Drawing on the talents of Bristol’s creative tech community, as well as its status as a city of sanctuary, Bristol Refugee Hackday will explore ways that digital technology can be used to help the city’s refugees and asylum seekers.

This two-day workshop will take place at Trinity Centre on 24 and 25 June as part of Bristol Refugee Week. The Hackday will bring together people with technical, coding, social media and web skills, as well as those who have experience or an understanding of the issues faced by support services, refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol.

Working collaboratively over two days, the group will aim to develop creative digital solutions to some of the problems faced by displaced people in the city.

Credit: Bristol Refugee Hackday

Credit: Bristol Refugee Hackday

Similar events have taken place around the world and in other parts of the UK, and have led to a number of innovations. In Sheffield, for example, the brilliantly named Sheffugees initiative has kick-started the development of an online map that will allow new arrivals to easily locate useful places around the city – from Post Offices to places of worship.

The London-based group Techfugees have also organised a number of hackathons which have resulted in the launch of several new tools. These include MeshPoint, a robust all-weather Wi-Fi access point; Migreat, a website that helps refugees navigate the asylum application process; and Geecycle, a website for donating mobile phones to refugees.

The organisers of the Bristol Hackday believe that the city’s thriving tech community, alongside its collaborative network of asylum support services, mean that it is well placed to host such an event. ‘Bristol is a place that acts like a magnet and catalyst for creativity, and we are happy to be living in a city where people have a can-do attitude towards community issues,’ says a member of the Hackday planning team. ‘Bristol shows time and time again the power of communities working together to improve the city we live in. We think the Bristol Refugee Hackday will be one more example of this.’


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Do more

If you have technical or web skills, or knowledge of the issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol, then you can register to take part in the Hackday here:

If you’d like to get involved but feel you don’t have the necessary tech skills or specialist knowledge then you can volunteer to help with the running of the event itself. Email:

The Hackday is part of a programme of cultural and educational events for Bristol Refugee Week, which also include films screenings and a free ‘Celebrating Sanctuary’ festival in Queen’s Square. Visit the Bristol Refugee Week Facebook page to see the whole programme.


Words: Kathleen Steeden