Refugee Week Festival at HOME

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Hostile Detainment, These Walls Must Fall. Refugee Week Festival, HOME Manchester

Refugee Week Festival at HOME Manchester, Manchester 16 — 22 June 2018 Entrance is free

While much public hand-wringing has occurred over the influx of refugees entering Europe over the last couple of years, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme that actively celebrates their contribution to the UK and seeks to educate and raise awareness around ‘the refugee experience’ through art. This year, HOME is taking part with an inaugural festival of exhibitions, performances, theatre, live music and film showcasing the work of contemporary refugee artists based in Manchester and beyond, programmed in conjunction with Community Arts North West. It’s a pretty packed line-up, so here are some of our key highlights.

Cinema-wise, be sure to catch Ai Weiwei’s epic film journey, Human Flow (2017), shot over one year in over 20 different countries and giving powerful visual expression to the plight of migrants around the world. The screening will be preceded by a semi-enacted ‘political protest action’ led by Virtual Migrants and These Walls Must Fall outside HOME, highlighting the injustice of immigration detention and paying tribute to the 120 women on hunger strike at Yarlswood Detention Centre during March this year.

Also essential viewing is Through Our Eyes (2018) from BAFTA-award winning director Samir Mehanovic (a Muslim refugee himself who escaped the murderous Bosnian Wars of the 1990s), which offers a fresh personal insight into the human catastrophe of the Syrian conflict. And Adam Sobel’s The Workers Cup (2017), which provides a glimpse into the infamous labour camps of Qatar and will be followed by a special panel discussion and Q&A with film producer Rosie Garthwaite.

From screen to stage, Gone by Music Action International and Box Tale Soup enacts a remarkable tale of resilience inspired by the true stories of refugee torture survivor collective Stone Flowers; and One More Push by Iranian exile Fereshteh Mozaffari will use storytelling and dance to lead audience members on a bitter-sweet journey of displacement, integration, change and resilience.

The one-week programme also features workshops, DJ-sets, live music and numerous pop-up participatory events. Listen to the unheard stories of migration from the UK and across the globe transmitted via a series of telephones dotted throughout HOME as part of an art intervention by Take Back. Try your hand(s legs, arms and whole body) at Bollywood, African and Caribbean dance, or at playing traditional and contemporary African music. And step inside the Travelling Heritage Bureau – a two-day exhibition featuring a diverse body of work by international women artists based in the North West, as well as offering a rare space of resistance, creativity and inclusion.

Acting as a festival-within-a-festival and returning for its second year, Syrian Arts Festival Manchester brings together art and music by a collection of UK and Europe-based Syrian artists; Queer Café Takeover will spotlight the experiences of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester; and 20-year-old Madz prepares to beatbox as she once did on the streets and stages of her old home in Damascus (Syria).

This may all sound like a lot to squeeze into just seven days, but there’s still plenty more we haven’t mentioned. Altogether, Refugee Week Festival at HOME should offer a powerfully moving, as well as eye-opening encounter with the scale of the daily challenges facing refugees, asylum seekers and migrants both at home and around the world. We strongly recommend everyone to go.

Refugee Week Festival at HOME Manchester, Manchester 16 — 22 June 2018 Entrance is free

What's on at HOME Manchester

Blue Beard at HOME
Blue Beard at HOME

Emma Rice and Wise Children return with a beguiling and feminist folk tale exploring curiosity, consent and the power of vengeance.

from £11.20

Where to go near Refugee Week Festival at HOME

Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
Music venue
The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

Event venue

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

Café or Coffee Shop
Burgess Cafe Bar

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

Rain Bar pub in Manchester
City Centre
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Rain Bar

This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

Bar or Pub
The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

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