Impressions from the Scottish Refugee Council

Members of the Scottish Refugee Council’s ‘Lest We Forget’ project share their impressions of BEFS’ Heritage & Diversity event on 9 March in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Refugee Council’s ‘Lest We Forget Project’ hugely enjoyed the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) Conference on 9 March. Our heritage researchers found the conference an interesting forum for ideas which we look forward to incorporating in our own project, researching the Belgian refugees in Scotland 100 years ago and drawing parallels with today. Below are the testimonies from some of our members, explaining what they enjoyed about the conference.

‘I loved visiting the beautiful building where the conference was held, and being at such an amazing heritage site. The conference was successful for me because I discussed with academics ideas about my life and theirs, as well as about heritage. It’s important to me to communicate with people who are local to Scotland to share my knowledge with them, and to learn from their knowledge. I was surprised when I met some people in Edinburgh who’d never met a refugee before and who didn’t have a deep understanding of the lives of refugees in the UK and Scotland. I hope to meet these people again and again and to participate in a conference like this again!’

Mourad from Syria.

‘Out trip to Edinburgh to attend BEFS heritage conference was indeed a great chance to firstly visit the incredible city of Edinburgh and secondly to learn about the very many different projects in the heritage sector. It also gave us a chance to introduce our project to a wide variety of people and to give them a chance to get to know us individually and hear our stories! The main theme of the conference I thought was about the lack of diversity in the sector and the obstacles that were to be overcome, there representatives of the different projects after introducing themselves and their work, each tried to tackle those questions that the speakers had put forward. Engaging different sects of the society and funding education were a few suggestions that came out of the discussions.

On our part we told them how we are tackling these problems in the Scottish refugee council and indeed what we are doing through the “Lest we forget” project to help and keep the community involved. Overall the conference, in my opinion, had a very positive outcome, the people there showed interest in what we do and might want to come and see our exhibition alongside the documentary we are making.’

Khosrow from Iran.

‘I think it’s fairly safe to say that we all enjoyed the BEFS event on Heritage and Diversity in Edinburgh.  The speakers all gave very interesting and engaging presentations, each with a different slant, yet unified by a commitment to helping to shape the heritage sector in Scotland.  Although presenting the LWF project and answering questions about it was quite intimidating at times, on reflection I think the whole group felt that the event was a success and that we managed to hold our own.  In addition, it was an excellent way to raise interest in our project, to network in general, and a great excuse to visit the capital.’

Anna from Scotland.

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