I’m Sam. I have been in Bristol for around 15 years. I love living in a culturally rich and diverse city, with inspiring people and communities. It makes life both interesting, and very fun! I’ve always had a passion for foreign languages and learning about different people and cultures… This interest continues to open up doors to new worlds; art, food, traditions, music and new friends.
After working at the University of Bristol, welcoming and advising international students for a number of years, I was keen to go on my own international adventure – working in Japan, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and New Zealand, I learnt a lot!
On my return, I was excited to start with BRF, as the team administrator. I have particularly enjoyed supporting the team with its community engagement work, and coordinating the festival programme. 2023 was definitely a busy one… We started the year with the South West conference. It was brilliant to meet people from all over, and was a great opportunity for our team of refugee and asylum seeker ambassadors to influence the narrative, and share their thoughts. It brought the importance of individuals with lived experience informing our work to the forefront. The ambassador programme has been a real highlight in terms of our growth, and we have all learned a lot by working together and getting to know each other.
Last year, it felt like there was a thirst for live events again, after a couple of uncertain years. Organisers and attendees were filled with enthusiasm to support and take part in the festival. We had a record number of events in the June programme and were very excited to be able to bring Celebrating Sanctuary back to Queen Square.
So, a very happy new year from us all at BRF. Most of us are probably thinking about Spring now! We are getting ready to launch in to our next cycle of events, kicking off with a fundraiser gig on 16th Feb. We are putting on an exciting audio-visual global music show at Strange Brew; Addictive TV’s Orchestra Of Samples, featuring Bristol based Cameroonian artist Alphonse Daudet Touna (Hélélé) ‘A unique musical journey without borders, taking in Senegal, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, India and more.’ Support act is the amazing Bristol Griot. This will be a brilliant evening, find out more and get tickets here.
We also have the 2024 Festival planning meeting coming up on Thurs 29th February. Bristol Old Vic are hosting us, and we look forward to lively discussions around the Refugee Week theme ‘Our Home’, and sharing ideas for this year’s programme. Places are booking up fast, so do sign up now to reserve your spot.
As we launch in to planning the 2024 Festival Programme (June 8 – 23), we remember how important it is to spend time breaking down barriers and experiencing joy in each other’s cultures and music. Finding ways for everyone to share their cultures and skills is key. When we welcome and connect, we form stronger and happier communities.