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Sanctuary in Arts Awards

In partnership with Counterpoints Arts we have launched the Sanctuary in Arts Awards to celebrate the commitment of arts organisations to the vision of welcome and celebration of refugees.  Counterpoints Arts are national leaders in the field of arts, migration and social change. Their mission is to support and produce the arts by and about migrants and refugees, seeking to ensure that their contributions are recognised and welcomed within British arts, history and culture.

Core Processes

The Core Processes established for Sanctuary Awards are:

  • Learn: find out what it means to be seeking sanctuary; and be actively involved in awareness raising.
  • Embed: take positive action to make welcome and inclusion part of the values of your organisation or community, to support sanctuary seekers and refugees, and to include them in your activities.
  • Share your vision and achievements: let others know about the positive contribution refugees make to our society and the benefits of a welcoming culture to everyone.

The first Theatre of Sanctuary was West Yorkshire Playhouse. Many other arts organisations and venues are interested in following their lead, including arts studios and museums.

To address the growing interest and encourage greater participation in the sanctuary movement, we have worked with Counterpoints Arts to develop a simple Arts Sanctuary Award Application  form and set of criteria that apply our core principles into the arts and cultural context. The form is intended to be used as a prompt for further conversations and thinking about how the gesture of becoming an arts venue / space / festival of sanctuary can be linked to a range of meaningful actions and commitments.

How to apply for a Sanctuary Award

Any organisation in the UK can apply. There is no fee.

Discuss the Core Processes (above) and the Application Form requirements with colleagues and stakeholders and consider what work you need to undertake to meet them.

Contact your local City Of Sanctuary group to express your interest and pledge your support to the City of Sanctuary Charter. The local group or regional organiser will then set up a recognition/ appraisal team which will include an arts expert and a refugee. This team will wish to see supporting evidence to verify the application. The application form is flexible and aimed at arts organisations and can be adapted to suit the unique nature of the organisation and its unique creativity or purpose.  It should include:

  • The actions taken to promote a culture of sanctuary within the organisation.
  • The plans to make this an ongoing and sustainable endeavour.
  • The organisation’s plans to make its services more accessible for refugees and asylum seekers.
  • The commitment of the community of the organisation (including staff in all areas e.g. artists, actors and producers, curators, patrons, audience, client representatives etc.) to promoting sanctuary at all levels of  its life.
  • The plans to take the concept of becoming an arts organisation of sanctuary to other similar organisations and partners within the world of culture and the arts.

The evidence will then be evaluated by a group including trustees, local and national City of Sanctuary representatives and refugees. Suggestions may be made as a result of this evaluation. The award will be made at a mutually agreed public forum and displayed in a public place such as the reception or foyer. It will then be reviewed at agreed intervals.

Contact your local group and / or [email protected] for more information about Sanctuary Awards.