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Papers: Festival of the art & architecture of the refugee crisis

12 June 13:00 - 22:00
Organized by: The Architecture Foundation with the Worldwide Tribe and Barbican
Venue: Barbican
The Conservatory
Silk Street

This critical celebration will examine the creative and urban culture which has emerged from refugee camps across Europe. Bringing together refugee artists, musicians, poets, chefs and builders with a programme of discussions taking place on multiple stages throughout the day.


The festival is split across multiple venues in the Barbican arts centre in and around the conservatory - the vast jungle glass house.



A mix of short presentation and panel discussion with some of the world's leading thinkers on refugee camps and migration. Panels will examine the built and cultural responses which have emerged from camps in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Lampedusa, Jordan and Turkey culminating in an open plenary discussion with all participants. Highlights include:

- Richard Sennet, eminent urban sociologist will lecture.

- Forensic Architecture, subjects of recent Al Jazeeza documentary, will present their work tracking boats sinking in the Mediterranean Sea.

- Marwa Al-Sabouni, a Syrian architect who stayed in Homs throughout the civil war will be in conversation with Observer journalist Rachel Cooke.

- A panel discussion chaired by Robert Mull questioning where the responsibility of the architect lies in responding to the refugee crisis.



The Barbican's vast glass house will host a wide variety of art pieces and installations. It will become a gallery of the rich mix of strange and powerful art and activism which has come from or been made in response to refugee camps. At the heart will be the Blue House by the artist Alpha – an art school and gallery rescued from the Jungle in Calais and rebuilt for the first time in the UK especially for Papers. 



This stage will incorporate a mix of live music, poetry and talks with short films made by those at the epicentre of the crisis. Highlights include a panel discussion exploring the role the media plays in shaping narratives around refugees. Panelists: Lisa Markwell, former editor of the Independent on Sunday, Meltem Avcil, a refugee who was detained at Yarlswood aged 13, Jeremy Harding, a contributing editor at the LRB, Niall Martin, a journalist and TV producer and Rossalyn Warren, a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News.



Hanging above the tropical plants of the jungle-like conservatory is the terrace, a platform which will play host to a mix of built prototype demonstrations, makers and food. Pineaple Island, founded by CASS Graduate Jayden Ali, will create a micro restaurant run by asylum-seeking under 18 year olds based in Folkstone.


Papers is curated by Robert Mull with The Worldwide Tribe and Architecture Foundation in partnership with the Barbican, Phineas Harper, Daniela Puga, Grainne Hassett, Jake Raslan, Jayden Ali, Esme Mull and Cindy Palmano.


Book tickets here.