Refugee Week is an annual national celebration of the contribution of refugees in the UK, with a particular focus on telling the story of refugees through the arts. Organisations up and down the UK of all sizes put on events, including gigs, concerts, art exhibitions, poetry readings, and everything in between.
This year’s theme was Our Shared Future and organisations putting on events were encouraged to reflect that in their planning and publicity. The week ran from the 19th – 25th June.
IMiX came on board to lead the national media strategy for Refugee Week. As a cross-sector initiative whose central organisers, Counterpoints Arts, don’t have in-house communications resource, it was a natural project for IMiX to support.
We allocated one IMiX team member to the project and they worked closely with Counterspoints Arts, the central organisers of Refugee Week, to devise and execute a media plan.
Refugee Week was covered across a massive range of mainstream and specialist media outlets, including several firsts. The week had an estimated media reach of 47m people, a significant increase on the previous year’s reach of 7m.
National media coverage highlights included:
- A double page spread in National Geographic Kids magazine, the most read children’s magazine in the UK.
- A video package on Refugee Week produced by Press Association and syndicated across numerous national and regional news sites.
- A BBC World Service feature on refugee artists.
- The Daily Telegraph featuring Refugee Week in its Weekend Picks, encouraging its readers to ‘show solidarity’ with Refugee Week.
- Coverage in the Metro, the Guardian, the Daily Mirror, and the Sunday Times, in addition to countless regional titles.
- A feature on a Ugandan refugee and sportsman in Badminton England.
- A series of op-eds hosted on HuffPost throughout the week.
How we did it
IMiX allocated one staff member to the project from day one. They worked closely with Counterpoints Arts to understand the objectives of Refugee Week and where media coverage fitted in.
IMiX drew up a media plan which focused on case studies of human stories, drawing on themes of ‘shared futures’ – including of volunteers who have worked with refugees and love stories featuring refugees and Britons. Working with these ‘experts by experience’, equipping them to tell their stories, IMiX placed feature-style stories in various online, print and broadcast outlets.
We also provided a range of support and advice to local Refugee Week events and projects looking to carry out media work of their own – in addition to amplifying the best stories into the national media. We delivered media training to 200 people at the Refugee Week 2017 conference, created template press resources for use by local groups, and offered advice and support with local media initiatives.
Finally, IMiX provided a reactive media function, responding to enquiries from journalists interested in Refugee Week. We managed all contact with the media, writing diary notes, press releases and other materials.