Photography by Miguel Santa Clara
Experimental timber pavilion combining art, architecture, innovative design and socially-engaged practive.
The Embassy for Refugees pavilion hosted the annual Celebrating Sanctuary London festival and held a programme of panel discussions by leading voices in humanitarian issues, music and spoken word which launched Refugee Week, June 2013.
Bernie Spain Gardens, adjacent to the Oxo Tower, on London’s iconic South Bank.
The “Embassy” concept, both celebratory and provocative, was manifested as an experimental cross-arts and interdisciplinary timber pavilion. The project forms an ongoing exploration of whether it is possible to extend the boundaries of how “refuge” and “sanctuary” is discussed, through the medium of the arts. As a highly innovative, organic structure, the Embassy for Refugees pavilion was also part of the London Festival of Architecture.
The Embassy for Refugees project will form a key case study for the Learning Lab at Counterpoints Arts, a series of workshops run in partnership with the British Council in Autumn 2013, The Learning Lab project focuses on the creative arts as a driver for social change in relation to public understandings of migration.
"Natasha Reid, weaves art practice, architecture, design, human rights advocacy and participatory methods in this deliberate re-construction of the ‘typology’ of the Embassy building.
In creating this physical hybrid, Reid questions and extends the application of ‘diplomacy’ in relation to the global realities of refugees together with humanitarian principles associated with concepts of sanctuary.
Constructed and curated in the style of the public ‘pavilion’, ‘The Embassy for Refugees’ acts as both catalyst and mediator for a range of cross-community dialogues and happenings - functioning as both participatory learning site and public provocation."
Áine O'Brien, Co-Director, Counterpoints Arts