Today is Together with Refugees day of action, which was founded by Asylum Matters, British Red Cross, Freedom from Torture, Rainbow Migration, Refugee Action, Refugee Council and Scottish Refugee Council all with the same belief in showing compassion for people fleeing war, persecution or violence.

Together with Refugees is now a coalition of organisations big and small including grassroots, community and refugee-led groups, international development charities, trade unions and faith groups.

Today’s aim is to raise awareness and support for a kinder, fairer and more effective approach to supporting refugees.

Left image - Mandy and Danni writing their own “What does sanctuary mean to you?” orange hearts. Right image - “What does sanctuary mean to you?” orange hearts written by exhibition visitors.

In solidarity and support of today, we installed an orange heart on BALTIC’s Level 5 viewing box, representing compassion for those fleeing war, persecution or violence. BALTIC is a Gallery of Sanctuary, supporting and welcoming those seeking sanctuary and those from forced migrant communities to connect, and find moments of hope and joy. We stand with you, we recognise that refugees have always been a part of the UK, we recognise the contributions, community and diversity that refugees bring and we will strive to build a hopeful and inclusive country for all.

The orange heart was chosen by Together with Refugees to represent compassion for refugees, symbolising hope and kindness.

Left image - Exhibition visitors writing their “What does sanctuary mean to you?” orange hearts. Right image - View from the baltic looking over the river tyne featuring the large orange heart window install and two people admiring the view.

As part of the install, we asked people to take an orange heart and answer the question “What does sanctuary mean to you?”, here is a selection of the answers…

“Reserve in your heart a seat for everyone”

“We stand united!”

“Everyone deserves a home. Somewhere to feel safe, loved and wanted.”

“Freedom and peace for all. All families, individuals, LGBTQ, race, disability, human rights matter.”

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our support and solidarity to the people of Ukraine.

Image credit – Good Cause Comms

First image - “What does sanctuary mean to you?” orange hearts. Second image - Exterior image of the Baltic featuring the orange heart window install