VCCP had seven weeks, from brief to live, to help Amnesty International change the law that prevented refugee children from living with their families in the UK. In order to do this, they needed to get 100 MPs to attend, and pass, the second reading of the Refugee Family Reunion Bill in the House of Commons on the 16th March. This is a difficult task anyway, but particularly with the anti-refugee sentiment in the media at the time.
So two days before Mothering Sunday we staged a living installation on London’s Southbank: ‘The Undeniable Wonder of Family Life’.
The installation celebrated the joy of spending time with family, something many of us take for granted, but not all of us get to experience…. Specifically refugees in the UK, who are currently kept apart from their loved ones due to strict government criteria.
VCCP wanted to introduce the issues facing refugees families in a way that British people couldn’t help but empathise with. Their living installation reminded people of an undeniable truth: everyday family life is wonderful, even the boring bits. When we see it all from the outside, we notice it’s full of lovely little moments we take for granted.
It was live for two days, during which 18 UK families spent an hour just being a family in a normal living room. They got on with everyday life; watching TV, playing with toys and games, chatting and napping… ignoring the fact they were in a glass box, watched by thousands online and in person on London’s busy Southbank.
377,000 people watched the Facebook livestream.
13, 715 people were moved to email their local MPs, which exceeded the originally ambitious target.
And on 16th March, an overwhelming majority of 129 MPs voted in support of the Refugee Family Reunion Bill, versus 42 against.
A giant victory for the families town apart by war and conflict.