Blog written by Simon Brown, Managing Director of ArtReach.

As we roll away the Journeys Festival International banners, and gather up the survey forms at the end of another great year for the festival, it’s a chance to reflect on some amazing moments.

One thing that has struck me is the importance of stories and the incredible power of those stories being shared in different ways, whether through poetry, visual art, performance, or film. Over the past 7 years, Journeys Festival International has provided a platform for many stories to be told, and at the launch of Journeys Festival International in Portsmouth this year we heard remarkable stories from four people who were part of a project called Celebrating Journeys run by Pamodzi Creatives working with local Portsmouth residents on the theme of Overcoming. Though each story tackled challenging subjects, they all ended with hope. 

As an organisation, one of the aims of ArtReach is to contribute to a greater understanding of others through artistic engagement and to encourage those who engage to become more socially aware, and to question social and political values. We want people to be challenged but also to discover stories of hope. 

Journeys Festival International Leicester in partnership with De Montfort University hosted the photographic exhibition I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See by Giles Duley. This was an incredible exhibition that documented the lives of individuals and families affected by war in a way that captured a celebration of life and hope, and hearing Giles talk about his work was inspiring.  This was just one of many highlights from the Festival programme this year and we look forward to sharing more stories as the Festival returns in 2020.

See more on the Journeys Festival International website here