Traces Project

An untold history of contributions to arts and culture from men and women who have sought safety in the UK from conflict and persecution.


Lucian Freud

Freud is a German-born painter who was the most celebrated British figurative painter of the late 20th century.


Peter Moro CBE

Peter Moro was born in Germany and moved to London, becoming one of the UK’s most prominent post-war architects. He designed many public buildings including the Royal Festival Hall and the Nottingham Playhouse.

Judith Kerr OBE

Judith is an author and illustrator who fled from Nazi Germany as a child and went on to publish award-winning autobiographical novels for children about her experiences.


Kurt Schwitters

Kurt Schwitters is one of the major artists of European modernism, famous for his collage works in a technique he called ‘Merz.’


Marina Lewycka

Marina is an author whose first book, A short history of tractors in Ukrainian, sold over a million copies worldwide.


Robert Vas

Robert Vas was a documentary filmmaker from Hungary who saw his artistic mission as being to remind and warn audiences of the abuses of power.

George Szirtes

George Szirtes is a painter-turned-poet originally from Hungary who writes about England and Englishness as well as his Hungarian origins in his poetry and translation work.


Gillian Slovo

Writing, for Gillian Slovo, is best described as a process of interrogation into what happens when individual lives are caught up in political events – her latter works explore her experience as the daughter of anti-apartheid activists in South Africa.


Eva Jiřičná CBE

Eva was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia where she trained as an architect and came to London in 1968. She was awarded a CBE for services to interior design.


Mona Hatoum

Mona Hatoum is a Palestinian video artist and installation artist born in Lebanon who explores the harshness of life and exile using a variety of media.


Hong Dam

Hong is a visual artist whose work is a journey of self discovery, exploring universal themes of love, loss, separation and hope.


Zory Shahrokhi

Zory is an Iranian visual artist whose work explores displacement, exploitation and gender oppression.


Nadifa Mohamed

Nadifa is a Somali-born novelist whose books have been shortlisted for prestigious awards including the Guardian First Book Award.


M.I.A. is an award winning recording artist who was born in Sri Lanka to Tamil parents. She is also a songwriter, painter and director.


Téa Hodzic

Singer and guitarist Tea Hodzic was born in Bosnia but is now based in the UK. She performs traditional Bosnian music.


Khyam Allami

Khyam Allami is a Syrian oud player, collaborator and musical explorer who has performed at WOMAD, the BBC Proms and London 2012 Festival, the cultural festival that accompanied the Olympics.


Rita Ora

Rita Ora is a British singer, songwriter and actress born in Kosovo who had the most number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart in 2012.


Vesna Maric

Vesna is a travel writer, journalist, and author of ‘Bluebird: a Memoir’.

Koutaiba al-Janabi

Koutaiba is a Film Director and Photographer who left Iraq when he was 17. His first feature film was released in 2010.

Hamid Ismailov

Hamid is a poet and author from Uzbekistan, and Writer in Residence at the BBC’s World Service.


Natasha Davis

Natasha Davis is a performance and visual artist whose work explores body, memory, identity and migration. Her embodied practice as performer informs her research as a subject through her own experiences of displacement and migration.


Behjat Omer Abdulla

Behjat is a Kurdish artist whose art reflects the feelings and stories of war that cannot be shared or explained.


Jasim Ghafur

Jasim is a Kurdish visual artist whose work is influenced by his personal experiences of war, displacement and the fight for justice.


Maryam Hashemi

Maryam is a London-based Iranian artist whose work brings past and present together. Her subjects are mostly women.


Ibrahim Fakhri

Ibrahim Fakhri is a Syrian artist and curator primarily concerned with the civil activism in Syria and the Middle East. He has exhibited the graffiti of the Syrian Revolution in venues in Europe and the UK.


Emad Altaay

Emad is a Iraqi visual artist who worked as a teacher in the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad before moving to the UK. He’s exhibited his work in the UK, the USA and across the Middle East.


Lucy Namayanja

Lucy is a Ugandan-born visual artist who works with a variety of mediums. Her work uses symbols to express her feelings about her experience of the world and the universality of birth, growth, death and decay.


Maya Youssef

Maya is a Syrian Kanun Player who was recognized as an Exceptional Talent by Arts Council England in 2012.

al-Saddiq al-Raddi

al-Saddiq is one of the leading African poets writing in Arabic. He writes about his native Sudan.