Portsmouth Journeys Festival celebrates refugee artists

Portsmouth will host a showcase of work exploring the refugee experience at a number of the city’s venues during the Journeys Festival from 10th through 22nd October 2016.

The programme includes theatre productions, gallery exhibitions, coffeeshop discussions, art, and other media.

Curated and produced by Leicester-based contemporary arts agency ArtReach, the festival intends to showcase exceptional work, raise awareness of refugee experiences, and create a conversation within the community through art and culture.

The programme comprises the following events:


Look Up with Aspex Gallery

Delivered in partnership with Aspex, Look up is a high-impact, large-scale outdoor visual arts exhibition presented on the exteriors of selected buildings across Portsmouth.

Look Up presents Greek artist Nikos Papadopoulos’s colorful series, ‘Plasticobilism’ — a series of images inspired by the artist watching his young son play with Playmobil figures. The exhibition provides a thought-provoking comment on current refugee issues.

Look Up runs from 10th through 22nd October — the full span of Journeys Festival.


Coffee Shop Conversations

Three free opportunities for the public to discuss and exchange views with refugee artists over the domestic ritual of coffee and cake.

Taking place at Aurora (Albert Road), Javalicious (North end), and the Guildhall Café (City Centre), each session is facilitated by a chairperson, with guests including Malcolm Little from British Red Cross, novelist and poet Miriam Halahmy, and Dr. Nora Siklodi, Lecturer in Politics and European Studies

The three sessions take place on 12th, 17th, and 19th October respectively.


Sanctuary & Sustenance: The Story of Many Journeys to the UK

A multimedia projection of photography, film, and music in the stunning setting of Portsmouth Cathedral.

Through photographs, moving graphics, and music, viewers will have the opportunity to trace the journey of a family during the catastrophic events of displacement, onto their path of sanctuary, and through the long process of rebuilding life in a new community.

This presentation takes place from 7:30pm on Friday 21st October.


Burning Doors at the New Theatre Royal

ya-hudozhnik-ya-tak-vizhu-kak-socseti-otreagirovali-na-podzhog-zdaniya-fsb-blogery-burno-otreagirovali-na-performans-rossiyskogo-hudozhnika-petra-pavlenskogo_1.jpeg

Belarus Free Theatre, an extraordinary refugee theatre company, present the blazingly contemporary production Burning Doors, featuring the theatre debut of Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot.

Following an incredible reception from audiences and critics, the acclaimed production will be coming to Portsmouth to tell the true stories of persecuted artists Petr Pavlensky, Oleg Sentsov, and Maria Alyokhina, who live under dictatorship but refuse to be silenced.

Burning Doors hits the New Theatre Royal stage from 7:30pm through 9:00pm on Friday 14th October.


Pop-Up Theatre at University of Portsmouth’s Eldon Building

A free pop-up theatre performance takes place at a non-traditional outdoor theatre venue, presenting an immersive, interactive piece of dance-theatre fusion organised by the New Theatre Royal and Pamodzi Creative Productions.

Entitled 10,000 Missing Children, the production explores the current refugee crisis, with specific focus on the 10,000 refugee children who are currently missing in Europe alone.

RSVP to this event on Facebook to let your friends know you’re going and support the organisers »


‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’: Kite Making and Flying Workshops at Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall will host two interactive kite-flying workshops on Saturday 15th October for all ages to enjoy, celebrating traditional kite designs which have been an essential part of childhood in places like India and Afghanistan for hundreds of years.

Across the globe, kite-flying is synonymous with freedom, the outdoors, imagination, and possibilities. Join expert kite-makers from the International Kite Project to learn how to make your own kite based on these designs.

These workshops run from 11:00am through 4:00pm.


The Container Project at University of Portsmouth’s Eldon Building

A shipping container will be transformed into an innovative project space in the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries’ Eldon Building courtyard.

The container will host the Well Come Project in partnership with Portsmouth’s Aspex Gallery, the British Red Cross, and Friends Without Borders.

Well Come will engage young participants from the refugee asylum seeker community in visual arts workshops leading to an exhibition of their work.

Southsea artist M-One will guide participants to spray the façade of the container with a design highlighting the theme of the festival.


Catherine Harper, Professor of Textiles and Dean of the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Journeys Festival International is an extremely important event for this city, given its multi-cultural population and the live issue of refugees and asylum seekers here.

“[The] University of Portsmouth employs and educates over one in ten of the city’s overall headcount, with staff and students from many places and cultures, flowing in and out of the city with knowledge as their currency, so it was vital for us to engage.

“Situating The Container Project in the courtyard of the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at Eldon makes a powerful statement about inclusion and humanity, respect of difference, and intellectual and creative curiosity, and this is both affirming and vital at this time and in this place.”

David Hill, Director of ArtReach, added: “From its delivery elsewhere in the country, it is already clear that Journeys Festival International is a programme of great significance, and ArtReach is very pleased to be bringing the project to Portsmouth.

“We hope that the great art that will be shared and the exciting refugee artists whose work will be made visible will touch a chord with Portsmouth communities and enable increased awareness and understanding.”

Find out more about Journeys Festival Portsmouth on the event’s website »