Journeys Festival International – Leicester – Manchester – Portsmouth 15-24 October 2021

Journeys Festival International

15 – 24 October 2021

Leicester – Manchester – Portsmouth

Credit: Where There is Light will appear in each city during the festival. (Image credit: Mikal Ludlow)

One Journeys Festival International – Three Cities – Ten Days

Journeys Festival International, the UK’s first festival of Sanctuary, has delivered the annual festival created by artists exploring the refugee experience and global cultures for almost a decade. In 2020, the pandemic decreed that the festival – which usually delivers at different points of the year in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth – went fully digital for the first time. However, in 2021 the team behind the festival have decided to go one step further and deliver the whole festival in three different cities during the same ten days this October.

From 15 to 24 October, the three cities will be filled with large-scale exhibitions, performances, workshops, virtual reality experiences, global cuisine and digital projects, mostly for free or a small donation. 

Lorna Fulton, Creative Director for ArtReach, producers of the festival, shares the inspirations behind this new concept for the festival: “Even though programming festival activities in all three cities at the same time brings new challenges, we want to engage a broader audience by making the same artworks accessible in all three festival cities. This will give both the artists and audience members the possibility of exploring the artworks in more depth and increasing their impact by showcasing them in the Midlands, the North and the South of the country. Thanks to Arts Council England and Creative Europe funding we’re able to keep the majority of the festival free to attend too, helping us to reach new audiences across the nation.”

The programme includes a fantastic selection of cultural events and creative activities that will intrigue and entertain audience members up and down the country. Journeys Festival International wants to encourage people to stop by and engage with topics of refugee experiences and artists with sanctuary seeking backgrounds in a creative context.

Working with partners around the UK, the immersive sound and light installation Where There Is Light by Squidsoup captures the voices and stories of sanctuary seeking communities in Leicester, Portsmouth, Coventry and Hull, asking questions of connection and transformation in these current challenging times. Reckoning – by Choreographer and Storyteller Akeim Toussaint Buck as part of a collaboration with European artists – uses contemporary dance, animation and spoken word to weave the stories of generations of displaced people into a performance piece. The large-scale outdoor animation Bloodland Embrace by Majid Adin will bring local communities together to enjoy an evening of projections around favourite city centre locations.

With an amazing line-up of international artists, the festival will bring flavours of different cultures from around the world to Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth – all at the same time! For more information, visit the website

ArtReach (

ArtReach is a cultural development charity and Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, which in addition to consultancy and public art commissioning has a substantial and long track record in delivering successful Festivals and arts events. Its aim is to make great art possible and accessible, connecting art with grass roots and diverse communities to forge creative engagement.

Journeys Festival International (

Proudly produced by ArtReach, Journeys Festival International is a multi-art form platform that celebrates the talents of exceptional refugee and asylum seeker artists and shares refugee stories through great art. Journeys Festival International is now established in the cities of Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth.

Arts Council England (

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

LIBERTY EU Programme (

LIBERTY is a partnership project led by UK based cultural development charity ArtReach. LIBERTY brings together 12 cultural partners from 10 countries, partners with shared values and commitment to high quality artistic commissioning, audience development and engagement of young people.

Partners with ArtReach (UK) for LIBERTY are: Altonale GmbH (Germany), Museo dei Bambini (Italy), CESIE (Italy), Teatrul National Radu Stanca Sibiu (Romania), Aalborg Karneval (Denmark), Centar za promociju zdavnh stilova zivota udruzene (Center E8, for promoting lifestyles) (Serbia), CNC Danse (Nathalie Cornille Company) (France), Pionirski dom – Center za kulturo mladiih (Slovenia), Den Selvejende Institution Swinging Europe (Denmark). Trafo House of Contemporary Arts (Hungary), European Educational Exchanges – Youth for Understanding (Belgium). LIBERTY EU is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.


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