Journeys Festival International returns to Leciester


Journeys Festival International (JFI) returns for its fifth annual event in Leicester. The festival celebrates the artistic talents of refugee and asylum seekers, sharing their stories through great art and culture. The festival takes place from 21st August – 3rd September and will showcase the finest work from this community through a range of accessible creative events.

The festival began in Leicester in 2013 linking with the city’s history of welcoming diverse cultures. This year, JFI will return to the UK cities of Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth with events also taking place in the European cities of Rome, Palermo, Hamburg and Budapest through the JOURNEYS European project.

Journeys Festival International, Leicester Events as part of Refugee Week, 19 – 25th June 2017 As part of the national Refugee Week festival, JFI is collaborating with the Migration Museum to present an exhibition in the Lightbox Gallery, LCB Depot. The multimedia, immersive exhibition tells the stories of individuals from the Calais ‘Jungle’ in an immersive pop up exhibition featuring a replica refugee shelter, giving an insight into life in the refugee camp. The exhibition will share the stories of the human beings who were overlooked in a polarising political debate. Follow the exhibition at #CalaisStories.

JFI will host the first in a series of Coffee Shop Conversation during Refugee Week in collaboration with Creative Coffee on Wednesday 21st June 10am – Noon. The conversation will be inspired by the Migration Museum collaboration, including a graffiti artwork that will be adorning the exterior of the shelter. These events provide a welcoming space, that encourages open discussion in a safe environment.

Journeys Festival International, Leicester 21st August – 03 September 2017

Friday 18th August – Monday 3rd September: Look Up – JFI’s outdoor, large scale exhibition presents British Journal Photography’s Photographer of the Year Daniel Castro Garcia’s Foreigner: Migration into Europe 2015-2016. Taking refugee experiences to the public realm through an imposing series of photographs, documenting movement across Europe and combatting the sensationalist media images. Large scale photographs will be displayed on buildings for the duration of the festival including BBC Radio Leicester, Curve, Highcross and more.

Friday 18th August – Monday 3rd September: The Container Project – A shipping container will be placed in Orton Square and transformed into an innovative project space with the following experiences taking place:

To mark the beginning of JFI Leicester the shipping container will have a mural designed on it by infamous Manchester graffiti duo Nomad Clan.

At the forefront of visual 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.

Monday 21st August – Friday 1st September: Iranian artist Farhad Berahman exhibits the mystical ShahreFarang at LCB Depot. A traditional Iranian peep-box the ShahreFarang will 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 it is to feel at home.

Friday 25th August: The Official JFI Launch Party at LCB Depot, in partnership with CANTEEN, the biggest street food event in the East Midlands. Featuring live printmaking with Leicester Print Workshop, live music internationally inspired cuisine and fusion food from stallholders and Grays Café.

Sat 26th – Sun 27th August: The Journeys Weekender in Jubilee Square – A free Festival that celebrates influences and talent from around the world in one weekend. Jubilee Square will be transformed into a vibrant melting pot with a world music stage, pop up performances, street food vendors and hands-on, artist-led creative workshops.

Mon 28th – Wed 30th August: Aakash Odedra’s #JeSuis at Curve – Internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer Aakash Odedra returns to his home city of Leicester to preview #JeSuis. Performed by a group of Turkish dancers, the dance piece is inspired by their collective responses to the misinterpretations of their homeland by the western media. Wrapped up in wider issues of displacement, refuge and instability, both politically and geographically, the dancers wish to portray their frustrations about the manipulation of Turkey - which they call ‘home.’ #JeSuis is to be accompanied by a musical score composed by long-term collaborator Nicki Wells.

Sat 2nd – Sun 3rd September: New Walk Takeover – JFI will host a spectacular weekend takeover of New Walk, bringing to life the exhibition spaces, the surrounding New Walk Area including Soft Touch Arts. There will be interactive workshops, pop-up theatre performances, live music, Soft Touch Arts pop up café, spoken word and hands on creative activity for all ages.

Across the Festival: Coffee Shop Conversations are an inclusive space for people to have open discussion with a refugee artist. Debunking myths in an informal and friendly manner, the Coffee Shop Conversations are not to be missed.

Leicester Print Workshop: Artist in Residence. From June there will be a printmaker in residence with Leicester Print Workshop who will be creatively responding to JFI events and training a group of local refugee and asylum seekers in the art of printmaking and workshop leadership. This will result in an exhibition of the work at the LCB Depot’s Print Room during the Festival

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, digitally innovative artworks, visual art, music, food and more. The ArtReach team thanks the portfolio of incredible partners in the city for their support of the festival, a collective show of support from the city to the new arrivals from across the globe.”

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