The Suitcase

The Suitcase Trailer

The Suitcase is an innovative and original community art exhibition at the University of East Anglia (UEA) which explores the concepts of loss and belonging through the eyes of sanctuary seekers from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Türkiye and Egypt.

The exhibition ran from Friday 3-10 March 2023. Visitors were invited to connect with six stories of displacement through five suitcases located on plinths around the campus. Each suitcase told the story of a sanctuary seeker through the objects they had to leave behind, alongside those precious things that could be saved, like a small bag of soil from Afghanistan – one sanctuary seeker’s tangible connection to a lost homeland.

Each suitcase displayed a QR code which visitors were invited to use to access short films, by Red 7 Productions, which detailed the sanctuary seekers’ lived experiences, their journeys to Norwich, and the emotive reasons for the objects they chose to share.

The Suitcase is the brainchild of Anastasiia Petrenko (Ana), a Ukrainian student studying MA International Development at UEA. Ana is one of the 2022-23 cohort of Sanctuary Scholars, who received a scholarship as part of UEA’s commitment to helping reduce the barriers to participation in higher education faced by those seeking sanctuary in the UK. The Suitcase was developed alongside other Sanctuary Scholars from a range of other countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt and Türkiye.


  • The Student Union, Union House, University of East, NR4 7TJ
  • The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia, NR4 7TJ
  • Zest Cafe, The Square, Level 1, University of East Anglia, NR4 7TJ
  • Blend Cafe, the Square, Level 2, University of East Anglia, NR4 7TJ
  • The Warren, the Street (next to the Square in the centre of the campus), University of East Anglia, NR4 7TJ

Please note, the Suitcase films below may be traumatising to some audiences.

The Suitcase. Chapter I

The Suitcase. Chapter II

The Suitcase. Chapter III

The Suitcase. Chapter IV

The Suitcase. Chapter V

For more information about the project, please email: