By Tory Davidson
For many who work at the intersection of art and refugee and migrant experiences, the engagement with and the building of communities is key.
Therefore it is only appropriate that a community for the artists, practitioners, academics, and advocates engaging with this subject is built and maintained.
The Platforma Conference (part of the Platforma Festival 2015 in Leicester) created a space for both facilitated and spontaneous conversations between people from a wide variety of backgrounds yet simultaneously passionate about this subject.
I appreciated that witnessing art was at the event’s core, with musical, theatrical, and cinematic performances weaving their way between the discussions of art practices.
The screenings of short films from the Syria Mobile Phone Films Festival, led by director Yasmin Fedda, demonstrated that extraordinary storytelling is not only possible in high conflict areas, but necessary.
Additionally, scholar Dima Saber’s riveting words on the ethical principles of political documentary filmmaking challenged me to deeply consider how stories of conflict should be told.
I find at times that this work can feel like a niche subject, but the Platforma Conference made visible to me the many people and art forms encompassed by this topic. And after only a few short days, the Conference built relationships that will allow these discussions to keep growing, keep conducting energy, and keep inspiring the work.
Tory Davidson (pictured above, right) is a theatre artist and a current Thomas J. Watson Fellow