Leicester has long been known as a cultural melting pot, so it’s no surprise that several of the cities influential cultural organisations and charities are hosting a whole array of activities for the 20th anniversary of ‘Refugee Week’. ArtReach, which delivers the annual 10 day Journeys Festival International from 17-26 August, is working in partnership with Leicester Cathedral, British Red Cross, New Walk Museum and De Montfort University to create a full week of completely free events for local communities to participate in and enjoy. A particular highlight is the installation of Arabella Dorman’s extraordinary artwork, Suspended, composed of clothing discarded on the beaches of Lesbos, which launches in Leicester Cathedral on 20 June, World Refugee Day.

At LCB Depot, ArtReach holds a week long exhibition, MIGRATE, featuring work from 8 international artists. MIGRATE launches on Monday 18 June at the Depot and features over 100 Polaroid shots. The only rule for this photography project was that the photographers had to use instant analogue film. Oliver Page, Assistant Producer at ArtReach explains that, “This will only be the third time that this exhibition has been hosted in the U.K. MIGRATE opened in London, was then hosted at Oxford University and now comes to LCB Depot. It’s not just the thought-provoking images that make this a stand out exhibition but we’re also working with Leicester Lo-Fi to host some creative photography workshops on 23 June and you even get a chance to meet the artists with us and a glass of wine at an informal chat on 19 June. It’s always good to get to know more about the approach behind a project like this.”

De Montfort University have a wide range of activities and events throughout the week which includes banner making workshops, music making workshops, and open mic sessions, all of which are free for all to enjoy.

Debbie Tinsley of #DMULocal said “We’re aiming to make this the most exciting programme of events for Refugee Week as it’s the 20th anniversary. We welcome people to Leicester and the university from all over the world and we hope that Leicester Refugee Week’s really exciting range of events, from film to photography and art workshops will really engage the local community. We’re aiming to bring people together to try something different and generally have a bit of fun, when it’s all for free as well, that makes it accessible for anyone to pop along and enjoy.”

Back at Leicester Cathedral a busy schedule of ‘Suspended’ events over a 10 week period will start with an open conversation about refugee experience under the, Suspended, artwork at 6.30pm on 22 June and culminate with documentary screenings as part of the ArtReach ‘Journeys International Festival’ from 17-26 August.

Details of the activities you and your family can enjoy during Refugee Week in Leicester can be found at refugeeweek.org.uk/

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Great Central, John has been actively involved in Leicester's creative community for over a decade - promoting shows and releasing records under the name Robot Needs Home. He is a director of Handmade Festival, and ex member of the band Maybeshewill.

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