Arts for Greater Manchester Libraries Of Sanctuary

Oldham, Manchester, and Bolton library services are the only services, besides Birmingham, to have Library of Sanctuary status.  To celebrate the accreditation, Community Arts North West (CAN) with Crossing Footprints together with library services have developed two months of celebration events in Oldham, Bolton, and Manchester – forming a programme of Arts for Greater Manchester Libraries Of Sanctuary. 

Workshop by Imani Jendai at Bolton’s High Street Library, 7th March 2020 [image credit: Kooj Chuhan]

Devised by City of Sanctuary, the Libraries of Sanctuary programme ensures refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed and feel confident to borrow books, use WIFI, IT, and computers, learn new skills, and be part of a library’s calendar of events such as storytelling for children, and connect to new host communities.  Libraries are assessed on cultural sensitivity, their work to reduce the barriers of language and culture, how they work with local refugee support organisations, training given to staff and volunteers, and how they involve refugee communities in creating projects and events. Libraries are also asked to celebrate June’s Refugee Week with book displays and/or events.

The full programme of activities is summarised below, please contact each individual library for more information or check out Community Arts North West’s page for the project at

7 March 2020      Bolton High Street Library – Imani Jendai West African dance + Amani African drumming

27 March 2021    Oldham Central – Climate Connections online intro workshop

19 May                 Oldham Central – Climate Connections interim online presentation

17 July                   Manchester Central Library – SHOWCASE – Seyed Ali Jaberi

11 Sept                 Chadderton Community Library – music by Michael Cretu with Mina Salama + Kani Kamil doll making

18 Sept                 Bolton Central Library – SHOWCASE – Britannia Rumba

25 Sept                 Oldham Central Library – SHOWCASE  – Climate Connections / Voices For Action event

02 Oct                   Northmoor Community Library – workshops – Apu Chowdhury storytelling + Rabia Begum visual poetry

16 Oct                   Forum Library – workshops – Amani Creatives sub Sahara singing and percussion + Gloria Saya doll making

23 Oct                   Longsight Library – workshops – Ethiopian dance – Masresha Getahun Wondmu + Persian Percussion – Arian Sadr + Mei Yuk Wong  – Art of protest

30 Oct                   Beswick Library – workshops – West African Percussion and Dance Workshop by Imani Jendai  and Tagne Serge Tebu + Gloria Saya – doll making

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