Centrala has been invited to participate in the Migration Festival in Edinburgh from 16-18th June. The festival, organised for the first time by Art27, aimed to promote and celebrate the Cultural Rights and the experiences of migrants. The Art 27 is an organisation dedicated to cultural rights and took its name from Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which emphasizes the right to freely participate in the cultural life of a community.

At the festival, Alicja Kaczmarek, the Director of Centrala took part in the panel discussion and presented the work of Centrala in the area of cultural rights for migrants. The panel discussion, titled “City Making in Migration: The Impact of Brexit and Anti-immigrant Rhetoric on Eastern European People,” examined the effects of Brexit and negative rhetoric on the Eastern European community. The panel discussion included other notable speakers: Dr. Taulant Guma, a Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, and Dr. Anna Gawlewicz, a Lecturer in Public Policy and Research Methods at the University of Glasgow.

Centrala recognises the importance of cultural rights as an essential aspect of human rights and a catalyst for citizenship and democracy. Our organisation actively advocates for and promotes the cultural rights of all migrants. In the UK, implementing cultural rights for migrants presents unique challenges. Migrants are often not treated as a distinct minority group, and current measures primarily focus on diversity frameworks based on ethnicity. However, the lived experiences of migrants and their profound impact on individuals are distinct from those born in Britain, encompassing qualifications, education, and social and political capital. It is crucial to acknowledge cultural rights as something that should be granted to all individuals, including migrants and refugees, without compromising their own culture.

Centrala has been founded after the identified a gap in cultural provision for migrant communities, particularly after the significant influx of migrants following the 2004 EU enlargement. The city’s cultural offerings and programming, including Centrala’s focus on Central and Eastern European art, have been insufficient. As a response, Centrala strives to provide representation for migrants and support migrant leadership, addressing the need for greater cultural inclusivity and recognition.