VM at Rediscovering the Radical Conference

Excited to have Aidan Jolly and Tracey Zengeni representing VM at this conference:


We’re sharing a workshop with old comrades Banner Theatre which will look at how political performance has evolved and changed from 1972 to the present.

In between this will be taking in performances from the likes of the Reverend Billy And The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir and hearing about what’s happening in Chile http://colectivosustento.org/ and Gujarat http://www.budhantheatre.org/

and just generally meeting like minded people and learning…

Some of the events will also be livestreamed from Collective Encounters YouTube channel – see list below.


Extremely Safe Radical Preventions

Earlier this year we were involved in a research project devised by the University of Manchester Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice and a series of interactive drama-based workshops led by Theatre in Prisons and Probation to faciliate conversations about radicalism.

The project was devised as ‘a collaboration between young people, school staff, interdisciplinary researchers, and creative artists, that focuses on developing an inclusive and open discussion about how schools approach extremism that speaks to, and is led by, young people’.

The government’s Prevent strategy has been accused of being more damaging than enabling; acting as a mechanism of exclusion that represses rather than encourages conversation. It was fascinating to hear the views and frustrations of teachers and pupils in dealing with Prevent and Safeguarding legislation highlighting even more the need to “talk about this”.

Here’s the poem that resulted from these conversations:

Extremely Safe Radical Preventions

Who are ya?
Who are ya?
Who are ya?

Who is behind the mask?
Behind the hood?
Behind the veil?
Continue reading

Photo Gallery of Continent Chop Chop show in Leeds

Photo Gallery of Continent Chop Chop show in Leeds

Following our recent tour, here is a photo gallery of Continent Chop Chop as it was performed in Leeds, all photos by Max Farrar.  We are going to add more updates about that tour as time goes on, as well as details of what we are currently developing.  For full details of the Continent Chop Chop project, go to http://virtualmigrants.net/continent-chop-chop/ or locate the project in the drop down menu above.

Photo Gallery:

Click on any image to view the photos in a nice and cool large-size slideshow.


Box set on sale EXHALE artists DVD, audio-CD + booklets exploring asylum/refuge

…an alternative to the usual festive items for those of a conscious disposition…

EXHALE artists DVD, audio-CD and booklets – box set on sale now!

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsOUT NOW! only £15.99 including free delivery

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsEXHALE :
local streets, global waters, bloodstained papers
5 years of video, music and electronic art engaging with asylum and migration in a new world order

“memorable and passionate”  art monthly
“evocative, metaphorical”  The Guardian
“brilliantly executed”  City Life

Box set with video-DVD, audio-CD, interactive ROM art and two booklets with 40 pages of essays, images and contexts
IN STOCK – ORDER ONLINE NOW!    http://www.virtualmigrants.com/order.htm

Proceeds from sales will support our forthcoming multimedia performance around the themes of race, environment and refuge.

EXHALE is about people mending broken identities; piecing together links between the war on terror and the war against asylum seekers; school kids understanding the basics of humanity; expressing critical threads between slavery and modern migration contexts; being caught up in legal categories that demean your rights; and a range of other critical narratives along with a different take on how art can engage and discuss such issues.

EXHALE, a multiple-format publication containing original artworks (video, interactive and audio) by Keith Piper, Kooj Chuhan, Aidan Jolly and a number of other artists and collaborators.  This contains a series of short films, interactive art, music, writing and photography with conscience, anger, sensitivity and emotion, reflecting unsensational yet powerful and thought-provoking narratives on the lives and contexts around the asylum and migration stories which the artists connected with across the UK.  It also includes exclusive interviews with both Keith Piper and the What If I’m Not Real artists team.

exhaleWideMultishots_ewon sale: EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, booklets

The box set includes a video-DVD, an audio-CD, interactive ROM art, and two booklets of essays, images and contexts.  It contains the entire set of moving image and interactive works from the ground-breaking Terminal Frontiers exhibition which toured the UK and beyond from 2005-7, including the What If I’m Not Real installation and film which received a rave review at SIGGRAPH (http://www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale/siggraph07.htm).  It also contains “The Next Breath” project, a set of short fast-take semi-documentary narratives as video and audio pieces involving artists, refugees, asylum seekers and others from Glasgow, Derby, London and Plymouth.

EXHALE artists DVD, audio-CD and booklets: For full information about the many artists involved, the range of works, and the artistic process that led to their creation (and of course, how to order online) please check the section on our old website   www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale   or email us at  info[at]virtualmigrants.com


Nowhere To Run: Climate Refugees – call for photos and artwork

We have received the following call for creative contributions from Jennifer Heath and are posting it as an interesting and potentially worthwhile project (with the disclaimer that we know very little about the project):

Call for Photos and Artwork
Nowhere to Run: Climate Refugees
Contact: Jennifer Heath, Baksun Books & Arts for Social & Environmental Justice
baksunarts [at] aol.com

Nowhere to Run: Climate Refugees is seeking eye-witness accounts of the experiences of people forced to leave their homes and communities because of climate change and environmental degradation, whether from flood, drought, storm, rising sea levels, deforestation or agricultural uncertainty. Climate refugees, also called environmental migrants, are found worldwide in places of both privilege and poverty (ranging from New York to Bangladesh). There are said to be at least 50 million environmental refugees today and the United Nations predicts the number could grow to 120 million by 2050. Continue reading

Continent Chop Chop | Climate justice performance

austerity, refugees and climate destruction: a story told through music, poetry, transmedia and spoken word

With performances currently touring from October-December 2015 in Manchester, London, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Leeds and Leicester. Tour dates and tickets

Continent Chop Chop climate justice performanceClimate justice stories from across the world weaved together via Afrobeat influences, experimental electronics, English Folk and deconstructed imperial anthems.

Continent Chop Chop asks: What are the connections between climate change and poverty? How does the wider climate of austerity and scapegoating of migrants connect with climate change? And why should anyone care when they don’t have enough to eat?

Featuring commissioned recordings and footage from Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigeria-based leading environmental activist, and from Zena Edwards, a London-based performance poet, writer and musician.

A performance project by the Virtual Migrants collective.
Devised and led by Sai Murray (writer, performer), Aidan Jolly (musician, composer) and Maya Chowdhry (transmedia artist).  Supporting artists: Tracey Zengeni (vocals, performer), Jaydev Mistry (musician, digital soundscapes), Kooj Chuhan (video artist), Mazaher Rafshajani (photography and video).
Directed by Amanda Huxtable.

Full details of Continent Chop Chop climate justice performance at: www.virtualmigrants.net/continent-chop-chop

Ticket prices and ticketing details here

Saturday 31st October, 7.30pm
Kirklees Media Centre, Huddersfield  http://www.the-media-centre.co.uk

Saturday 7th November, 6 – 8pm
Highfields Centre, Leicester  http://www.highfieldscentre.ac.uk/home.html

Tuesday 10th November 6pm  (excerpt as part of ‘Dance The Guns To Silence’)
Rich Mix, London  http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/dance-the-guns-to-silence-ii/

Saturday 14th November, 7.30pm
Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester  www.anthonyburgess.org
Tickets: http://continent-chop-manchester.eventbrite.co.uk

Sunday 15th November, 3 – 5pm
The Lantern, Liverpool  http://www.lanterntheatreliverpool.co.uk/

Friday 20th November, 7.30pm
Seven Arts, Leeds  http://www.sevenleeds.co.uk/

Thursday 3rd December, 6.30pm
Free Word Centre, London  www.freewordcentre.com

Full details of the performances and online videos at www.virtualmigrants.net/continent-chop-chop
Information on our participatory workshops to be announced soon.

Continent Chop Chop climate justice performance - funders and partners logos

NNIMMO BASSEY award-winning African climate activist: help make a film about his work

Nnimmo Bassey crowdfunderCardNNIMMO BASSEY is an award-winning African climate activist and poet: we want to make a film about his work and how it connects with austerity, refugees and our wider realities. Please spread the word about our crowdfunding campaign, or donate yourself if you can:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nnimmo-bassey-award-winning-climate-activist .

This film will be more than a film about a strong and critically important activist – which is worthwhile in itself. It will also connect Nnimmo’s work with immediate headline issues concerning many of us – austerity and refugees – and so will join some of the dots which many environmental films do not. Continue reading

CONTINENT CHOP CHOP: climate justice film project on Indiegogo

Nnimmo Bassey with international activist Vandana Shiva

Nnimmo Bassey with international activist Vandana Shiva

We’ve launched a crowdfunder so that we can work with poet, author, activist Nnimmo Bassey. To support us click on the CCC logo on the right to go to Indiegogo.
For more information about the project click on the Continent Chop Chop menu.


A new transmedia performance by Virtual Migrants, touring from November 2015.  It focuses on climate destruction and how it is linked to global austerity policies and refugees.  It currently includes only a short voice-over from Nnimmo Bassey as a part of the story.  We’ve launched a crowdfunder for this climate justice film project on Indiegogo. The new film created in collaboration with Nnimmo Bassey will become a centre-piece of the performance.

Poster Film Collective "Whose World Is The World" cultural consciousness

Cultural consciousness: Poster Film Collective in the 80s and other online pieces

Selected posts by Kooj Chuhan recently on Virtual Migrants’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VirtualMigrants :

Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s

Whose World Is The World by Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s. Any parallels now? http://poster-collective.org.uk/whoseworld/index.php
These posters were often in the youth clubs and community centres that we worked in, running creative, campaigning and discussion activities focused on anti-racist and suppressed historical ideas and knowledge. They gave a continuity in the environment that the people who used the building could continue to reflect on after the activities and workshops, in an immediate and visual way without too much text clutter. I really think we need this kind of stuff again in our physical environment, maybe the digital world makes us forget these possibilities?

Migrant crisis: tackle the cause and not the symptom?

The Chance Or Choice report suggests long term answer lies in Continue reading

Image from the film Battle Of Algiers

Condemn murder but DON’T be Charlie!

Condemn murder but DON'T be Charlie!After the recent completely tragic murders I looked at a good number of Charlie Hebdo covers on Google images, and found racist stereotyping to be pretty consistent.  I might add that Muslims seem to be the target of ridicule by Charlie Hebdo more than others are, though thats purely based on the sample from Google images and not a statistical survey.   Sure, Charlie Hebdo does satirise almost everyone, but the way this is done in the case of Muslim people is using repeated images of Muslims that are practically from the colonial era, the equivalent of using gollywogs to depict people of African descent.  If those were to be used to supposedly satirise Africans, most would Continue reading