THE International Journeys Festival, that commenced in Manchester on the 2nd October and ends on the 15th, sees the work of artist, Mark Titchner, spread around five different buildings across Manchester, including the Football Museum and the People’s History Museum.
The Journeys festival began in Leicester in 2013 and now travels around the globe developing projects including visual art, music, performance, workshops, discussion, literature, and much more, to create awareness for refugee and asylum seeker experiences.
Find Titchner’s work using this handy map:
The Turner Prize nominated artist met the group of refugees over the summer to learn about their personal experiences and to understand what it is like to live as an asylum seeker or refugee in the U.K. The group of fifteen had previously fled a number countries, including Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and Somalia.
— JourneysFestival Int (@JourneysFest) October 2, 2017
Titchner, 44 said: “I found it inspiring how positive the group of people were despite all the difficulties they have faced. It’s quite humbling when you realise how hard life is for some people.
“Even within a country where they’ve fled from horrible things to come here, they are still thoughtful people.”
Mark describes how: “most of my work is text based, so I was trying to take some of the most powerful experiences that they have in terms of very basic things like safety, being able to work, or their experience of the asylum system and how it affects their mental health, to whittle it down in to something direct that people can engage with immediately.”
On each site that the artwork is displayed there is an information board that provides extra information and statistics about the issues surrounding that particular piece.
— JourneysFestival Int (@JourneysFest) September 29, 2017
“For me, it’s not just a case of using someone’s words and blowing them up to a large scale, I had to think about how it worked as a piece of artwork.
“Each of the phrases are prefaced by the line which is ‘Listen to me,’ which didn’t come from the group in terms of something they’ve said, but it was more to do with trying to set the tone of what was beneath,” Titchner claims.
He described how he would like to expand this work further in the future and said he is open to doing something different to take the project forward, for example producing something sound or video based, to engage his audience in new ways.
He defined displaying his work on the Manchester buildings as being, “almost like having an advertising campaign. It’s like a voice that echoes around.”
When the festival ends on the 15th of October, it will travel to Portsmouth.
Bookings for tours of the Art can be found here.
What do the public think of artist, Mark Titchner’s work? Listen here: