One-day V&A exhibition charting 100 Years of Turkish Cypriot Migration to the UK


The Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations in Britain (CTCA UK) continues to celebrate the community’s centenary year in Britain with a special event at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in South Kensington on Saturday, 9 December.

Film, a photography exhibition and Turkish Cypriot folk dancing all form part of this one-day extravaganza at the V&A, which kicks off with a reception at midday. It charts the lives of Turkish Cypriots who were given permission in 1917 to become British subjects after Britain colonised Cyprus. Those who did so had the chance to travel and settle in the UK, and many took up the opportunity for a new life.

During the afternoon, CTCA UK will premiere My Heart Belongs to…. Directed and produced by Eithne Nightingale and Mitchell Harris, creators of the award-winning Child Migrant Stories, this poignant and moving film draws on the memories of early Turkish Cypriot pioneers. It explores early life in Cyprus; the reasons for migration; the challenges and joys of living in the UK, and feelings of home. The documentary, which will be screened twice on the day, is illustrated with family photographs reflecting life in Cyprus and London. 

Semra Eren-Nijhar has curated special Turkish Cypriot photography exhibition

Also on display is a special photography exhibition: Through the Decades, My Journey from Güvercinlik. The exhibition is curated by author and filmmaker Semra Eren-Nijhar, who is also the founder of Turkish Heritage Day in London. It shows a snapshot of Turkish Cypriot life: at work, with the family, at leisure, and participating in public life. Güvercinlik (pigeon-loft) refers to the nickname Turkish Cypriots gave to Trafalgar Square: in the absence of associations and cafes to socialise in, newcomers to London would congregate there in the 1940s.

Entrance to the exhibition is free. While there, visitors can also see the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Middle Eastern Islamic Art, which displays a fantastic selection of Iznik tiles, carpets and carvings from Turkey and elsewhere.

The V&A event marks the third major event for CTCA UK this year. Under Leyla Kemal’s leadership, the national body representing British Turkish Cypriots has organised an outdoor Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival attended by over 20,000 people in June. In October, they held their first-ever awards night to recognise the community’s high-achievers and exceptional volunteers.

Formed in 1983, CTCA (UK) serves to empower the 300,000-strong Turkish Cypriot community through civic engagement, cultural events, education and advocacy.

V&A programme

The full programme for the V&A centenary of Turkish Cypriots in Britain is as follows:



12.00 ​​ ​Arrival and refreshments.

​​​Lobby outside Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre


12.30 ​​​Opening event and speeches

​​​Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre


12.45 ​​​Folk dance by Dr. Fazıl Küçük Turkish school

​​​Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre


13.00 ​​​Screening 1: My Heart Belongs to….

​​​Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Main entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in South Kensington, London. Photo: Wikipedia/Diliff, 2014


14.30 ​​​Folk Dancing by Hornsey Atatürk Turkish school

​​​Blavatnik Hall, Sackler Centre


15.30 ​​​Screening 2: My Heart Belongs to ……..

​​​Hochhauser Auditorium, Level 1, Sackler Centre


12.00 – 17.30 ​​Photographic exhibition: Through the Decades

Seminar Room 2, Level 1, Sackler Centre ​​


Exhibition Details

Title: 100 Years of Turkish Cypriot Migration to the UK

Date: Saturday 9 December 2017

Venue: V&A, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL (free entrance by Sackler Courtyard along Exhibition Road)

Times: starts 12.00, ends 17.30
Admission: free, but prior registration is needed for the screenings. Email CTCA UK to reserve your place.

More info: visit  or call +44 (0) 7496 267 033 or email