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East Midlands
21 August 2017  -  03 September 2017

Journey’s Festival International – Leicester


Presented by leading arts development agency (and Platforma Hub for the East Midlands), ArtReach, Journeys Festival International (JFI) returns for its fifth annual event in Leicester. The festival celebrates the artistic talents of refugee and asylum seeker artists, sharing refugee stories through great art and culture. The festival takes place from 21st August – 3rd September and will showcase the finest work from local and international refugee artists through a range of exciting, inspiring and accessible creative events. This year the festival received the UK’s first ‘Festival of Sanctuary’ Award – a prestigious title awarded by charity City of Sanctuary

Journeys Festival International Executive Producer, Nicola Middler said “Now an international event, ArtReach is proud to produce Journeys Festival International in its home city of Leicester for the fifth year. The city’s history of welcoming diverse cultures complements the values of JFI, as the festival celebrates the artistic talents of refugee and asylum seekers from both the local, national and international communities and shares these experiences through accessible creative activity – dance, innovative artworks, hands-on workshops, music, food and more.”


Aakash Odedra’s #JeSuis (In Progress) at Curve

Mon 28th – Wed 30th August – Internationally acclaimed Aakash Odedra Company will present #JeSuis (In Progress – pictured), co-commissioned as part of the festival. Performed by a group of Turkish dancers, the contemporary dance explores issues of displacement, movement and what ‘home’ means when millions are on the move.

Each performance will be followed by JOURNEYS – The Art of Displacement- an interactive presentation and discussion event with the Aakash Odedra


Look Up

From 21st August – 3rd September – JFI’s large scale, high-impact outdoor visual arts exhibition Look Up will feature artworks by British Journal Photography’s ‘Photographer of the Year 2017’, Daniel Castro Garcia’s Foreigner: Migration into Europe 2015-2016 -a set of photographs documenting migration across Europe. Images will be presented in large scale across Leicester on buildings from Curve, Wellgosh, BBC Radio Leicester, Phoenix to Highcross with associated Look Up Art Walks.

The Container Project

During the festival a shipping container will be placed in Orton Square and transformed into an innovative project space. To mark the beginning of JFI a mural will be designed by renowned Manchester graffiti duo Nomad Clan. From 25th Aug – 2nd September, at the forefront of virtual reality technology, Rekrei (created in reaction to the systematic destruction of Mosul Cultural Museum by Daesh) will reconstruct a VR experience with artefacts from the museum through a series of crowd sourced imagery, enabling a digital preservation of cultural heritage.

Shahre Farang- Iranian artist Farhad Berahman

Iranian artist Farhad Berahman exhibits the mystical Shahre Farang at Grays Coffee Shop & Kitchen, LCB Depot from 21st August – 1st September. A traditional Iranian peep-box, the Shahre Farang contains photographs taken by Iranian photographers in collaboration with asylum seekers from the country. The photographs are visual memories and focus on themes of nostalgia, memory and what home feels like. Displaced Witness Displaced Witness takes place at the Lightbox Gallery, LCB Depot 21st August – 3 Sept and is an immersive virtual reality experience and film that explores the places, spaces and people involved in the ‘European Refugee Crisis.’ Created by ScanLAB and Embassy for the Displaced , users will be immersed in the experiences of refugees at Lesvos, Greece, one of the unofficial gateways for refugees trying to cross Europe. Exhibition presented in collaboration with Phoenix.


The Journeys Weekender

26th –27th August (12noon-6pm each day) in Jubilee Square will see a celebration of influences and talent from around the world in one weekend with the square transformed into a vibrant melting pot from a world music stage, pop up performances, street food vendors (Saturday only) and hands- on, artist-led creative workshops. Headline musicians include: Afrikan Boy, Aar Maanta, Ramelle Kabasele and Tootard.

Other artists include Blessing Magore, Mankala, Rihab Azar from the Conservatoire of Damascus, Mudibu and Matuki.

Belarus Free Theatre – New Writing Project

Journeys Festival International work with the world’s leading refugee theatre company, Belarus Free Theatre, to develop refugee and asylum seeker writers work in Leicester. As part of a rehearsed reading presented at Curve Theatre on Wednesday 30 August, the developed work will present extracts of new work. This is a unique opportunity to hear the newest refugee voices share the stories they want to tell.


Coffee Shop Conversations Hosted in independent coffee shops across Leicester and supported by British Red Cross, Coffee Shop Conversations will be an opportunity to discuss and exchange views over free tea, coffee and cake. This year conversations will focus on Documenting Refugee & Asylum through a series of sessions:

Wed 16 August, 10.30am – 12 Noon at Phoenix – Ethics Through a Lens with photographer Farhad Berahman and CEO of PhotoVoice Tom Elkins

Wed 23 August, 5.30pm – 7pm at The Exchange – Global Graffiti featuring Nomad Clan, representatives from Inspirate, producers of Leicester’s international street art festival, Bring The Paint

Wed 30 August, 10.30am – 12noon at 200 Degrees – Women & Words, featuring Vietnamese artists Hong Dam and singer-song writer Carol Leeming

Sun 3 September, 11am – 12noon at New Walk Museum Café – Leicester, A City of Sanctuary will discuss the city’s history of being a place of refuge. Inspired by Britannia with Belgium Refugees, an oil painting by Andre Cluysennar given to the city in 1917 as a thank you for the refuge of Belgian people.


Thurs 24 August, 6- 8.30pm at Attenborough Arts Centre

The JOURNEYS Salon shares the work from JFI’s European partners who have been working with refugees and asylum seeker communities across Europe. Opening up an international conversation, the JOURNEYS Salon consists of interactive workshops followed by a panel discussion with audience response. Free event, booking required via Attenborough Arts Centre Box Office.

For more information please see Join the conversation: @JourneysFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To download the programme visit: