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Event National Museum of Scotland

Refuge Britain: Stories of Émigré Designers

4 Mar 2023
14:00 - 16:00

Auditorium, Level 1

Age 14+

See pricing info below

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Bernat Klein selecting cloth and yarn samples.

© Bernat Klein Peter Waugh.

Bernat Klein selecting cloth and yarn samples.

© Bernat Klein Peter Waugh.

Inspired by our exhibition, Bernat Klein: Design in Colour, join curator Lisa Mason and Dr Anna Nyburg to explore the work of revolutionary émigré textile designers, Bernat Klein and Tibor Reich.

Émigré textile designers Bernat Klein and Tibor Reich both arrived in the UK as refugees fleeing Nazi Europe and both went on to revolutionise British design. Curator Lisa Mason and Dr Anna Nyburg discuss the unique contribution and ongoing influence of these designers.

This event features an exclusive screening of the 2017 documentary film, Refuge Britain: Stories of Émigré Designers.

There will also be the chance to view our free exhibition Bernat Klein: Design in Colour before or after the event.


Adult £10
Over 60s £8.50
Conc and Member £7.50
Student and Young Scot 14+  £6


14:00 - Welcome and introductions

14:05 - Bernat Klein

Lisa Mason, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Design, National Museums Scotland

Bernat Klein had a visionary career spanning four decades, from the 1950s until his retirement in 1992. Based in the Scottish Borders, his radical use of colour blending and texture – inspired by the Scottish Borders landscape – transformed haute couture, home-made fashions and interior design.

Lisa Mason will discuss Bernat’s career and highlight key pieces within his extensive archive which is held by National Museums Scotland.

14:20 - Refuge Britain: Stories of Émigré Designers

Dr Anna Nyburg, Honorary Lecturer, Imperial College London

Commercial artists Tibor Reich, Elisabeth Tomalin and Hans Schleger arrived in the UK as refugees from Nazi Europe. As designers, they revolutionised British design, introducing modern (and modernist) concepts and practices. Anna Nyburg will introduce her documentary film Refuge Britain, featuring the artists’ children and grandchildren.

14:30 - Film screening

Refuge Britain: Stories of Émigré Designers (44 mins) followed by a short comfort break.

15:30 - Panel discussion

15:45 - Audience Q&A


Following the presentation there will be the opportunity for questions from the audience. We will ask that questions be submitted digitally via mobile phone. Full details will be explained on the day. Questions can also be submitted in advance by emailing

Getting here

Enter the museum from the main public entrance on Chambers Street.

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street

Map and directions

Visiting safely

Safety measures are in place to ensure your visit is as safe and enjoyable as possible. Current visiting information can be found on our Plan Your Visit pages.


We want everyone who comes to our museums to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit. 

  • There is level access to the Museum via the main doors to the Entrance Hall on Chambers Street and the Tower entrance at the corner of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge.  
  • Lifts are available to all floors and accessible toilets are available on most floors, as well as a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0. 
  • There is an induction loop in the Auditorium. 
  • Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other recognised assistance dogs are admitted. 

Find out more about our access information. If you have any questions about accessing this event, please email us in advance at

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In partnership with the Bernat Klein Foundation and part of Insiders/Outsiders Festival Bernat Klein Foundation Insiders/Outsiders Festival

Insiders/Outsiders is a nationwide arts festival celebrating the indelible contribution of refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe to British culture. For more information, visit the Insiders/Outsiders Festival website.

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