From Moss Side to Moston, Manchester audiences turned out in their thousands to witness a wide array of arts, events, live music and conversations as part of a very successful third year for ArtReach’s, Journeys Festival International Manchester.
Outdoor exhibition, Home+Identity by artist Kate Daudy, , witnessed large scale art work installed at Selfridges, The Great Northern and the National Football Museum alongside smaller scale street interventions. Daudy’s text based work involved a series of positive messages created using felt fonts which were dotted around the city centre in unexpected locations.
The launch of the Festival itself, included poetry, theatre and a rehearsed reading directed by Box of Tricks Theatre of a play last seen by the public during World Refugee year 1959-1960. Take Back Theatre also presented Be//Longing, a powerful, script in hand performance placed strategically outside of artist Matilda Glen’s touching installation inspired by housing in the Calais Jungle called Crossing Borders.
Throughout the week, people were invited along to local libraries to see performance poetry that was created as a reaction to an artefact from Manchester Museum. Ancient Objects, New Writing hosted four artists, who created four unique stories, about four artefacts, which were performed in four locations across the city.
There was a Journeys Festival International first as audiences were invited along to the UK premiere of Soufra, a film about a long term resident of a refugee camp who has successfully created her own catering company from inside the camp!
Plus thousands turned out to support a full day of live music from around the world at the music stage in Manchester Cathedral Gardens. Journeys Live celebrated music from around the globe and featured a community choir who performed alongside professional musicians in front of local audiences.
Though there were many more elements to the fantastic ten day Festival, the final day, Sunday was all about creativity. Working in partnership with Celebrating Syria, the Family Creative Celebration day saw hundreds of families, from many different backgrounds, pour through the doors at The Whitworth. Families had a great time building dens, making Origami creations, learning Arabic Calligraphy and kite making in the stunning surroundings of this amazing art gallery.
The Festival has been a marvellous way to showcase the work of exceptional artists and exploring refugee and asylum seeker experiences through great art. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Film Hub North, Film Audience Network, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts and Humanities Research Council and Manchester City Council we’re already making plans for Journeys Festival International Manchester 2019!