On a sunny afternoon in June, a remarkable event unfolded at the People's History Museum in Manchester. The Echoes of Displacement comic book launch was not just an event, but a celebration of resilience, the human spirit, and the rich tapestry of life experiences that form our society.
At Olympias Music Foundation (OMF), we were particularly delighted as our very own Voices of Hope choir was invited to perform, complementing the occasion's theme seamlessly1.
Echoes of Displacement is a captivating comic book that tells the collective story of people growing older while seeking sanctuary in the UK. Created through a series of life story interviews and focus groups with men and women aged 50 and over, this piece of art was made possible by Tess Hartland, a PhD candidate from the University of Manchester, and beautifully illustrated by artist Lindsay Pollock1. The book aims to raise awareness of the refugee experience, contradicting the negative narratives that often pervade media representations of refugees.
The Voices of Hope choir, an integral part of OMF and led by the exceptional Ríoghnach Connolly, was invited to perform at the event, adding an enriching layer of musical narrative to the occasion. The choir, comprised of individuals who have sought sanctuary in the UK, resonated deeply with the theme of the comic book. Their performance not only enhanced the event but brought a palpable sense of unity and hope.
Among the songs they performed, Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' about a Revolution" was a standout. The lyrics of this song, about the power of people and the call for change, harmonized perfectly with the event's ethos. The choir's rendition of the song, sung in a sunbeam, was a poignant moment that will be remembered by all attendees.
The event also offered an array of delicious food, adding to the warm and inviting atmosphere. Attendees were treated to a selection of finger foods and hot drinks, providing the perfect accompaniment to the stories shared and the music performed. The camaraderie felt during these shared meals was a testament to the welcoming and inclusive environment of the event.
We believe the Echoes of Displacement comic book launch was a fantastic opportunity for attendees to connect, learn about refugee organisations in Manchester, and importantly, enjoy the moving performance of the Voices of Hope choir. We were also delighted to see our friends from Manchester City of Sanctuary at the event.
The event was a testament to the power of community and art in raising awareness about vital social issues. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of promoting inclusivity and the power of music in advocating for social justice. The Voices of Hope choir, with their shared love for music, exemplified this perfectly.
In the end, this event was more than just a comic book launch. It was an inspiring gathering that showcased the strength of community, the power of shared stories, and the transformative impact of music. At Olympias Music Foundation, we're proud to have been part of this momentous occasion and look forward to similar events in the future.
To stay updated about our events and performances, please follow our journey at OMF. We're excited about the journey ahead, creating more music, and making a difference one note at a time.