An innovative project is coming to Bristol from 15-20 September, designed to encourage people to consider the plight of the 30,000 people locked up indefinitely every year in the UK because they lack correct immigration papers.
Many of these people are taken from communities in major cities including Bristol.
Taking place back-to-back at three locations in the city, the project aims to start a conversation about how immigration detention might be ended, by giving people the chance to step inside a phone booth and listen to voice messages from people in UK immigration detention centres.
First stop for the phone booth, on 15 and 16 September is the Broadmead Courtyard of the New Room, otherwise known as John Wesley’s Chapel, in the heart of Bristol’s shopping quarter.
Kate Rogers, Community Engagement Officer for the New Room said: “People are being invited to listen, ask a question, offer an answer, share a thought, a feeling, a memory or an idea.
“The phone box offers an uncomplicated way for people to find out more about issues that affect detainees in the UK – the only country in Europe to detain people who have committed no crime, with no time limit.
“The project also gives us the chance to meet other people in our community who want to create an alternative to a hostile immigration system, and will enable people to consider jointly what could be done to make that possible.”
Visitors can also explore other issues around detention and slavery in the New Room’s museum, open Monday to Saturday 10.30am to 4pm all year round.
On 17 September the phone booth relocates from the New Room to College Green, then on 19 and 20 September it will be at the Junction 3 library in Easton, with opening hours from 12-6pm at both locations.
The events are part of a creative project ‘The Channel’, initiated by artist Isobel Tarr, with support from Bristol Cultural Investment Fund and the Lush Charity Pot. The Channel has partnered with local charity Borderlands to hold events and workshops to follow on from the phone booth. More information can be found at thechannelproject.org
The project was developed in partnership with Right to Remain and is evolving with the advice and guidance of Freed Voices, Detention Action and countless individuals in Bristol who have been/are at risk of detention and are campaigning for change.