A FLOTILLA of thousands of paper boats 'sailed' across Bonn Square, Oxford, for an art installation encouraging people to embrace refugees and asylum seekers.

The event, which took place on Sunday, the final day of Oxford Refugee Week, was the culmination of a six-month project by Oxford Concert Party called Waving Hello - which has engaged with refugees, schoolchildren, detainees and others to tackle pre-conceived notions about refugees.

Each of the 3,500 boats, which were made by refugees, refugee groups, and anybody else who wanted to participate, represented trade, travel, and the journeys made by asylum seekers across the Mediterranean Sea.

The project was the brainchild of joint artistic director at Oxford Concert Party Isabel Knowland.

She said: "I had the idea about a year ago but it was beyond my expectations. It was absolutely breathtaking to see Bonn Square totally transformed.

"It was wonderful and it was all abut promoting a message of peace and compassion."

The six month project, supported by the Patsy Wood Trust, has involved music, storytelling, poetry and visual arts.

It has included involvement from Refugee Resource, Asylum Welcome and BK Luwo.

The group also spent time working with refugee men in Campsfield House, an immigration removal centre in Kidlington.