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Pop Culture – Young People – Migration & Social Change
2nd July 2019

Pop Culture – Young People – Migration & Social Change


21-22 October 2019, Gulbenkian, University of Kent, Canterbury

A 2-day ‘retreat’ as part of Platforma 5


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.

As part of Platforma 5, the fifth arts & refugees festival run by Counterpoints Arts, we are holding an event in partnership with Gulbenkian exploring how youth-focused pop culture formats can create positive social change relating to migration and displacement.

We are inviting applications from UK-based young people (aged 16-30) who are interested in attending and taking part. The deadline for applications is 19th July 2019.


We will focus on three pop culture strands:

– Music
– Videogames
– Online TV

Across the 2-days there will be a chance to engage with all three areas in relation to social change / migration & displacement, and the opportunity to focus on areas of particular interest.

All expenses will be covered, including food, travel, childcare and accommodation.

Benefits from participation could include:

– Networking & learning opportunities
– A platform for your views
– Participation in the artistic programme
– General skills & knowledge development (eg critical thinking)
– Industry specific skills & knowledge development (especially in relation to the three strands)

We would like participants who are:

– Experienced in & passionate about the arts (not necessarily professionally)
– Keen to participate in workshops and discussions Open to new ideas about the arts and social change
– Respectful of other people and able to work collaboratively

We are particularly interested in people with knowledge and experience of one or more of the main strands: music, videogames, online TV. However, this is not essential.


Please submit a CV and up to 250 words (or a short video) on why you would like to attend the retreat – including what you might contribute and what you would hope to get from the event.

Applications should be sent to not later than 7pm on Friday 19th July.

Queries should be sent to


During the retreat all participants will have the opportunity to engage with content from all three main strands. For example, we will look at Bury Me, My Love the recent videogame from The Pixel Hunt. And we will be considering:

– Examples from mainstream and ‘alternative’ games

– The impact of videogames on understanding of migration

– Diversity within the games industry

– How new games can be developed and distributed

– Building a network of people with an interest in videogames & migration

On the evening of 21st October, there will be a screening of the documentary MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

With regards to music, migration and displacement we will consider issues such as:

– How artists are changing the distribution models for new music so as to be in more control of their output and create new opportunities

– Approaches to bringing issues such as migration into artists’ creative output

– How to make effective links between arts & activism

– Learning from the musical archives

And we will look at how online TV from BBC 3, Netflix and others can engage wide audiences through drama and comedy. Questions to be considered might include:

– What opportunities already exist for young creatives from refugee & migrant background?

– What more can broadcasters do to increase opportunity?

– Where are the potential crossovers between self-made content and  ‘broadcast’ content and where are the differences?

– What might the industry look like five years from now?