The 12th annual RefuFest took place on 26th – 28th of May this year at Nákladové nádraží Žižkov. RefuFest was designed to celebrate and appreciate diversity through sharing perspectives and engaging in enjoyable activities.
This intercultural festival involved food, cultural stands, musical and dance performances, traditional games, art exhibitions, a variety of workshops, dance classes, as well as the Human Library coordinated by Amnesty International.
Musicians and dancers from different cultures and genres adorned the stage located in the center of the square, generating a festive mood. Surrounding the stage were cultural booths, presenting intricate handmade products and delicacies that are unique to each country. The event satisfied the interests of all age groups, as many visitors stopped by the festival during their weekend, family outing. The programs for children included face painting, twister, beading and coloring, while workshops for adults included cooking, art therapy, activist graffiti, and traditional dance sessions.
Visitors were exposed to the perspectives of refugees through art displays, photos, and documentary screenings. The exhibition of artwork produced by refugees from a refugee camp in Greece and the photography of refugees and their journeys shared a glimpse of their experiences, perspectives, and hopes. Furthermore, visitors had access to the Human Library, hosted by Amnesty International, and were able to enjoy the opportunity to “borrow” speakers with interesting backgrounds and insights that could broaden one’s view. In small group sessions of about 20 minutes, visitors could speak to each human book, ask questions, and actively engage in discussions to openly share their views. The speakers who visited this year include LGBTI rights activist, revolution graffiti painter, Muslim immigrant, and other individuals whose encounters with various social problems can provide an eye-opening narrative for the listeners.
With great music, food, and activities, RefuFest 2017 was a huge success, allowing Prague residents to visit and immerse themselves in the vibrant displays of different cultures. On a deeper level, the festival also created a safe environment in which tolerance and care for sociopolitical issues, such as the refugee crisis, were openly discussed and encouraged.