The council will collaborate with community groups and arts and cultural organisations to host an exciting and varied week-long programme of performances, talks, music and arts activities as part of the Somali Week Festival from October 20-29.
Home and Displacement are the themes of this year’s festival, taking place at community organisation Oxford House in Bethnal Green.
Somali Week Festival follows the launch of Coming Here, Being Here: Archiving British Somali presence in the East End of London, a community arts project funded by the council’s Somali Taskforce.
Aimed at engaging with, archiving and sharing the stories of the Somali community in Tower Hamlets, the project runs until February next year.
Arts workshops, history walks, film and photography will map the experiences and resilience and journeys of East London’s Somali community. And the project will culminate in an exhibition and celebratory event.
Community volunteers will lead aspects of the project, which also includes story telling, educational activities in schools and workshops for older people.
Chaired by Cllr Amina Ali, the task force was formed last year to support the Somali community in Tower Hamlets and give the community fair access to opportunities.
Cllr Ali said: East London and Tower Hamlets in particular has a long and established history of Somali migration and settlement in the local community.
Coming Here, Being Here: Archiving British Somali presence in the East End of London is aimed at capturing some of these experiences through film, photography and digital mapping, creating a legacy piece for generations to come.”
As part of an action plan drawn up in partnership with residents, the task force is also working on areas including education, community safety and employment, to engage and support the Somali community to prosper.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“We know from the taskforce that the Somali community in Tower Hamlets often faces significant challenges, and having undertaken this work we have put together an action plan to address this.
“I am pleased that the council is supporting this programme of events to celebrate the contribution the Somali community makes in the borough”.