People

North Somerset
Autumn/Winter 2021