And that was 2022

2022 - A Glimpse

There is no doubt it was another extremely changing year  - but once again along with friends/partners we delivered way beyond expectations, continuing to influence social change whilst enabling creative innovation.

Below are some milestone events. Throughout the year daily cultural/arts activities took place in schools, clubs, community groups, social spaces and businesses across Northern Ireland and with our global neighbours in other countries. MARRS (Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme) was a thread running throughout the year activities. We also actively supported the Afghan and Iranian community in solidarity with our brothers and sisters fighting against dark forces in Afghanistan and Iran that are oppressing creative expression and women's rights.

January - Concert for Afghanistan Duncain Arts Centre Belfast:  Performances from Yusuf & Ariz Mahmoud (Afghanistan), Daragh Lynch & Iona Zajac (Ireland), Ahiva (Iran), Robin Korevaar (USA) and Amita  Ravikiran (India). In partnership with ICFAM (International Campaign for Afghan Musicians). Cayenna Ponchione and Katherine Scholfield from ICFAM also guests at the event. Concert  available on youtube 

January - Jam 'n' Iré Residential Corrymeela: One of the 12 projects within Beyond Skin PeaceIV programme was supporting a vision by Stephanie and Anne to start a club for children of mixed heritage and adoptive mixed race families. At Corrymeela a weekend or activities was facilitated by Shelley Deane from the Brehon Advisory to build capacity and a strategy for Jam 'n' Iré. The outcome has become a great success story with Jam 'n' Iré one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority support groups. Now constituted as an independant organisation, they have flew the Beyond Skin nest and we are super proud of them.

January (and throughout the year) Start Together Studios: Our relationship with Rocky & Niall at Start Together Recording Studios continued in 2022 with many sessions with guests flying in, musicians seeking sanctuary and musicians from a diversity of local host communities. Some recordings are on our BandCamp and YouTube Channels

February (to August) - Arts & Older People: A project supported by Arts Council NI in partnership with Over The Hill.  Mark Smulian, Paul Kane and Chip Bailey were our seniors at the creative helm working with communities and residental centres in Dunurry, Belfast, Portaferry, Ballymena and Rathlin Island. Dementia, storytelling and music the theme of the project using MindHarp technology.

February - Chinese New Year - In partnership with Chinese Welfare Association, Darren Hill (hill producer), Start Together Studios we produced a series of short films and music videos.  I LOVE NI short film,  云水禅心 Zen Rhythm - Wei Deng“Hǔ,hǔ ya hǔ" (Official music video & interviews)

February - Ta Da! - In Belfast City Centre a community pop-up space in partnership with Yallaa that ran for 8 weeks. Ta Da! hosted Guitar Club (before it moved to Oh Yeah Music Centre), Music & Arts Workshops, ESOL & Training sessions, Guest events, Yallaa Cafe and various projects with friends. The legacy from Ta Da! generated creative collaborations, community initiatives and new relationships.

March - Marching Metal meets Belfast Mayor: Still one year on from the release of Marching Metal music video with over 600 shares on facebook, Some of the band and producers met up with Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl to talk rock & fifes over tea and biscuits.

March - International Women's Day: During the week of IWD (8 March) we were delighted to welcome back to our shores Gabriella Di Laccio (Soprano / Donne Foundation), Heidi Heidelberg and partner musician Mauricio Velezsierra (aka Witch 'n' Monk). Joined by musicians Swavik, Jan, Shiva & Keiron we hosted a day event with over 100 young people in partnership with the Education Authority. Gabriella also began filiming for Make Music Day production in Belfast (see June)

March - Holywood Boat Club Concert - Al concert as part of Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme in partnership with Holywood Resettlement Group & Holywood Creative Festival. Incredible musicianship and moving performances from Shiva, Billy and Behnam - his first performance in Northern Ireland. BBC story about Behnam.

March - PEACEIV Children & Young People Conference: Beyond Skin project manager Kira was invited to be one of the guest speakers at the conference in The Mac Theatre

March - Global Trust Project Residential: With GTP founder Steve Savides and facilitating colleague Arabella Smirnova-Beroskin, we planted the inaugural Global Trust Project ! The first satellite team on the planet galvanised at a residential at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. Webpage

April - Mr Klaje: Beyond Skin estabilished a link with Colombian Band 'Mr Klaje' through our Orchestra of Change PeaceIV project in 2021 and we where delighted that they could visit Belfast in April 2022. Mr Klaje creative music from recycled materials (promotional video), We kept them busy hosting workshops at youth clubs and with residents seeking asylum staying in some holding centre hotels.

April - Cultural Bridge Villa Leipzig Youth Group visit:  After a two day journey of trains, boats and buses young people from VILLA Leipzig Germany arrived in Belfast.  After a quick Belfast tour the headed to Corrymeela Ballycastle to join young people from Beyond Skin & DU Dance. #CulturalBridge programme working with German community arts organisation, Die Villa, based in Leipzig, to develop a youth cultural exchange project based around the theme of environmental issues. Read more about Cultural Bridge

May - Arpillera Dolls: Conflict Textiles workshop in Cushendun curated by Roberta Bacic. Reflections on Refugees: Communicating through Art. Participants where invited to make Arpillera Dolls that engages either from 1st hand experience or in solidarity with the experience of others. 'Dancing Together' podcast with Roberta

May - Taste The World: Finally after many years and with CoVid restrictions lifting we were able to host Northern Ireland 1st Taste The World Festival. Another one of our PeaceIV projects in partnership with UNIT T and Annie, Roger & Patti who host Taste The World at WOMAD Festivals. The weather held and we invited over 100 people seeking sanctuary to also join in. The festival was over three days with music and food from Jamaica, Iran, Tanzania, Senegal, Mozambique, India.  Webpage

June - Make Music Day: Celebrated around the world on 21st June.(also known as Music Day and Fete de la Musique)  Beyond Skin hosted two Music Day events in Holywood and Belfast in partnership with Holywood Creative Festival, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Make Music Day UK and International Campaign for Afghan Musicians (iCFAM). Special guests flying in were Robin and Cayenna from ICFAM who also visited Glengormley High School for Refugee Week event and met with friends in the sector involved with MARRS.  We also released the official UK Music Video for 40th Anniversary of Music Date featuring Gabriella di Laccio & Helen Tzeng (music video)

July - Cultural Bridge Visit To Villa Leipzig Germany: This time it was Northern Ireland youth team turn to visit our partners in Germany. Led by Kira (Beyond Skin) and Mags (Du Dance), Nine young people traveled to Leipzig for a week of workshop and film productions with Villa Leipzig youth group. Films due for release early 2023

July Beyond Borders at WOMAD Festival via WOMAD Foundation. Beyond Skin founder Darren was invited by WOMAD Foundation to host music and conversation on the World Rhythms stage with Elaha Soroor (Afghanistan) Modarelli Giuliano & Joost Hendrickx from Kefaya.

August - Capagh Green Festival: Radius Housing invited Beyond Skin to deliver an event for Cappagh Green communities in Portstewart. We wanted to include people living in hotels and seeking asylum to help in a real way with their skills to deliver the event. To make the event fully co-designed inclusive with those seeking santuary we had to ask the council for special permission regarding shorting lead in time to accomodate the different sphere our friends seeking sanctuary live in. The Council had a special meeting to super fast track permissions. Permission granted 11am on the day before the event. There was no running order - this was to enable a ownership led space.  The event was a great success developing a formula now known as a realtime inclusive event. Facebook gallery by photographer Bagher (Afghanistan)

August (ongoing) - Hands On: Tools For Youth2030:  In partnership with Patrick from Finnegan Tools a Youth Skills Development Global Education Project compilmenting UN Youth 2030 strategy. Woodwork & Metalwork activities to develop and build tools and resourses that help farming, animal welfare and connect with the natural world. The wrokshops with young people was to develop, pilot and distribute tools for use in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. This includes more ethical tools that improve the welfare of Donkey's and Horses used in farming. UTV feature

September - Meeting New Lord Mayor: Musicians and Artists seeking sanctuary were invited to meet the new Lord Mayor of Belfast, Christina Black to share their stories. 

September (to November) - Politics of Performance Module At Queens University: In partnership with Queens University (School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics) an online module with special guest speakers in our worldwide network. This year guests Zarifa Adiba, Robin Korevaar, David Randal, Shahab Coohe, Edwar Caldéron, Ami Yares,  Liz DeLise, Sabika Abbas.

October - One World On The Move: As part of One World Festival managed by CADA an evening at Accidental Theatre with musicians and dancers from Somalia, Iran and South Africa.

October - Musical Journeys Concert: In partnership with our friends at 5th Element, Blackbox Belfast and Belfast International Arts Festival the concert featured musicians from the Middle East and African continent and 5th element DJs and breakers - a fabulous (sold out) night with a diverse mix of songs, poetry, dance and spoken word from artists we have welcomed to our shores for sanctuary. Supported by Belfast City Council Good Relations & Arts Council Northern Ireland.

October - Food of Eritrea and Syria at The Mac Belfast:  In partnership with our friends at The Mac Belfast an evening centred around foo. Ghada & Henok designed the Eritrean and Syrian food menu with The Mac's in house chef and we invited people for different communities to attend. DJs Precious & Yordanos providing the soundtrack

October - The 100 Book Festival (100 year project): The 100 is a project in Northern Ireland focused on sharing the stories from 100 women connected to this beautiful land. A book contains 100 pages of unique art (poetry, stories, painting, photography, embroidery and more) created by 100 women. The book was created during 2021 - 2022 and centres on themes of belonging and connection to the earth. On the 15th October 2022 the book was planted as a time capsule for 100 years at Mount Stewart a National Trust Heritage site. The book will not be seen again until 15th October 2122. A festival took place on 15th October to celebrate the book as part of the planting ceremony. This was the final project managed by Beyond Skin project manager Kerry Anderson before she moved to Scotland. What a amazing finale project to end on! The 100 webpage

December - Launch of Alghochak Afghan Association Northern Ireland: Beyond Skin assisting another organisation to get up and running. A launch event was held at Stormont.Parliament Buildings Belfast with traditional Afghanistan music by guests Saphwat Simab , Junaid Ali and Rahmat Simab. The event was sponsored by Naomi Long MLA and ICFAM.

December - MARRS programme Ards & North Down:  A programme of shared collaborative activities with host communities and people seeking asylum

December - Christmas Gifts: Over 300 new children's toys were donated to Beyond Skin for us to give to children seeking asylum or in refugee status. In addition musicial instruments were donated including guitars which we always seek for our guitar clubs. Thank you to all who donated and our friends who helped distribute.

More photos on Photobucket Gallery  Facebook Gallery

 A sincere heartfelt thanks to all our partners organistation & businesses, volunteers and creative team for their hard work, passion and commitment. And to all who donated, secret angels and the following funders: Arts Council NI, Community Relations Council, Community Lottery Fund, Gary Lighbody Foundation, SEUPB PeaceIV, Newry Mourne Down Council, Antrim & Newtownabbey Council, Ards and North Down Council, Belfast City Council, Education Authority, Radius Housing, Phoenix Gas, Fonds Soziokultur, British Council, Goethe-Institute, Lord Rana Foundation. 

Best Wishes to all for 2023

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