UGANDA 50: DMU academics bring their perspective to discussion about refugees and their contribution to life in Leicester

An exhibition marking 50 years of Ugandan Asian refugees, and the impact they have had in shaping our city, is to be celebrated at a conference on Thursday with speakers from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

The Rebuilding Lives: 50 Years of Ugandan Asians in Leicester exhibition, organised by Navrang Arts, has been a sensation since it opened in July last year.

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More than 90,000 people have passed through the doors of the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery to view the collection of historical artefacts, photos and personal memories marking the exodus in 1972 of Asians fleeing the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

At the same time the exhibition reflects on the huge contribution the Ugandan Asian community has made to Leicester’s culture and communities over the last half century.

Now Changing Lives, Changing Leicester, run in a partnership between Navrang Arts and DMU, will look at what the legacy of the exhibition should be and open up wider conversations about the experiences of migrants and their children in Leicester today.


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The exhibition has also led to the building of an archive containing personal stories by those who fled Uganda or their children and grandchildren.

A section of the one-day event on Thursday 30 March will be dedicated to DMU academics applying their specialisms to the stories of refugees.

UGANDA exhibition promo RESIZED

Professor Stuart Price, Director of the Media Discourse Centre at DMU, will talk about 'Exclusionary Speech? Community, Language and Public Rhetoric', Professor Panikos Panayi, a leading authority on the history of migration, will discuss ‘A Brief History of the Refugee in Britain’, and Mark Charlton, Net Zero Theme Director at DMU, will look at ‘Climate Change, Politics and Refugees’.

Nisha Popat, of Navrang Arts, said: “The exhibition has been an amazing success and has proved to be a really emotional experience at times.

“Many of those who fled Uganda for Leicester have been in tears while viewing the exhibits and others have been so excited to use the exhibition to tell their stories to their children and grandchildren.

“There is a strong feeling of ownership of the exhibition by those who have been affected by the story we are telling.”

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Changing Lives Changing Leicester is free to attend but you do need to book in advance.

For more details and to book your place visit here

In August 1972, Idi Amin – who a year earlier had declared himself president of Uganda following a military coup d’etat - issued a decree banishing all Asians from Uganda under what he called the ‘economic war’.

Families born and raised in the East African state - some for generations - were told they had 90 days to leave behind their businesses, their homes, their livelihoods and their country before all possessions were handed over to Amin’s supporters.

Posted on Tuesday 28 March 2023

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