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Platforma Festival

anna ray

The biennial Platforma festival for the arts by, with and about refugees and migration is produced by Counterpoints Arts. It brings together artists, organisations, funders and others for discussions, workshops and the chance to share practice and showcase new work.

The 5th Platforma festival took place across Kent & Medway.

Read more about Platforma 5

For more information contact

Poster image: A Hostile Environment, 2019 – original artwork by Adam Chodzko, commissioned for Platforma 5 by Counterpoints Arts




Online: As part of Platforma 5, City of Sanctuary launched their free Sanctuary in Arts resource pack


September/October: No Direction Home

Stand-up comedy workshops & performances in Gravesend & Sittingbourne  – Counterpoints Arts in partnership with Ideas Test, Woodville Theatre, Cohesion Plus. No Direction Home is produced by Counterpoints Arts & Camden People’s Theatre.

September/October: Hiphop and spoken word workshops with young people

Led by Oliver Seagar with Pie Factory, Music for Change and Counterpoints Arts. 

September-October: Worse Things Happen At Sea, Ramsgate, 10.00-22.00

This art installation by Mooch is a Morse code soundtrack within the Ramsgate lighthouse listing over a thousand names of vessels lost on the Goodwin Sands. Imagine how it feels to be lost in a storm at sea as the Morse distress call reminds you of the perils beyond the harbour walls, over many centuries, to the present day.

14 September-13 October: Home – The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury

An exhibition of artwork created by textile artist Anna Ray and a group of mothers living in Ashford ­ long term residents and recently resettled Syrian women. Over the course of seven months, Anna worked with the group to explore the theme of ‘home’. The aim of the commission was to bring a new community together, to discover commonalities and celebrate differences. Through weekly workshops, the participants worked with drawing, painting, print, felt­making, weaving and stitch. As they made artwork together, the women shared stories of their home­lives, speaking of the joys of motherhood and the challenges they face. Since the project drew to a close last year the group have continued to make artwork together as friends, drawing on the skills and confidence gained from this unique project. Home was commissioned by People United, The Diocese of Canterbury and Ashford Borough Council, funded by Arts Council England.

3-5 October: Music After Detention: Dover Residency

Music in Detention (MiD), in collaboration with musician Oliver Seagar are running a 3 day residency in Dover, with musicians they worked with whilst incarcerated in the UK’s Immigration Detention System. Until 2015 there was an Immigration Removal Centre in Dover, sited in Dover’s Western Heights Nature Reserve. Some of MiD’s musicians were held there. Includes: 5 October Music After Detention Gig @ The Lighthouse in Deal 20:30 – 23:00 

3-6 October: Custom Folkestone presents: Something Held in the Mouth

A four day festival bringing together artists and creative practitioners to present a diverse programme of art,  events, workshops and talks about the poetics of food, the politics of its migrations and the ways in which our bodies hold these stories. The festival convenes dialogues around the way food crosses boundaries and creates connections across the world, as well as exploring the intersections between art, food and local markets to forge new alliances through geopolitical conversations. Events include, 6 October, Community Meal with menu designed by Lucky Moyo + music from Lucky & friends.

7 October: Platforma 5 Launch event at Kent County Council, Maidstone 17.00-18.30

A special event in partnership with Kent County Council for the official launch of Platforma 5 – contact to reserve a free place

9 October: No Direction Home at Woodville Theatre 19.o0-2o.15

Stand-up performance featuring local people who have attended the workshops, plus special guest headliners. From Counterpoints Arts in partnership with Cohesion Plus & Woodville Theatre.

11 October: Building Partnerships, Huguenot Museum, Rochester 13.00-16.00 – How can museums and heritage organisations engage sustainably with refugees and migrants?

A free seminar from Counterpoints Arts in partnership with the Huguenot Museum and The Migration Museum Project.

11 October: Swale Festival of Light in Sittingbourne, with Cohesion Plus & Ideas Test

Following workshops local schools to create lanterns around core values of respect, excellence, friendship and equality led by artists commissioned for Platforma 5, a parade as part of a colourful community festival.

13 October: No Direction Home at Ypres Tavern, Sittingbourne 19.30-21.00

Stand-up performance featuring local people who have attended the workshops, plus special guest headliners. From Counterpoints Arts in partnership with Ideas Test

15-30 October: Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Art Project, Sittinngbourne Library

Young refugees and asylum seekers have created an art exhibition inspired by their journeys to Kent and hopes for the future.

16-27 October: Why Folkestone? by Aida Silvestri, Brewery Tap, Folkestone

A new exhibition for Platforma 5 by the internationally-exhibited photographer Aida Silvestri. Presented alongside her  previous work Even This Will Pass.

18-25 October: Lilacs In Bloom by Joy C Martindale, Jarman Building – University of Kent

A participatory artwork made in collaboration with survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

18 October – 8 November: Platforma 5 @ 101 Social Club, Margate

As part of their Autumn/Winter programme, 101 Social Club in Margate presents a series of installations, screenings and talks

21-25 October Platforma 5 takeover at Turner Contemporary & 101 Social, Margate

A week-long programme of artist-led engagement & talks linked to 2019 Turner Prize exhibition. Co-commissioned and co-curated by Counterpoints Arts and Turner Contemporary.

Full programme:

Including: 23 October – “Creating an Archive” Exploring the history of arts, refugees and migration projects in Kent. How might we work collectively to bring this archive to life? Led by Julie Neville and Douglas Noble. Plus artist Adam Chodzko in conversation about his new commission for Counterpoints Arts, and looking back at his previous work with refugees and migrants in Kent.

21-26 October: Platforma 5 at Gulbenkian, in partnership with Counterpoints Arts

21-22 October: Pop culture / Young People / Migration & Social Change – retreat, Gulbenkian Pop Culture and Social Change is a pioneering project from Counterpoints Arts exploring how the power of pop culture can be harnessed to shift the way we talk, think and feel about migration and displacement. (Invitation only)

21 October: Pop culture, arts & activism – Gulbenkian 18.00-19.00: A free session open to all, linked to our pop culture retreat. Followed by: 19.30pm Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. – film screening, Guklbenkian
A 2018 biographical documentary film about English rapper, artist & activist M.I.A.. Directed by Steve Loveridge

22 October: Popjustice scratch!, Gulbenkian 17.00:
A free performance, open to all, by participants in the pop culture retreat.

Please note: due to circumstances beyond our control, the performance on 23 October has been cancelled.

24 October: No Direction Home stand-up comedy – featuring Nish Kumar , Gulbenkian.
After a sell-out gig at the Southbank Centre in London, No Direction Home bring a hilarious line-up of comedians from refugee & migrant backgrounds to Canterbury for this one-off gig in partnership with University of Kent. Hosted by Tom Parry with special guest headliner Nish Kumar (The Mash Report). Featuring Abdulwahab Tahhan and Usman Khalid, PLUS Daria Roland, Victor Pang & Alf White. Q&A with Nish Kumar at 6pm.

25 October: The Last Tree, Gulbenkian
A new feature film, written & directed by Shola Amoo. Presented as part of Black History Month by Kent University Union.

26 October: Platforma Family Day,  Gulbenkian, from 10.00
Artist and performer-led workshops, performances and fun for the whole family, around themes of home, identity and migration.

26 October: Rafiki Jazz – Up Close!, Gulbenkian, 20.00
Celebrating unity in diversity with their 4th CD release ‘Saraba Sufiyana’’ (Mystic Utopia) Rafiki Jazz music is ‘a love-letter to this intricate world in all its beauty and complexity’ and features at its heart the compelling vocal quartet of Sufi Sarah Yaseen, Hebrew-Hindi singer-songwriter Avital Raz, Egyptian master-musician Mina Salama and Senegalese griot Kadialy Kouyate. Featuring guest Gaelic vocalist Kaitlin Ross & post-show Q&A hosted by Emily Zaraa.

25 October: The Ship Swallower, Ramsgate, drop in anytime 19.00-21.00

An immersive installation, the latest of Mooch’s explorations of the notorious “ship swallowing” Goodwin Sands and site of countless deaths at sea.

26 October: They Came In Crowded Boats, Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate, 13.30

The Margate Film Festival presents a selection of short films that explore the motivations, challenges and perceptions of global migration and refugee stories.

26 October: Shiva Nova presents Romany Diamonds, Quarterhouse Folkestone, 19.30

Three generations of one traditional Gypsy Roma family playing acoustic magic with fire and soul; amazing audiences with back-to-front violin playing and soul-searching ballads followed by musical Gypsy mayhem. Plus: The World in a Tent Roma exhibition will be in the foyer all day hosting workshops in Roma music from 4pm-5pm and dance from 5pm-6pm for everyone to join in!

27 October: Platforma 5 : Four Artists, Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 11.00

Presentations from Henna Asikainen, Aida Silvestri, Rich Wiles, & Mooch – plus discussions and questions & the launch of the Migrants In Culture survey.

27 October: Re-imagining of The Landing of the Belgian Refugees, Folkestone Harbour, 13.00 

Everybody is invited to join in an historic recreation of Folkestone’s favourite painting The Landing of the Belgian Refugees by Fredo Franzoni. Plus Belgian Waterzooi (fish stew made with Belgian beer!) on the main menu at Custom Folkestone and a free vegan version for the participants.



Platforma arts and refugee network supports and develops arts by, about and with refugees and migrants from marginalised communities. It brings together groups and artists / performers of any background or political status (e.g. refugees and non-refugees). Platforma is run by Counterpoints Arts in partnership with organisations across the country

Platforma 1 took place in London (2011), followed by Manchester (2013), Leicester (2015) & Newcastle and the North East (2017).

Join Platforma