The Conversation: an evening of ‘Creative Survival’ with Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry

The Pureland Series is honoured to co-host a unique evening of conversation, story-telling and music on ‘Creative Survival’, humanity and empowerment, organised by the Helen Bamber Foundation (HBF), the charity dedicated to supporting asylum seekers, refugees, survivors of trauma and extreme human cruelty.

Taking place on October 12 at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster, the event will be chaired by Emma Thompson, president of the HBF, assisted by actor, writer and campaigner Stephen Fry and the BBC’s chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet.

Together, they will open up dialogues and conversations between the Foundation’s ambassadors and clients. With music performed by Ivor Novello Award-nominated singer Nerina Pallot and the Foundation’s Refugee Choir, it’s going to be an inspiring and life-affirming evening.

The Helen Bamber Foundation provides specialist care to meet the complex needs of some of the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable people. It offers survivors psychological and physical therapy, housing and welfare support, legal protection and creative arts and skills programmes to help them heal the wounds, rebuild their lives and integrate with the wider community.

Emma Thompson says: “The people that the Foundation helps often arrive at our door feeling barely human. The joy of seeing someone whose needs are so acute receiving the emotional, medical and legal support they need, seeing them gradually recover their humanity in this highly compassionate environment is something I will always treasure.”

Thompson met Helen Bamber, who set up the Foundation, in the 1980s and says of her: “What struck me first was Helen’s extraordinary capacity to listen. It was, in itself, an act of healing. She didn’t even have to speak to her often horribly damaged clients for them to feel – sometimes for the first time in their lives – truly safe.

“I don’t know where she learnt how to do this. Perhaps it was from the women in Bergen-Belsen – no more than bundles of rags and bone – who begged her to bear witness to the savagery of that terrible place – that her inspiration came. She has borne witness every day of her life. For that reason, her dedication to the dispossessed and tortured had, I believe, no rival.”

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