Art workshops in the Calais refugee camp
IMAGINE CALAIS was a 2 month-long series of open arts & crafts workshops in the Jungle.
After a successful online fundraising campaign, we were able to bring an array of art material and great rolls of paper to get the workshops started.
Every afternoon we would set up an "atelier" at Jungle Books Library, outside when sunny, and in the Blue Kids Room when raining. Long sheets of paper were hung on any bit of wall we could find for the Collective Art work, paintbrushes and paints were prepared on tables, pencils and chalks were ready to be picked up as well as different sized Colour or white sheets of paper.
We have turned this pieces of art into postcards and a 2017 calendar. You can have a look at them and buy them here
"The workshops were a surprise for me – I had never seen something like this before in the Jungle. I was coming to paint and it was helping me little bit to forget my stress about my situation in the Jungle. I could concentrate on something else.”
Jungle resident who attended IMAGINE art workshops
“The workshops were a free and open space for expression. We sat, exchanged, created together every afternoon with art as a conduit, an “excuse” to engage with one another. The jungle itself was an expression, an expression of resilience, of resistance, of life and pure humanity at its worst and best. These drawings represent just that.”
Lujza Richter, IMAGINE coordinator
The Calais refugee camp
Migrants/refugees have been coming to Calais since the 1990s. In 1999, Sangatte Refugee camp opens by Red Cross to shelter 600 people. In 2001, on Christmas day, Eurotunnel claims it is stopping 200 refugees/ per night. It is stormed by 500 people who break through security but fail to get to England. Finally, in December 2002 Sangatte camp is closed. UK agrees to give temporary work permits to 1,250 Kurds and Afghans. France gives residency to 400 refugees.
April 2009. French police arrest 190 people at one of the small camps that have formed since. In September 2009, there is another raid on a small camp near the port, 276 arrested, the site is bulldozed.
In July 2014, French police raid a “jungle” camp again. In October, 350 refugees try to climb on trucks at Calais port, French Riot police respond with heavy teargas.
In January 2015, France opens a centre (“Jules Ferry Centre”) to shelter 50 women and children. Approximately 1,000 people are sleeping rough in a new jungle camp. A 2nd camp emerges in Dunkirk. In Calais council estimates 3,000 people are encamped around the town in June 2015. 60 of them are unaccompanied children. In November 2015, 6000 people are living in the jungle.
The Refugee Rights Data Project recorded 96.8% males and 3.2% females in the camp in February 2016. South side of the jungle is demolished, 129 unaccompanied minors are lost. Cameron announces in March 2016 a £17M plan to help France deal with the refugees, including the construction of a 1km long wall. In April 2016, MP's reject a call for Britain to take in some 3000 refugee children. The next month, New Immigration act (7th in 8 years) including the “Dubs Amendment” says the UK will give sanctuary to unaccompanied children from Europe.
In September 2016, just before the demolition, a census from Help Refugees put the overall population of the Jungle at 10,188. This included 1,179 minors, of which 87% were unaccompanied.
The Calais ‘Jungle’ was demolished on the week of the 24th October 2016.
Following the demolition, refugees in the ‘Jungle’ were moved to accommodation centres around France. Hundreds have now returned to Calais.
Today, French police is gazing and repressing migrants in Calais, and preventing ground organisations to work efficiently. The French and English governments are not proposing anything.
170.000€ /day (9.500€/day x 18units of police force) is what the French government pays for the security in Calais since October 2015.
25M € is the cost of the CAP (container camp in the jungle paid for by the French government). It can host 1500 people, has no toilet, no kitchen, no showers. 12 people per room.
155M€ is what the mayor of Calais received in nov 2015 to compensate the “economic losses” claimed by the commerçants in the region.
£36M is the bill the UK paid for the clearing of the Jungle.
£80M is what the UK pays for private security patrolling companies for a 3 year contract.
£2.7m is the cost of a 13ft concrete barrier dubbed “The Great Wall of Calais” which is being built to prevent migrants entering the N216 motorway leading to the port.
2016: 9 deaths, 2 minors.
2015: 24 deaths, 6 minors, one pregnant woman.
2014: 18 deaths, 5 minors.
2013: 3 deaths, 2 minors.
Over the last 10 years, 83 people have lost their lives trying to get to the UK from Calais, including 22 minors.