The full set of photos of the AGM can be viewed on our Flickr site, at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualmigrants/sets/72157640215885753/
The Committed To Represent exhibition by Virtual Migrants will be shown at the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 25th January 2014. Created by Kooj Chuhan with Ursula Sharma (GMIAU) along with photography by Mazaher, this exhibition celebrates the critical work of legal caseworkers in the difficult lives of refugees. This from GMIAU’s news-mail:
Our exhibition ‘Committed To Represent’ will be displayed
A number of invited speakers will contribute to the discussions.
Drinks and light refreshments will be available.
We are in very turbulent times. During the past 12 months legal aid has been removed for most immigration cases and the government is ‘consulting’ on the next set of cuts which will include further restrictions on access to the law, including judicial review and appeals, and the insidious ‘residency test’. The Immigration Bill has been introduced and if it get passed as it is it will include duties on landlords and banks to check the immigration status of potential tenants and customers. Immigration will once again be top of the political agenda in the run up to general election in 2015 and none of the public debate about immigration is positive. This makes it even more difficult for the people that GMIAU is here to support and represent – not just in a legal sense but also to stand up against the injustice and discrimination that is the reality of many peoples day to day lives.
We need our supporters more than ever. We need to work together to steer the organisation through these challenging times, to make sure not only that we survive but that we’re stronger and louder than before in our defence of access to justice and human rights. Please come and join us on the 25th need to be doing over the next year and beyond to make sure we stay at the forefront of creating a better and more positive contribution to the lives of people in the North West who need immigration legal advice and representation .
– to what extent do or should the arts practices under a ‘refugee’ umbrella represent a distinct sector, what are its identifying characteristics and what can this achieve?
– what are the limitations or problems with such initiatives?
– how does such work support and progress wider discussions around support for refugees and human rights?
– the way people seeking refuge are treated continues to move towards tighter restrictions, reduced sympathy and rights, greater destitution, racism and xenophobia. Is art at its limit in being able to influence such developments, or does our game need to change?
– what kind of a sector is it or should it become – a loose movement or an organised set of voices?
– is there a challenge to established modes of practice that such work presents, and in what ways?
– what kinds of practice might be of particular importance in developing such a sector?
– presentation of arts works in relation to refugees can often label themselves and dig their own corner of predictable narratives and styles – which in turn can stereotype themselves. In what ways can arts practices avoid such predictability?
If anyone has any responses to these, feel free to add your comments by clicking on ‘reply’.
90 Degree Citizen exhibition project:
Special Event on Weds 30th October, 6pm – 9pm, at Manchester Museum
>> ‘RE-PRESENTING REFUGEES’ panel discussion <<
>> ‘PASSENGER 12’ multimedia performance <<
>> ‘COMMITTED TO REPRESENT’ exhibition premiere – open to view from 5pm <<
A range of key speakers and artists explore critical issues around art, displacement and refugees. As a dynamic movement, alternative practices and perspectives, cultural resistance or affirmation, political and historical contexts. Open to the public on the eve of the Platforma national conference on arts and refugees. A Virtual Migrants event www.virtualmigrants.net .
Discussion begins 7.20pm – panel includes:
Flora Alexander – Iranian visual artist based in Glasgow
Yusra Warsama – poet, playwright and actor from Somalia
Tom Green – director of Platforma national network of arts and refugees
Humberto Velez – international visual, media and performance artist
Isobel Bowler – legal case worker at GM Immigration Aid Unit
Iseult Timmermans – artist and creative producer with refugee groups at Street Level Photoworks
Discussion chaired by Kooj Chuhan – artist and cultural producer; founder of Virtual Migrants and director of 90 Degree Citizen
Multimedia experimental performance: part 1 begins 7pm with part 2 after the discussion – includes artists:
Sai Murray (writer, poet, spoken word)
Maya Chowdhry (performer, writer, multimedia and interactive artist)
Aidan Jolly (composer-songwriter and musician)
Tracey Zengeni (vocalist)
Mazaher (VJ projections)
Elmi Ali (writer, poet, spoken word)
Pat Mackela (drums and percussion)
Committed To Represent – exhibition premiere with talks about the work at 6pm including special guest Mavis Makhaza from Gtr Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together):
Portable panels of photography and text, portraying the people behind the labels – our unsung heroes the legal immigration caseworkers and those who have needed their support. Created by Kooj Chuhan, Ursula Sharma and Mazaher, as a partnership project between GM Immigration Aid and Virtual Migrants. This is a pop-up exhibition only on show until 1st November in the Kanaris Foyer at the museum.
This event is a part of the 90 Degree Citizen exhibition, on show from 10th October – 17th November at Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL
FREE to attend, but please register at www.re-presentingrefugees.eventbrite.co.uk
The café will be open during this event for food and drinks. Light refreshments provided. All timings are approximate.
Amang Mardokhy arrives at Manchester Museum to install his paintings for 90 Degree Citizen – A rare exhibition of work by a new wave of visual artists whose experiences include life as refugees in the UK, and engaging with objects from The Manchester Museum.
“I have come from Kurdistan, north part of Iraq. Since the early start of my art experience, I also have learned how to live and express the sufferings of [Read more…]
SPECIAL GUESTS ANNOUNCED: Mavis Makhaza from GM Immigration Aid Unit and WAST (Women Asylum Speakers Together), plus Tony Openshaw from ASHA (Asylum Support Housing Advice) will speak about their work in relation to the exhibition
Re-Presenting Refugees event 30th October!
90 Degree Citizen
an exhibition by Virtual Migrants + performance / discussion events
on show at the Manchester Museum 10th October – 17th November 2013
migrant art – alternative connections – cultural boundaries
A rare exhibition of work by a new wave of visual artists whose experiences include life as refugees in the UK, and engaging with objects from The Manchester Museum
Special event: Re-Presenting Refugees panel discussion with ‘Passenger 12’ multimedia performance + special guests incl. international artist Humberto Velez, Denise McDowell the director of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid, and Iranian artist Flora Alexander
Wednesday 30th October, 6.00 – 9.00pm
plus: at 5.00pm a talk + preview of the “Committed To Represent” pop-up exhibition
FREE: please register at www.re-presentingrefugees.eventbrite.co.uk
at Z-ARTS 6th-29th June 2013, including Launch Event at 6pm on 6th June
Exhibition opening times are 5pm – 9pm weekdays, 10am – 4pm Saturdays, closed Sundays.
Committed to Represent
An exhibition of photography and texts as a series of portable panels by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, in partnership with Virtual Migrants
How does the legal work of the GMIAU help refugees to rebuild their lives? What motivates the caseworkers? How do refugees respond to the challenges that the asylum system throws at them?
This exhibition is a celebration of the work that caseworkers do and a testament to the courage of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Design and direction by Kooj Chuhan. Research and text by Ursula Sharma. Photography by Mazaher.
Refusing The Refused
A short film created for ASHA (Asylum Support Housing Advice) from footage of a training workshop on Asylum Destitution on 22nd February 2013, a Virtual Migrants production by Kooj Chuhan
Destitution effectively means poverty and mental suffering at a chronic level, and this workshop involved a range of strong and emotive presentations and dialogues on the experience of destitution among people seeking asylum, the legal and wider political framework for this, and what kinds of support and action can be possible.
ASHA helps asylum seekers whose applications have been refused and fully determined, and whose status renders them homeless and destitute.
Both of these pieces of work are still ‘in development’. They involve intersecting elements of documentary, community portraiture, campaigning and education. This is an integral part of Virtual Migrants’ critical practice in artistic, media and cultural work.
Accompanying these works is an exhibition of paintings by Elizabeth Kwant, titled Tracing Presence. This comprises a series of large-scale portraits developed during her Artist’s in Residence with The Boaz Trust, a charity working to help destitute asylum seekers in Manchester.
6th-29th June at Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester M15 5ZA
An exhibition to coincide with Refugee Week 17-23 June 2013
This short, simple and direct performance was used to start off the BME Communities and Climate Change Conference. It was devised and scripted by Kooj Chuhan (Virtual Migrants), and performed by Kooj Chuhan and Michelle Ayavoro:
Part of the BME Communities and Climate Change Conference organised by Manchester BME Network in partnership with its members, MC-UK, Creative Hands and Salford Refugee Network, Manchester, 22nd March 2013. Here are some extracts from the conference just to give a brief flavour of some of the presentations: