The idea for Refugee Radio came to Stephen when he was listening to BBC Four’s Desert Island Discs, the premise being that each guest had to talk about the reassuring and nostalgic albums that would keep them company should they find themselves stranded on an island far, and very different, from home.
Stephen has been working with refugee communities in Brighton and London since 2000 and thought of the many friends of his who have found themselves in that exact same situation – far from home, on an unfamiliar island.. Asking his guests what their desert island discs would be proved that we have more in common than in difference, even if it starts with a bit of Robbie Williams. Refugee Radio has since become a space for people to tell their stories in the safety of anonymity, and a community focussed initiative to ensure Brighton’s migrant and refugee population feel included, rather than stranded.
We loved to hear that a lot of Brighton’s refugees have told of an overwhelmingly welcoming atmosphere, particularly those fleeing from queerphobic persecution, but problems in accommodation still remain: a lot of refugees are held in dilapidated hotels with no access to basic toiletries or appropriate clothing.
Stephen’s seminal beer experience was in the form of a restorative, ice cold, lager as an 18-year-old backpacker in Egypt, and has, more recently, been experimenting with stouts, porters, and French blond beers. Pictured here with a pint of Source Pale Ale, I liked to think you can see in his eyes that same awakening he had under the Egyptian sun.
Visit https://refugeeradio.org.uk/ to see the latest episode or to donate.