Arts festival to honour Britain’s refugees

A year-long arts festival, including major names, will take place to celebrate the contribution of refugees to British culture.

The festival, Insiders/Outsiders, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, will feature exhibitions, concerts, dance and theatre performances, film screenings, walks, lectures and literary events all over the UK. An accompanying anthology focusing on the visual arts will be published by Lund Humphries in early March.

Art galleries taking part include Abbot Hall in Cumbria, Pallant House in Chichester and Tate Britain. Film screenings will involve partners such as London’s JW3 and Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, and Jewish History Month, while concerts and events will include a display at Glyndebourne. Others involved include Trinity Laban, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Jewish Book Week, and Isokon Gallery.

Insiders/Outsiders highlights the indelible contribution of the artists, photographers, writers, architects, designers, actors, film-makers, dancers and musicians as well as publishers, art historians, dealers and collectors who, in fleeing Nazi-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, greatly enriched this country’s culture. Major names to be honoured include László Moholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius, Lucie Rie (whose porcelain bottle of 1958-59, from the Centre of Ceramic Art York and photographed by Phil Sayer, is pictured), Annely Juda, Rudolf Laban, Oskar Kokoschka, John Heartfield, Josef Herman and Hans Keller.

Creative director of the festival, art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen, said, “At a time when the issue of immigration is headline news, this festival will serve as a reminder of the importance of cultural cross-fertilisation and of the deep, long-lasting and wide-ranging contribution that refugees can – and do – make to British life.’

More information about the festival can be found at A more detailed programme will be announced in January 2019 and updated throughout the year.


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