Audience members were then asked to join the team at Matilda Glen’s remarkable installation, ‘Crossing Borders’ that is displayed outside The Whitworth for the duration of the Festival, and for a performance by Take Back Theatre. Glen’s installation explores the hardships endured by displaced people and uses the power of art to challenge media reporting of the current migration climate. Surely, no more suitable setting could be found for the powerful performance by Take Back Theatre, as dusk descended on the gallery and gardens the audience was hushed by their dramatic portrayal of the reality behind news headlines.
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, We Can Talk About it in the Car by artist Kate Daudy, witnessed large scale art works installed at Selfridges, The Great Northern and the National Football Museum alongside smaller scale street interventions.
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. Glen’s installation explores the hardships endured by displaced people and uses the power of art to challenge media reporting of the current migration climate. Surely, no more suitable setting could be found for the powerful performance by Take Back Theatre, as dusk descended on the gallery and gardens the audience was hushed by their dramatic portrayal of the reality behind news headlines.
Throughout the festival 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.
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.
Working in partnership with Celebrating Syria, the Family Creative Celebration Sunday 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 marvelous 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.
See highlights from the festival in the film and gallery below.