Ukrainian refugees hosted by School of Arts lecturer

“We know that music unites people and goes across boundaries.”

These are the words of Dr Ruth Herbert, Senior Lecturer in Music Psychology and Music Performance in the School of Arts, who has recently opened her home to two Ukrainian musicians.

After fleeing war-torn Kharkiv, 20-year old guitarists Marina Vosmirova and Ernest Sirota have now found refuge in Tonbridge with Dr Herbert, thanks to a refugee scheme run in association with the British Phonographic Industry. The scheme pairs Ukrainian music students who have come to the UK as refugees with sponsors who can accommodate them.

Dr Herbert knew immediately that she wanted to help students whose lives have been so cruelly disrupted by the conflict. “I felt impelled to help these undergraduate musicians who were studying at Kharkiv,” she says on her decision to host Marina and Ernest. “It is a wonderful cultural centre with music festivals – and that’s all been ripped away.”

By taking in these students, Dr Herbert has had a huge positive impact on Ernest and Marina’s lives and studies. Since arriving they have performed at Drapers Hall in London for a fundraising concert alongside other refugees. “I spent the first few months of the war crying and constantly checking my emails for news on her visa application,” says Marina on her situation. “To be here in Kent now is like a dream.”

Dr Herbert was recently interviewed by ITV about her participation in the scheme. Read the full story here:

Photo: ITV News Meridian.

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