Manchester will see a whole range of innovative activity from exceptional refugee artists in Journeys Festival International from 1st- 12th October.

From extraordinary theatre, an outdoor gallery, coffee shop conversations with refugees, pop up theatre, music and arts in the Container Project- the city will celebrate the artistic talent and incredible stories of refugee artists. Produced by Leicester based ArtReach, the festival intends to create conversation within the community through arts and culture.

Events include:


Devised by the Company under the direction of Wyllie Longmore, assisted by Magdalen Bartlett.

Members of the Royal Exchange Theatre's World Wide Workshop present memories from their lives, told in 10 episodes - Perceptions, Miscommunication, Changes, Tears, A Boat, Snow, Helplessness, Sunshine, Separation & Loss and Identity.


Also at:
THE CONTAINER PROJECT - 5.30pm - St Ann's Square, M2 7DH


Images from Jamal Jameel

Look Up (01 – 12 October)

High impact, large scale outdoor visual arts exhibition on the exteriors of iconic buildings across Manchester’s cityscape, including the National Football Museum, Manchester Library and Piccadilly Gardens. Iraqi born commissioned artist Jamal Jameel was selected from an open-call to artists within the Manchester refugee and asylum seeker community. Journeys Festival International presents Jameel’s assisted self-portraits of refugees, which explores the relationship of the viewer and subject.

Manchester Museum #JourneysFest Takeover (Saturday 8 October)

Manchester Museum will be taken over for the day with a host of activities including the International Kite Project, Conversation Corner, Pop Up Theatre performances, music from Sarah Yaseen and spoken word with Hafsah Aneela Bashir.

The Container Project (05 – 12 October)

A shipping container will be transformed into an innovative project space in St. Ann’s Square to host:

The Graffiti Project featuring street art duo Nomad Clan

The Story Behind Me

A visual art exhibition developed with the Royal Exchange Theatre’s World Wide Workshop and photographer Amanda Crowther. The international World Wide Workshop group includes new and settled refugees and asylum seekers, such as Look Up artist Jamal Jameel, who are helped to celebrate their own creativity.


A series of workshops developed with Rethink Rebuild Society, to unlock and showcase the creative potential of members of the local refugee community.

Coffee Shop Conversations (6, 8 and 11 October)

An opportunity for the public to discuss and exchange views with refugees and refugee artist over the domestic ritual of coffee and cake. Chairs include Mariam Ibrahim Yusuf, Woman of the Year (Women on the Move Awards), theatre director Rachel Brogan, and Dr Jonathan Darling from the University of Manchester.

Burning Doors by Belarus Free Theatre at Contact (10 – 12 October)

This extraordinary refugee theatre company present the blazingly contemporary production Burning Doors, featuring the theatre debut of Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot. Following an incredible reception from audiences, the acclaimed production will be coming to Manchester, to tell the true stories of persecuted artists; Petr Pavlensky, Oleg Sentsov and Maria Alyokhina. Pop Up Theatre (5 – 8 October, various locations)

Free Pop Up theatre performances

Taking place in a variety of non-traditional theatre venues across Greater Manchester, including HOME, North City Library, University of Manchester, Oldham Library, Wythenshawe Forum and Manchester Museum. The Pop Up performances are inspired by the refugee and asylum seeker experience, and development workshops with Belarus Free Theatre. These will be presented by Royal Exchange Theatre and Community Arts North West who have both been working with a refugee community cast.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said

"Manchester today is a richly diverse and cultural city, thanks in no small part to the welcome it has always given people from different countries and communities. Journeys Festival International is a reminder of this proud history, and I’m very much looking forward to getting out and about and seeing the works on show.”

For more information please see www.journeysfestival.com and follow the conversation at @Journeysfest