Refugee Tales project reaches school students in lockdown

The Refugee Tales project recently notched up another success. Since 2015, Refugee Tales has enriched the national conversation about migration and the situation of refugees. Inspired by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the project shares the stories of people who have experienced indefinite detention in the UK. Stories are told either as first-person testimonies, or as co-productions with established writers, and are performed as part of large-scale public walks across southern England. Three volumes of Refugee Tales have been published, with another volume due in July this year. Each volume takes us into the dark world of the UK’s detention system, giving detainees the chance to have their story heard, and helping the British public learn more about a shadowy and oft-forgotten public institution. All proceeds go to refugee charities.

With students in lockdown, teachers have had to find creative ways to engage their students online. The Refugee Tales are uniquely engaging texts about life in modern Britain, and are now the subject of a unit of work for Key Stage 3 produced by the Oak Academy. The Oak Academy is an online-only school, founded in April 2020 to provide interactive lessons for students and teachers to use for home learning. Its new unit on Refugee Tales gives students fresh insights into the global refugee crisis, the UK’s immigration system, and the power of storytelling to shape our understanding of the world.

Once again, Refugee Tales has found a new audience for these important stories.

Watch Dr Juha Virtanen and Professor David Herd discuss the topic here.