Skip to main content

Celebrating Refugee Arts: Journeys Festival and Coffee Shop Conversations end of August

We are excited by the plans for the next Journeys Festival in Leicester, organised by ArtReach.

Once again Journeys Festival will be a key component of the City Festival in Leicester, which runs from 22-31 August. Journeys Festival will be focused on the final two days of the City Festival event i.e. Sunday 30 and Monday 31 August (Bank Holiday Monday), with a base in Orton Square at the heart of the Cultural Quarter. However, there will be activity and a presence for the Festival throughout the preceding week.Journeys Festival Logo 2


 On 30 and 31 August there will be a live music stage in Orton Square, presenting an inspiring range of music (11am to 4pm) reflecting the talents of Refugee Artists. The Square will also host special kite design and making workshops led by Refugee Artists, with the opportunity for audiences to also engage with digital kite design and flying!

 Throughout the city, for the duration of the City Festival, a series of extraordinary visual artworks byIraqi artist, Behjat Omer Abdulla, will be presented on large scale posters in an exhibition entitled Look-Up. Look-out too for pop-up performances by stilt artists from Stelzen Arts and Oakleaf Creativity from Germany, who will be seen in extravagant costumes (and on stilts!) on Thursday 27 August.

Coffee Shop Conversations

Journeys Festival will also be enhanced with “Coffee Shop Conversation” events, designed to provide an opportunity for people to hear the experiences of Refugee Artists and to engage in intensive dialogue about refugee issues. We are very excited by the Coffee Shop Conversations project, a programme of informal ‘in-conversation with’ talks in a number of independent Logo with speech bubble_Coffee Cups 1-06coffee shops across Leicester City centre on the theme of ‘Unity through Creativity’.

The events will take place from late August 2015 – to coincide with Leicester City Festival and Journeys Festival (30th to 31st August in Orton Square) and run through to November 2015 – to coincide with the National Refugee Conference (delivered by the Refugee Council/ Counterpoint Arts and hosted by De Montfort University).

The project focuses on bringing people from different backgrounds, ages and communities in Leicester to share in the experiences of refugees to the city – taking that directly to the wider community and encouraging interaction and discussion. Each session will host a specialist arts practitioner and be chaired by an appropriate advocate for the refugee and creative community.

The talks are open to EVERYONE – especially people wanting to learn more about refugee communities. The aim is to recount experiences and invite questions within a shared and relaxed community environment. We want to encourage greater understanding, tolerance and ultimately greater community cohesion through these events and take a small step toward tackling the problem of isolation felt and experienced by many refugees.

Come along to listen, share and enjoy delicious complimentary tea/coffee and snacks in one of the wonderful independent cafes in Leicester.