Speaker Series begins at PumpHouse as part of Exhibition Refuge Canada

The first of three virtual speaker events will take place tonight at Kingston PumpHouse in a series called “Refugees Welcome: Refuge Canada Speaker Series.”

The series is intended to give residents the opportunity to hear from community members who have first-hand experience as refugees and help locate and publicize the current exhibit at PumpHouse.

Heritage Services Program Coordinator Keely Maddock says the exhibit brings a focus on questioning whether Canada’s response to refugees is something to be proud of.

She says that many Canadians often feel that the country has shown strong support for refugees and are surprised to find that it is often not reality, and the current exhibition explores that.

The speaker series, Maddock says, explores the refugee experience at the local level.

She says she hopes the series will help residents recognize the role they can play in supporting the lives of resettled community members.

“I guess I want to train attendees to take an active role in supporting their local communities as newcomers are resettled,” Maddock said.

“So I really want to draw attention to that work, but also to help people feel that they can play a role and actively contribute to that change.”

Maddock says the speakers’ events will have two parts, the first will be hearing a story from a local resident who came to Canada as a refugee and then a second part aimed at activating and raising awareness.

He particularly highlighted the art activation event led by Virginia Jahyu on September 23, where audience members will participate in a virtual collaborative project sharing messages of support that will later evolve into a public art project at Douglas Fluhrer Park.

Thursday night’s speaker’s event features Jamal Saeed, a published writer sharing the story of his journey from Syria, followed by an activity with Kingston poet laureate Jason Heroux.

On September 23 he features local artist Houssam Alloum, who recently received the Kingston Prize for his painting, “Joyce,” and will reflect on art as part of his journey.

The third speaker event is a live question and answer presented by a community organization called Sanctuary that sponsors refugees.

The Refuge Canada exhibit that was created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

PumpHouse becomes the second Ontario museum to host the exhibit, and will run through November 20.

Record It’s free for the speaker series, but attendees are encouraged to donate to an organization that supports refugees.


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