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On Tuesday 22 June, Level 3 Performing Arts students at Lewisham College collaborated with Royal Museums Greenwich to showcase a dance and spoken word performance at Queen’s House to commemorate Windrush Day and celebrate the contributions the Windrush generation have made to society.

Windrush Day marks 73 years since Caribbean migrants arrived at Tilbury Dicks in Essex on the ship Empire Windrush to fill labour shortages created by the World Wars. Their sacrifices helped reconstruct the economy, infrastructure and the health service of Britain and brought elements of Caribbean culture to the UK.

The performance depicted the ‘Windrush Scandal’ and portrayed the moment that migrants arrived as British citizens but were not provided with documentation to prove this and were later required to verify their citizenship when laws changed, leading to deportations, loss of healthcare, housing and more.

Charlotte Paddock, Adult and Community Participation Manager at Royal Museums Greenwich said: “Royal Museums Greenwich is keen to engage with our local community and make sure that their heritage and culture is reflected in the museum.

"Working with Lewisham College has given us a chance to not only engage with the locality, but to capture the imagination of young creatives and introduce careers in heritage sectors as a professional path. We hope that this event has opened their eyes to the multitude of possibilities ahead and we look forward to future collaborations with the College.”

The performance gave students the opportunity to gain experience of performing professionally on a heritage site whilst learning about learnt about the history of the Windrush generation and the ensuing scandal. They were able to explore characters, capturing the excitement, fear and disappointment felt by these migrants on their journey from the Caribbean to England.

Athena Rose, Level 3 Performing Arts student said: “Taking part in this event helped bring to life the lives of the Windrush generation and their emotions throughout their voyage to the UK. This opportunity helped me become more adaptable and made me look outside my own bubble of experience, which has helped me grow as a performer and as a person.”

The spoken word piece was inspired by the artwork ‘Whose Government’ by Deanio X and Nathan Bowen, which shows the ship Empire Windrush approaching British shores and being met with hostility from the Home Office. Students decoded this into a spoken word narrative, which was also performed at the event.

Find out more about Windrush Day on the Windrush Foundation website.

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Lewisham College is closely monitoring all communications and guidance as it becomes available. This information is for students and staff and reflects updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE). We are prepared to escalate our contingency arrangements in the event of change.

The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the WHO and international community. For staff and students it remains business as usual across our sites and our workplaces.

Please note that, at present, this advice refers only to arrivals from Wuhan, and not the remainder of China. If you have returned from Wuhan you should:

General guidance for those planning visits to Wuhan or other destinations in China

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) maintains updated travel advice for those planning a trip to Wuhan or other destinations in China. This is available at:

www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

Note

This advice is derived from The Department of Health and Social Care will be publishing updated data on a daily basis at 2pm until further notice:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public#situation-in-the-uk

Supplementary Q&A for individuals wishing to know more around how the UK is managing the risk:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/