Press Releases

National Waterfront Museum – UK’s first Museum of Sanctuary

The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea has been given the UK’s first Museum of Sanctuary Award to recognise the work it does in welcoming refugees and those seeking asylum.

Swansea’s City of Sanctuary panel praised the Museum for going “above and beyond to share to the community how refugees contribute to the larger society”.


Besides awareness training for staff, which has included hearing a moving first-hand account of the experiences of an asylum seeker, the Museum has hosted exhibitions and events for those seeking sanctuary.


These have included:

  • Hosting a monthly women’s group
  • Introducing sewing and creative writing classes
  • A ballet class for children seeking sanctuary – for which local dance schools donated spare shoes and leotards
  • Two exhibitions, Chips, Curry Cappuccino and Young, Migrant and Welsh, from EYST (the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales) which gave a voice to young people who were first, second, or third generation migrants, as well as helping Museum visitors understand their journey


The City of Sanctuary panel also praised the Museum for creating an inclusive environment for migrants seeking support, and helping to understand their challenges. Swansea was only the second city in the UK to become a City of Sanctuary, a national movement offering sanctuary and support to those fleeing violence or persecution.


The Museum of Sanctuary award was presented to Head of Museum Steph Mastoris, at an event on 20 June, and is valid for three years.


‘It is our intention that the National Waterfront Museum should be a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone, whatever their background,’ said Mr Mastoris. ‘Culture knows no boundaries, and we hope that everyone can learn, enjoy and enrich our environment when they come through the doors.’

And Rebecca Scott, Wales Coordinator for City of Sanctuary, added:

‘It is a pleasure to recognise the efforts of the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea to welcome and include people seeking sanctuary in its day-to-day activities, as well as to provide additional activities that are tailored to the needs of asylum seekers and refugees. These efforts are a demonstration of the diverse ways individuals and organisations can contribute to making Swansea a welcoming place of safety for all - from staff learning more about refugee and asylum issues, to offering free, accessible spaces to provide arts and culture opportunities that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive.’