The Migrant Festival at Ikon 14th – 17th June 2018

Ikon hosts The Migrant Festival, a four day festival curated by Birmingham-born fashion designer Osman Yousefzada, fusing themes of migration, fashion, art and music.

Events include a film screening of The True Cost (2015) with an introduction by Executive Producer Livia Firth; fashion activist Caryn Franklin in conversation with Oriole Cullen, Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the V&A; Diaspora Disco, a night of reggae and disco including DJs from Saathi Night and a headline set from London-based artists George Henry Longly and Prem Deep; and much more.

The Migrant Festival is organised to coincide with Osman’s exhibition at Ikon Gallery Being Somewhere Else (6–29 June 2018). His first solo exhibition, it consists entirely of new commissions and includes a personal consideration of the contemporary fashion world and its inherent inequalities, juxtaposed with representations associated with the experience of immigration.

Book online at or call Ikon on 0121 248 0708.

Please consider making a donation for free events. Ikon is a registered charity.

Full programme:

Thursday 14 June

Film Screening and Discussion

Slow Boat, 12-1pm – FREE, drop in

Join Chang Liu and Zhou Wei, students on the MA in Chinese Contemporary Art, Birmingham City University, and Yu-Chen Wang, Grand Union artist-in-residence, onboard Slow Boat for a discussion on the portrayal of migrant workers in contemporary art.

DiscussionCreative Conversations with Asian Women

Yorks Café at Ikon, 56pmFREE

Booking essential

Introduced by Piali Ray OBE, Sampad Director and chaired by Professor Aisha K. Gill, Professor of Criminology at University of Roehampton, this panel examines the lives of British Asian women in the light of their creative talents. Speakers include photographer Suki Dhanda, fashion consultant Deep Kailey, community activist Kulsoom Yusuf and poet Mona Arshi.

WorkshopFashion illustration

Selfridges, 5.307.30pm£15

Booking essential, limited capacity

A life drawing session led by fashion illustrator Gregory Mark Lewis who has worked in Paris at some of its leading fashion houses. Lewis is now based in Birmingham and for this event works with a contemporary dancer from Elmhurst Ballet School.

In conversation Kit de Waal

Ikon Gallery, 6.307.30pm FREE

Booking essential

Pre-order The Trick to Time online at, discounted price £10.99

Kit de Waal discusses her new book The Trick to Time (2018) with fellow Birmingham-based author Catherine O’Flynn. Her novel follows Mona, a young Irish girl in 1970s Birmingham, with the thrill of a new job and her own room in a busy boarding house. This event includes a book signing.

Friday 15 June

Demonstration Boats & Totes

Slow Boat, 124pm, FREEdrop in

The Solihull Embroiderers’ Guild use textile off-cuts to make morsbags for The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham. Run by volunteers, TRJF Brum collect surplus food and feed anyone and everyone at cafes, boutiques, events and sharehouses on a Pay As You Feel basis in exchange for donations, time and skills. Drop in and find out more about how you can help.

Film ScreeningThe True Cost

Birmingham City University


Booking essential

A free screening of The True Cost (2015), directed by Andrew Morgan. This ground-breaking documentary film considers the impact of the clothing industry on our world and features an introduction by Executive Producer Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director, Eco-Age. Part of Birmingham City University’s Inspired Festival (9–17 June).

Exhibition Tour100 Years, So What:

Polish Multimedia Artists on the Centenary of Women’s Voting Rights

Centrala, 56pmFREE

Booking essential

Join curators Alicja Kaczmarek and Karina Cabanikova for a tour of this group exhibition by Polish multimedia artists including Malgorzata Dawidek, Iwona Demko, Dorota Hadrian, Zofia Krawiec, Katarzyna Perlak, Alicja Rogalska and SIKSA. This exhibition considers the significance of 100 years of women’s voting rights in Poland and the UK. #100yearsSOWHAT Please note the exhibition space is only accessible via a number of stairs.

Diaspora Disco

Centrala, 10pm4am£5

Booking essential, limited tickets available on the door

Diaspora Disco presents a culturally diverse night of music with a mix of reggae and disco plus guest DJs from Saathi Night, founded in Birmingham in 2001 combining bhangra and drag elements, finishing with a headline set from London-based artists George Henry Longly and Prem Deep (Anal House Meltdown) who have run club nights since 2011. The party provides a fitting context for Osman’s t-shirts — Bhangra Boy, Bhangra Girl, Daytime Disco — available to buy at Selfridges and Ikon. Please note that Disapora Disco takes place across two floors, one of which is only accessible via a number of stairs. Age guidance: 18+

Saturday 16 June

PerformanceThe Scent of Home

Ikon Gallery, 124pmFREE, drop in

Sample The Scent of Home, a perfume developed by writer Emily King and perfumer Nadjib Achaibou as part of Osman’s exhibition at Ikon Gallery.

Family DayPatchwork blanket

Oozells Square, Brindleyplace

14pmFREE, drop in

A call out to all Birmingham sewers and stitchers to help families make patchworks to add to a composite textile inspired by Osman’s exhibition at Ikon Gallery. Customise the blanket with hand stitching, textile painting and printing. Organised as part of the Brindleyplace Family Fun Day. This workshop, based outside Ikon, is suitable for children over 3 accompanied by an adult.

Fashion Parade

46pm FREE, drop in

This fashion procession of Osman’s designs is led by Saffiyah Khan, activist, model and member of Ikon Youth Programme. She is accompanied by percussionists from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Samba Ensemble and dancers. Please see Ikon’s website for a map and further details of the procession.

In conversationOsman Yousefzada

Yorks Café at Ikon, 6.30-7.30pmFREE, booking essential

Introduced by Ikon Director Jonathan Watkins with Claudia Croft, Contributing Editor at British Vogue, Osman discusses the diverse cultures referenced within his designs and how these reflect his experience of growing up in post-industrial Birmingham.

Sunday 17 June

In conversationCaryn Franklin with Oriole Cullen: Disruptive Fashion Force

Yorks Café at Ikon, 23pmFREE

Booking essential

As a fashion activist with an interest in identity politics, Caryn Franklin has challenged and changed the British fashion world. As young fashion editor for i-D magazine, to famed Clothes Show presenter and MBE, Franklin has provoked the industry to be more considerate, inclusive and positive. Chaired by Oriole Cullen, Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the V&A.

ConcertThemba Mvula leads the European Youth Music and St Chad’s Sanctuary Refugee Choirs

Yorks Café at Ikon, 33.30pmFREE, drop in

To mark the start of Refugee Week (18-24 June), Ikon hosts a performance by the European Youth Music Refugee Choir. Young refugees and asylum seekers make up the choir which is accompanied by the St Chad’s Sanctuary Refugee Choir. Both choirs meet at St Chad’s Sanctuary with choral tutors Themba Mvula, Baritone and Lizzy Cragg, Soprano, at Birmingham Opera.

Soapboxes & Riceboxes

Yorks Café at Ikon, 3.305.30pm

£6, includes a Yorks ricebox

Booking essential

Birmingham poet, rapper and educator Casey Bailey chairs 20 quick-fire, soapbox presentations in response to Refugee Week’s 20 Simple Acts campaign. Bailey kick-starts the event with He’s not coming back, his poetic response to the Windrush scandal, and presenters include Celebrating Sanctuary and DESIblitz. In 2018 Refugee Week celebrates 20 years (18–24 June).

DiscussionThreads of Hope

Ikon Gallery, 5.306.30pm FREE

Booking essential

Osman Yousefzada and documentary film-maker Shaheen Dill-Riaz are in conversation with Diana Campbell Betancourt, Artistic Director of Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit. They discuss drawing inspiration from migrant communities and how their work challenges readings of complex social issues, including income inequality and gender based violence through a celebration of human resilience.

Film screeningThe Happiest People

Ikon Gallery, 6.308pmFREE

Booking essential, limited capacity

The Happiest People (2005) (12A) is a powerful visual journey that shows film-maker Shaheen Dill-Riaz reconnecting with four old friends in the chaotic metropolis of Dakha. Watch as he follows his friends in their search for happiness — each in their very own way. Introduced by Aftab Rahman, Director, Legacy West Midlands.