RICHARD Williams is chairman of Sanctuary on Sea, one of the organisations involved in Connect, a showcase of diversity marking the end of Refugee Week. He explains how the event aims to promote inclusivity.

REFUGEE Week comes to a close this weekend after a number of events that have helped bring the city’s various communities together. There was Blakers Park Summer Fair, for instance, part of the nationwide Great Get Together honouring the memory of murdered MP Jo Cox.

Her “more in common” ethos could be the slogan for Connect, a communal event at the Dome in which visitors can enjoy everything from kite– making workshops to batik, a form of cloth decoration. Richard Williams’s organisation, Sanctuary on Sea, has played a big part in Refugee Week.

As he says: “People seeking sanctuary have lost their homes and families yet bring all kinds of skills, arts, food and culture that enrich our city.”

Culture and entertainment is at the forefront of Connect. The power of art to unite people will be in plain sight. “The Dome came to us and offered us their space,” says Williams. “We wanted to say to people, ‘Come and do what you want to do; bring some food, bring an instrument’.

“There’ll be food from the Kurdish community and a music workshop from the Syrian community, for instance.” There is a parade through the North Laine area from 10am, starting in Pelham Square Gardens, and participants can take part in a photoshoot with the Brighton flag that was designed by Gil Mualam-Doren, pictured above. “Currently, in contrast to most other English cities, Brighton does not have a flag,” says MualamDoren, whose creation is part of his New Union Flag project.

The artist has also made a flag for the UK but with a twist. When you look closely you can see various colours representing the different nationalities that make up British society. The flag has been on tour around the country, including at the Tate Modern and Manchester People’s History Museum. The vibrancy and joyful expression of MualamDoren’s designs reflects the ethos of the Connect event in general, as Williams says.

“We don’t want to be po-faced about this because it’s about people having fun. If people can enjoy themselves by playing music or having food together, that’s the main thing. Brighton has prided itself on diversity and we wanted to remind people about that. People have come to Brighton and Hove for centuries because it’s a welcoming place."

Williams has worked with refugees for 18 years so is extremely well placed to assess the migrant situation. “These crises do happen and they have done for centuries,” he says. “But we look at what’s going on behind the headlines.”

Williams adds that Sanctuary on Sea tries to “foster a culture that helps people who are here not because they choose to be but because they have to be. “Here in Brighton we have a programme that helps to educate children about the situation.”

Connect, Brighton Dome Cafe-Bar, tomorrow, 11am to 4pm, For more information visit brightondome. org or call 01273 709709