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Press Release 5 Stories of Sanctuary _ s


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Director and Music Facilitator

Sam Slatcher is a singer-songwriter, community arts facilitator and founder of Citizen Songwriters CIC. Sam is passionate about engaging different communities in the process of storytelling through songwriting. In 2018, Sam graduated from Durham University with a PhD in Human Geography on creative community engagement. Sam set up Citizen Songwriters in December 2018 after the success of the Stories of Sanctuary project.



Director and Development Officer

Pippa Bell is a director of Citizens Songwriters. She works in education using the visual arts to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds including prisoners, asylum seekers and refugees. Pippa Bell is as an exile from the south of England who has lived in the North East for 30 years and believes Durham, with the strong sense of community and welcome at its core, to be the best place in the world to live

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Director and Sanctuary Coordinator

Shams is a director of Citizen Songwriters and has been advocating nationwide on behalf of people seeking sanctuary in the UK. He is the Co-Chair of Tees Valley of Sanctuary, Sanctuary in Politics graduate and a member of the Experts by Experience Operational Advisory Group. He is Member of the Regional Refugee Forum (North East) and a member of Doctors of The World Advisory group. Shams is also a Volunteer Assistant for the in the North East for the British Red Cross and a member of the UK Voices Networks group.

Living in Darlington, Shams has been a volunteer with Citizen Songwriters supporting our partnership with with City of Sanctuary, the weekly Funday Friday online café as well as the heritage projects in Shildon and the South West Durham.



Director and Music Facilitator

Alexandra Summerson is a singer/songwriter and performer. She trained as a music and performance facilitator at Canterbury Christ Church University, during her time there she led a choir that performed all over Canterbury and she helped multiple performance related groups put shows together. Alex has worked with many community groups from being a teenager. These include helping to provide support and respite for children and young people with physical disabilities and special educational needs, working with a local amateur dramatic group and currently helping to facilitate a local community choir. Alex is a strong believer in the positive benefits of singing and performance for mental health.

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Raghad Haddad is a classical viola player who sought sanctuary in the UK in 2016. She has performed with the National Syrian Orchestra, as well as Daniel Barenboim‘s East West Divan Orchestra. She regularly performs with the Stories of Sanctuary project.

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