Still I Rise - Shirlaine Forrest

CAN is a Culture Award Finalist

We’re celebrating the news that Community Arts North West is a Finalist for two prestigious Manchester Cultural Awards in the category of ‘Promotion of Talent and Leadership’ and ‘Best Performance’.  Founded in 2018, the Manchester Cultural Awards celebrate Manchester’s arts organisations and the contribution they make to the city.

Our ‘Promotion of Talent and Leadership’ nomination celebrates our work with artists and creatives from refugee and migrant heritage creatives in 2018/19.  One highlight was Autumn 2018’s project Still I Rise, created in partnership with Digital Women’s Archive North and Manchester Arts Gallery as part of Journeys Festival International. The project’s visual arts trail and performances featured the work of a powerful collective of international women creatives - Aida Foroutan, Ana Lucia Cuevas, Anya Mikolajczyk, Ekua Bayunu, Firoozeh Fozouni, Gloria Saya, Kani Kamil, Khalda Alkhmri, Manya Alkhmri, Mei Yuk Wong, Mahboobeh Rajabi, Roxana Allison, Shaheda Choudhury, Shahireh Sharif; and was directed by Yusra Warsama. The trail and performance was experienced by over 1,000 people.

Another highpoint was our partnership with HOME on the Horizons Festival, coinciding with Refugee Week, where the creativity, spirit and activism of the city’s global communities were celebrated through music, theatre, art, film, workshops, exhibitions and debate.

Our support for artists was seen outside of the city, too. The eminent Iranian Musician Seyed Ali Jaberi and the Hamdel Ensemble toured cities from Birmingham to Bristol and was part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during Summer 2019. We supported Seyed to develop, produce and market the tour, and access Arts Council England funding to make the tour possible.

On a smaller, but no less important, scale, we have supported individual artists and smaller community organisations to achieve their creative ambitions through access to training, job opportunities and new connections.

Our ‘Best Performance’ nomination is for A Generation Rising, a production developed by CAN Young Artists@HOME, a company of 13-19 year olds, as part of a partnership between Community Arts North West and HOME. It intertwined autobiographical narratives, visual performance, music and audio soundscapes, offering a generous, honest and raw account of the lives and experiences of young people.

CAN’s Chair Martin Hazlehurst says:

“2019 is CAN’s 40th anniversary year and we’re delighted that our contribution to the city’s creativity is celebrated with this nomination.”

“We’ll hear on the 9th November whether we’re a winner, and we’re crossing our fingers that we win an award that recognises our valuable contribution to Manchester.  Whether we win or not, we feel sure that all the talent we have supported in 2018/2019, and in the 40 years of CAN’s existence, are winners in their careers and their communities. It’s a contribution we’re incredibly proud of.”

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved and wish us the very best of luck. “

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Kamosi Juniors at Leigh Carnival 2019

Kámoši Juniors had a great time at Leigh Carnival this year!

They were joined by band Juba Do Leao for a procession through the streets of Leigh as part of the annual carnival. The young people confidently danced through the streets joining in with the Brazilian rhythms, and finally delighting the public and their families with a dance performance on the main stage.

You can view the full photo album of the group here. All photos by Shirlaine Forrest.

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Horizons Festival 2019

Horizons Festival is a partnership between CAN and HOME as part of Refugee Week, where an annual programme of events is held. Horizons Festival is a contemporary, family-friendly festival that is diverse in programming, bringing together work created with communities and artists as well as international, national and regional projects of excellence. The festival aims to create a northern platform for Refugee Week, celebrating the huge contribution that refugees make to the cultural, political, social and economic life of the UK.

The last festival was held from Saturday 15th June to Friday 21st June 2019, at HOME Manchester, and will be back again in 2020.

Feedback from 2019:
"Outstanding. There was a connection in the whole room between the band, the audience, and the people beside me."
"Great to feel the depth of support for Lift the Ban amongst the people of Manchester - thank you to CAN and HOME for all you are doing."
"The atmosphere was electric."
"This concert highlighted the humanity of people who have had to leave their homes for a variety of reasons. They shared their sorrow through music, but also their joy, their love and their fun. "
"Fascinating to watch, thank you."
"Fun and something different."
"This looks amazing! If I was up in Manchester I would definitely be there."
"A powerful show tonight by PSYCHEdelight. Thank you for sharing with us and challenging us. And great work by CAN supporting Lift the Ban."
"I especially loved MIRO - music for the heart and soul."
"So many great events coming up through the Horizons Festival for Refugee Week here in Manchester!"
"What a brilliant programme opening."

Photos from 2019:

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View the full photo album of Day One here. Photos by Shirlaine Forrest.

Horizons Festival 2019 - Programme At A Glance:

Sat 15 Jun - Welcome to the UK
13:00 – 17:00 Sanctuary Souk Global Marketplace, FREE
13:00 – 14:00 Storytelling Workshop with Emmanuel Bajiiji, FREE
13:00 – 14:00 Cultural Dance Class with Magdalen Bartlett, FREE
13:00 – 15:00 Horizons Short Films
14:00 – 15:00 Circus Skills with Masresha Wondmu, FREE
15:00 – 16:00 Sub-Saharan African Singing and Percussion Workshop, FREE
15:00 – 16:00 Incredible Week for the Banks Theatre Performance by RAPAR, FREE
16:00 – 17:00 The Free Association Discussion Group, FREE
17:00 – 18:00 Lift the Ban Creative Workshop, FREE
18:00 - 18.20 Public Launch with speeches by Mustafa Alachkar, Ana Lucia Cuevas, Katherine Rogers, and Anne Louise Kershaw, FREE
18:20 - 19:30 Music performance by Kurdish duo, Afrinis, FREE
18:30 – 19:45 Manchester International Roots Orchestra & Amani Choir Double Bill
19:30 – 22:30 DJ Mayeva, FREE
20:00 - 21:00 A Story of a Place - Book Signing & Talk, FREE
20:00 – 21:30 Welcome to the UK Theatre Production

Sun 16 Jun - Crossing Borders
12:20 – 12:50 An Enduring Struggle For Justice – Exhibition Tour, FREE
13:00 – 14:00 Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution: Exhibition Tour, FREE
14:30 – 15:45 The Travelling Heritage Bureau Film Screening
16:30 – 20:00 Cohere Installation, FREE
17:00 – 18:00 Cohere Performance, FREE
18:00 – 19:00 Abstract is the Wind; Art and Music Installation, FREE

Mon 17 Jun - Free to Dance
19:00 – 20:00 Sir Pe Talwar Dance Production
20:00 – 21:00 Mulembas D’Africa Dance Performance and Workshop, FREE

10:00 – 16:00 Shared Space: A Learning Lab
18:00 Island of Hungry Ghosts Film
19:00 - 20:00 DECLARATION! Performance
20:00 – 21:00 Displacing the Displaced: Human Rights, Refugees and Migrant Justice Discussion, FREE
20:45 – 21:30 Young Amani Music Performance, FREE

Wed 19 Jun - Female Resistance
18:00 – 19:45 The Echo of Pain of The Many Screening + Discussion
20:45 – 21:30 WAST Nightingales Choir, FREE

Thu 20 Jun - Love is my Religion
19:00 – 20:00 Seyed Ali Jaberi and the Hamdel Ensemble Musical Performance
20:45 – 21:45 Sarah Yaseen Musical Performance, FREE

Fri 21 Jun - Global Rave
19:00 – 23:00 DJ Irfan Rainy, FREE
20:00 – 22:30 Global Rave (Blanchard De Plaizir & Psyfunktions)

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The Dream Collector

The Dream Collector is a performance created by David Cuong Nguyen and CAN Young Artists (CYA@HOME).

In a world where young people face uncertainties and future dreams hang in the balance, CYA@HOME offer a guiding light in this tale of friendship, solidarity and bold determination.

The Queen of Dreams has sharp eyes
She sees a dream that’s there for the taking
Clasped in our hands. Pinned to our hearts
She is waiting for the moment
When we have to let them go

Marina has big dreams for the future. Remelle has one small hope left. Can Marina and her friends help Remelle and others like him to defeat the Queen of Dreams and imagine new futures?

Saturday 13th April 2019
Theatre 2, HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN
Matinee performance: 3pm
Evening performance: 7:30pm
Duration: 1 hour


CYA@HOME is a company of young performers aged 13-18 formed through a partnership project between Community Arts North West and HOME. This is the company’s fourth performance at HOME following the success of What’s Done is Done, A Generation Rising and The Snow Dragons (performed as part of National Theatre Connections Festival 2017).

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Refugee Week 2019

Refugee Week at HOME

Saturday 15th June to Friday 21st June 2019
HOME Manchester

Refugee Week at HOME is a contemporary, family friendly festival that is diverse in programming, bringing together work created with communities and artists as well as international, national and regional projects of excellence. The festival aims to create a northern platform for Refugee Week, celebrating the huge contribution that refugees make to the cultural, political, social and economic life of the UK.

CAN and HOME launched the festival in June 2018 showcasing some of the incredibly diverse, refugee-led talent from Greater Manchester. The programme included music, theatre, film, exhibitions and workshops with new theatre voices, and music and poetry from Iran and Syria. It also included beautiful Soukous and Rumba music from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a workshop programme, and installations which challenged visitors to think and feel.

This year’s festival will be equally action-packed and inspirational. The full programme will be launched on 1st May 2019, so watch this space for updates.

We look forward to seeing you there!


(Image by Shirlaine Forrest)

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