The Refugee Project 2024

At last year’s Dudley Holocaust Memorial event, we were commissioned by Lord Ian Austin to explore the life stories of the current refugees and migrants who have sought sanctuary and safety in our community of Dudley. 

This project, which included photographs, video interviews and paintings, culminated in an exhibition at Dudley Archives in February this year which celebrated the resilience, diversity, inclusion, togetherness and community of our local refugees. 

Dudley College Photography students worked with local art photographer, Anand Chhabra, to produce a compelling set of images, while our technician/artist, Chris Davies, made some wonderful paintings to complement the students’ work. 

Our TV and film students also conducted interviews with the refugees featured in our exhibition to explore their individual stories and investigate more deeply their sense of feeling supported and welcomed by the community of Dudley. 

Thanks to the Dudley Archives, we also researched some fascinating historical refugees who had made Dudley their home in the past and contributed to society in often very interesting cultural, artistic and scientific ways. 

Thanks to all the wonderful people and especially to the refugees who worked with us on the project, many of whom are English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students here at Dudley College. It was an amazing and often humbling experience to meet people from Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Uganda and lots of other places and learn more about their culture, experiences and traditions. 

The opening night of our exhibition at Dudley Archives in February was a huge success, with more than 100 visitors who came to see the work on display, talk to the refugees and watch the interviews conducted by our students. It was also featured in local newspaper, the Express and Star.

Chris Davies’ portrait of one particular refugee, Mansoor, was also featured in this year’s highly-acclaimed RBSA Portrait Prize exhibition, which was on show at the society’s gallery in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, recently. 

Phil Brooks, photography course tutor
Maddison Wellsbury, 2nd year photography student
Miah Bryan, 2nd year photography student 

Watch the Refugee Project film created by media students at Dudley College of Technology