The undeniable wonders of family life

A giant victory for the families torn apart by war and conflict.

We had seven weeks, from brief to live, to help Amnesty International change the law that prevented refugee children from living with their families in the UK.

So two days before Mothering Sunday we staged a living installation on London’s Southbank: ‘The Undeniable Wonder of Family Life’. 

The installation celebrated the joy of spending time with family, something many of us take for granted, but not all of us get to experience... specifically refugees in the UK, who are currently kept apart from their loved ones due to strict government criteria. 

We wanted to introduce the issues facing refugee families in a way that British people couldn’t help but empathise with. 

Our living installation reminded people of an undeniable truth: Everyday family life is wonderful, even the boring bits.  When we see it all from the outside, we notice it’s full of lovely little moments we take for granted. 

It was live for two days, during which 18 UK families each spent an hour just being a family in a normal living room. They got on with everyday life; watching TV, playing with toys and games, chatting and napping...ignoring the fact they were in a glass box, watched by thousands online and in person on London’s busy Southbank. 

As people stopped and stared we reminded them that these simple everyday moments are denied to refugees in the UK due to the strict and unfair rules. But that they, the British public, could help by emailing their MPs who had the power to help change those rules.

Thousands of people stopped and stared, asked questions, took leaflets. 98,530 people watched the Facebook livestream. 13,715 people were moved to email their local MPs, which exceeded the originally ambitious target. And on 16th March, an overwhelming majority of 129 MPs voted in support of the Refugee Family Reunion Bill, versus 42 against.

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