ArtReach makes great art possible and accessible, connecting art with grass roots and diverse communities to forge creative engagement

Journeys Into Film Call for Entries 2021 Programme

November 18th, 2020|Comments Off on Journeys Into Film Call for Entries 2021 Programme

Journeys Into Film is the film strand of Journeys Festival International, a national festival which explores global cultures and refugee experiences through art and culture. 

We are interested in driving discussion, sharing stories of belonging and movement, and highlighting global issues of displacement and refuge. Using our platform as a place for inspiration and collaboration, we want to work with filmmakers and artists to screen their films across the UK throughout 2021 and beyond. 

Journeys Into Film looks to share and highlight stories through programmes that challenge, diversify, and enrich debates and understandings of migration, displacement, seeking sanctuary, and borders. We have a large North and Midlands, UK based audience, and partnerships with independent cinemas and community film centres where the programme will be exhibited.   

Journeys Festival International is produced by ArtReach.

Journey’s Into Film is supported by Film Hub North and Midlands

What we are looking for

Journeys Into Film is seeking submissions of short films to form part of a film programme will tour to multiple venues as part of festivals and existing events. We welcome submissions made by emerging or established filmmakers, directors, producers and writers with lived experience of seeking sanctuary – based in the UK or Internationally. 

We enjoy fiction and non-fiction films up to 30 minutes in length. These are with an eye to share with our North/Midlands based UK audience, therefore we require films to be subtitled in English language. It is great if your film is already subtitled, though if it is not and you can provide an English language transcript, we can arrange subtitling. 

Through this programme we seek to engage a wide range of people across the UK – this will include a combination of those who have an interest in short form film – as well as more general audiences  – including families and young people. As such our programme for Journeys Into Film will be open to a balance of subjects, narratives and themes.

To apply you must meet the following criteria:

  •   You are an artist with experience of seeking sanctuary; or your work responds to ongoing dialogue/collaboration with someone with a refugee or asylum seeking history
  •   Your film has been completed and you do not need support to for any further development (we are not able to support new commissions or any restaging or creation costs)
  •   Films must be between 5min and 30 mins in duration
  •   Films must be available in a digital format – capable of being presented online  in cinemas, and in gallery or non conventional settings through screens and tv.
  •   Your film is told in English or is subtitled in English (or can be provided with an English transcript)
  •   You must have permission from collaborators, suppliers, actors and funders to share and present the film in this context, or ownership of copyright 
  •   You are eligible to work in the country in which you live – this can be outside of the UK

Each selected filmmaker will receive a £75 fee per screening of their film. Where selected, each film will be promoted as part of the Journey Into Film programme. 

It is free to enter your film. 

How to Apply

Please complete the Film Entry Form by following the link. We will ask you to provide

  •   A short proposal introducing the film including a brief narrative of the work, details  of collaborators and actors involved in the creation
  •   Details of any funders and supporters involved in creating or distributing the work
  •   Details of where the film has been screened to date
  •   Details of any age classification – either received or perceived
  • Your CV (if available)
  •   Links to the film hosted online or video file transferred to the email address above

If you have any questions, issue with the form, or want to discuss your application further please contact 

If you are unable to submit on the google form, please email reba@artreach a dropbox file, a screening link, or to discuss alternative ways of submission.  

Application deadline: Friday 4th December, 10am

Looking for new Associates (freelance)

October 20th, 2020|Comments Off on Looking for new Associates (freelance)

Due to growing demand, ArtReach is seeking experienced fundraisers and project/programme evaluators to support our consultancy services offered to a wide cross section of organisations from the community and cultural sector.

In particular, we would love to hear from people with experience in writing fundraising applications to community funders, Trusts and Foundations and National Lottery funders, and who would be interested in supporting ArtReach at busy times on a freelance basis.

Although ArtReach is a cultural agency, we are currently facing demand our services from the wider community sector and therefore would welcome Associates with experience of working with a range of organisations, charities and groups, not necessarily within arts or culture.

If you are interested, please send your CV and freelance day rate, along with details of some successful projects you have delivered (please list the funder, client, amount, date, and one paragraph project description), and contact details to Jo Dacombe, Arts & Heritage Consultant,

Please note that ArtReach staff are currently working remotely and Associates will need to have this capability. ArtReach work nationally and Associates can be based in any part of the UK.

Any questions? Contact Jo Dacombe on


Beyond the Equal Opportunities Statement

October 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Beyond the Equal Opportunities Statement

Vicki Arogundade is a member of the ArtReach board of directors and contributes her second blog examining the increased focus on organisations to be truly representative of their audiences and wider society, while considering ArtReach’s history with diversity and inclusion.

This summer organisations across the world have been asking themselves some big questions, to try and figure out if their organisation is truly diverse. 

  • What does it mean to have a diverse organisation?
  • Is it enough to have a representative proportion of individuals with protected characteristics on their staff team? 
  • Does the organisation’s equal opportunities policy need to be recirculated and re-signed? 
  • Have they done enough? 

These are important questions to ask. Nearly every business holds an equal opportunities policy, anti-discrimination procedure and joined in with expressing solidarity for the BLM movement – yet few can be sure that internal stakeholders would agree they work in a positively diverse environment. Fewer still can demonstrate representation embedded into the infrastructure of the organisation and diversity represented at all levels of the organisation. Most can tick a couple of these boxes, few could tick all of them.

Even today, after reams of policies and statements, it is still hard to find organisations that give equal weight and respect to diverse voices. Yet despite the odds, this is an area in which ArtReach has excelled for years. 

The organisation goes to great lengths to elevate the quietest voices, co-producing cultural programmes with diverse communities rather than making commissioning decisions in isolation and making assumptions of what these audiences would like to see and hear.  This is underpinned by an organisation that reflects diversity at all levels – from junior staff through to the most senior, from festival performers through to audience members. 

This investment in diversity has earnt the organisation a strong rating from Arts Council England in August 2020 in recognition of its contribution to the Creative Case for Diversity. 

“World class”

Audience Member 

The ArtReach approach to working in collaboration with diverse communities (such as refugee and asylum seekers) has enabled the organisation to build higher quality festival programmes and create welcoming environments that actually excite audiences. These programmes have consistently attracted large diverse audiences, as well as the support of inaccessible cohorts who are traditionally the hardest to engage in the arts. It speaks volumes that the organisation chose to develop this way of working and embed diversity into its core many years before it became a funding requirement and prior to this summer’s equality protests. It’s an example that goes some way to demonstrating that diversity really is good for business. 

“That we are all the same and we need to remember that!”

Audience Member

Does Diversity Matter? 

ArtReach has a solid track record of consistently engaging a high percentage of diverse audiences at live events by working alongside communities and co-producing programmes that resonate for these audiences.

“I have had a fantastic time and have been extremely moved by the speakers.”

Audience Member 

Working in collaboration with diverse communities avoids common faux pas that have tripped up other well-meaning cultural festivals, Black history month celebrations and Windrush events. 

Nuances are missed, cultures get confused and the celebratory events programmed in the absence of members from these communities is glaringly obvious to the members within it. The end results are superficial events that run the risk of insulting the communities they intended to serve. 

ArtReach has demonstrated a sensitive approach to cultural content creation and commissioning, which has resulted in the production of higher quality creative outputs, added depth and richer subject matter. When coupled with a talented and dedicated staff team, this has cumulated to create programmes that enthuse local communities, grow the organisation’s profile through word of mouth and build its reputation as a leading national and international cultural festival organiser. 

Lovely atmosphere, proud to see every age group, ethnicity etc. all coming together”

Audience Member 


The Role of the Arts: Escapism or Evolution?

September 7th, 2020|Comments Off on The Role of the Arts: Escapism or Evolution?

Vicki Arogundade is a member of the ArtReach board of directors and contributes her first blog examining the key role of festivals, like ArtReach’s festivals, for social change and unity. 

As a young girl, my mother took me to every carnival, light show and community celebration in the vicinity. Although I generally enjoyed these types of shows, there were occasionally times I adamantly refused to attend. These were the days before person-centered parenting had a trending hashtag on Twitter, so my opinion was overruled and I found myself in the crowds regardless. Turns out this was an instance in which mother knew best, as seconds after the show had started my grumpy mood was transformed by the electric buzz in the air and in no time I was mesmerized by the show. 

It didn’t take long for me to get the bug and I continued to attend creative productions in my locality as well as coordinating my holiday schedule to follow the international festival circuit around the UK.  I never fail to be impressed by seeing these events animate outdoor spaces and offer a rare opportunity for the whole community to socialize together. It was like a huge street party in which everyone’s invited – regardless of affluence, age, ethnicity or disability. 

“A truly fantastic, thought-provoking and inspiring exhibition, filled with sublime and beautiful artworks that make one’s heart sing” 

Audience Member, Journeys Festival International

Years later, my career as a marketing specialist within arts and disability charities led me to cross paths with ArtReach and eventually join the Board of Trustees. It was from this position I was able to see how the role of local arts festivals had evolved into something bigger. Now, it offers more than a brief interlude from the daily routine, more than just escapism. It has become a tool to enable us to better understanding ourselves, comprehend our place in the world, as well as a method of reflecting on injustice, inequalities and challenging the biases we didn’t know we had.

There have been numerous courageous practitioners and organisations that have played a part in pioneering the use of the arts for social change, in different cities and across the world countries (personal favourites include the Theatre of the Oppressed, Welfare State, Jessica Rost and Fela Kuti). I was lucky enough to have ArtReach in my vicinity, actively programming events throughout my region.

It was here that I saw high-quality creative pieces being used to tackle politically-sensitive topics and ponder what it means to be human, at a time when few (individuals or organisations) dared to broach potentially contentious subjects for fear of negative repercussions or reputational damage. 

Now the precedence has been set, it is now clear to see how well-placed creative mediums are positioned to harness the transformative power of the arts, not just entertain, but to educate and elevate.

 “… have been very impressed and moved by the subject matter and quality of the artwork” 

Festival Participant 

For 22 years, ArtReach was brave enough to put its head above the parapet and programme thought-provoking live events, designed to remind us of our shared humanity. The festivals bring together people of different cultures, encourage us to re-examine our stereotypes and challenge the validity of our underlying assumptions.

  • delicate white figurines arranged side by side against black backdrop

International Arts Festival Announces New Commissions as Part of Digital Festival

July 30th, 2020|Comments Off on International Arts Festival Announces New Commissions as Part of Digital Festival

Journeys Festival International (Produced by ArtReach) has announced 4 new commissions and a film programme as part of its 2020 digital Festival, taking place online from 28th September – 18th October 2020. The annual Festival, which explores the refugee experience through great art, usually takes place in the cities of Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth but for 2020 has created a digital special, which will reach new audiences in the UK and across Europe.

The commissions range from international interdisciplinary projects exploring an intergalactic journey through the UK’s immigration system and also how to engage politically when you don’t have access to sound. The new works will all explore the experiences and cultures of artists who have sought sanctuary in the UK.

For the first time, the Festival also features themes for each week and the artistic responses and content responding to each theme. Week one of the Festival will be ‘Exploring the World We Live In’ and features, This is Not For Me Now, an exhibition of performative photographs responding to the pandemic by Iman Tajik. Iman is an Iranian artist and photographer based in Glasgow. Tajik’s work is anchored in a strong social interest and demonstrates an effort to make work that is a critical tool connected to international movements for social change. 

In week two, the Festival will explore ‘The Way We See the World’ and hosts a new commission from Maral Mamaghanizadeh, titled, If You Want to be Alive. This incredible documentary explores Maral’s work as an artist and Deaf female refugee, using her bone china ear jewellery. Maral’s incredibly delicate jewellery looks at the different levels of hearing impairments experienced by the hard of hearing community and when pressed to the ear actually replicates those sound restrictions for a fully hearing audience member. 

The final week of the Festival is themed ‘Hope and Celebration’ and features an exciting sci-fi tale and 3D experience by two Manchester based artists, Another Story Collective. Exploring the imaginary planet, Mancunia, DOWN UP SIDE is a science fiction tale of the journey of Bedos Mavambu (aka Kwabo Nkisi) from the Republic Democratic of Congo to the planet Mancunia. The tale is told through spoken word poetry, soundscapes and 3D illustrations. This visually stunning journey will be available at from 12th to 18th October.

Alongside a full Festival programme of interactive activities for families and artists, a series of conversations with  Somali-British activist and writer, Magid Magid, exhibitions and performances, audiences are invited to join a series of film broadcasts too. The films cover a range of subject matter from a Pirate Radio station in Paris, a short film about a mystery postal delivery and a collection of performed poetry pieces by artist Inua Ellams.

The Festival also hosts cook-along sessions in Global Kitchen, teaching audiences new dishes from around the world, podcasts, animations, interactive art installations and live comedy. It’s fair to say that in 2020, Journeys Festival International really does have something for all audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their own digital screens.

Keep your eyes on their website,, for the full programme announcements in August and save the dates 28th September – 18th October to show your support for an array of artists and Festival content from across the globe. 

Black Lives Matter

June 16th, 2020|Comments Off on Black Lives Matter

A message from the ArtReach Board of Trustees 

At ArtReach we stand with those around the world who are speaking out against injustice and racism, and at this particular time in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. For us this needs to go beyond a statement, or a social media campaign – we try to take action.

We will continue to listen, and to be a platform for the voices of the artists from all communities. We will continue to learn through promoting education, discussion, providing opportunities that help bring about change, and by continuously reflecting how we, as an organisation, can do that more in the future. We will continue to review diverse representation on our board, and within our staff team, to ensure different voices are represented, and we are committed to making power and decision-making diverse.