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Window on the Arab world

Shubbak (meaning ‘window’) is London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture.
from Shubbak on Jun 30, 2015.

Congo public service without public or service

'Elephant’s Dream' is a quiet, sad, gently revealing film about three state institutions in Kinshasa: the post office, a railway station and the fire brigade.
from Daniel Nelson on Jun 27, 2015.

Recommended event


Covered by OneWorld


From the editor



Shubbak is a two-week festival  (11-26 July)  that every two years brings new and unexpected voices from the Arab world and Britain alongside established artists: over 60 events  across London.


* Feast of films  The Look of Silence is another extraordinary confrontation with killers from the Indonesian anti-leftist pogrom in the mid-1960s. The publicity describes it as a "companion piece" to Joshua Oppenheimer’s mesmerising The Act of Killing, but it's hard to think of any film to which the word "companion" is less applicable. This month sees the East End Film Festival on 1-12 July, and the  London Indian Film Festival


* On stage: Image Of An Unknown Young Woman, in which an image of a girl goes viral and helps spark a revolution, and The Initiate, in which a Somali Londoner decides to go back to his country of origin to free a British hostage - and gets more than he bargained for. At the end of the month Lampedusa returns: it's a two-hander, with intersecting monologues by an Italian fisherman and a British payday loans collector.


* Exhibitions include the Environmental Photographer of the Year awards, the Southbank Centre's  Adopting Britain, 70 Years of Migration, an absorbing display of Chinese Photobooks at the Photographers' Gallery and On Belonging: Photographs of Indians of African Descent.



* Below, rightLampedusa is back in town with an unusual take on the humanitarian crisis of African migrants making the dangerous sea crossing to Europe and the political crisis in Europe over how to treat the new arrivals: the play consists of two intersecting monologues, by an Italian fisherman and a British payday loans collector.


Daniel Nelson


Tw: @EventsNelson









Thursday 2 July

* The Girl with Seven Names – A North Korean Defector’s Story, yeonseo Lee, £12.50, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: Info: 7479 8940/

* Trade, global value chains and economic transformation, Ganeshan Wignaraja, Marie-Agnes Jouanjean, 11am-2pm, free, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300
* GDP RIP, Dirk Philipsen, 1-2pm, free, RSA, 8 John Adam Street, WC2. Info: 7930 5115/

* JUstine Greening: keynote nspeech, 6-7pm, free, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300


Friday 3 July

* Ebola crisis: how to build resilient health systems, Foday Sawi, Lisa Denney, Marc DuBois, Theodora Hamilton, 10am-noon, free, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300

* Tackling the Origins of Hate: Best Practice Workshop, 10am-1pm, Wiener Library,29 Russell Square, WC1. Info: 7636 7247/

* Can Coca-Cola save children's lives?, Simon Berry on how mimicking Coca-Cola got diarrhoea treatment rates up from 1% to 45% and what happened next, 12:45-2pm, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, WC1. Info:


Friday 3-Sunday 5 July

* Africa Writes, British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1. Info: Programme 


Tuesday 7 July

* Japan and the UK: a new development cooperation policy post-2015, Izumi Ohno, Kenneth King, Ken Okaniwa, 4-5.30pm, free, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300

*  Living the Lessons from Srebrenica, panel discussion, 6.30pm-8pm, The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, WC1. Info: 7636 7247


Wednesday 8 July
* How long until justice? A presentation of the Gaza platform, Saleh Hijazi, Eyal Weizman, Mahmoud Abu Rahma, 7-8.30pm, free, Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, EC2. Info: 7033 1500   
* Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London, Bidisha, 7pm, £3, redeemable against any purchase, Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, N1. Info:  7837 4473/
* The Battle for Europe's Last Virgin Forests, exhibition, screening and panel discussion with Gabi Paun and Andrew Simms, 7-9pm, free, Romanian Cultureal centre, 18 Fitzhardinge Street, W1.Info:
* Thinking beyond sectors for sustainable development, book launch, 5:30-7:45pm, Birckbeck College, Malet Street, WC1


Thursday 9 July

* A day of activities and actions on the third anniversary of the family migration rules, 11am-1pm: meeting in Houses of Parliament, SW1, 2-3pm: rally outside the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, SW1; 3pm: lunch and drinks at the Red Lion pub, 48 Parliament Street, SW1. Info:  IRR

* Social protection, taxation and inequality, Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone, Laura Abramovsky, Francesca Bastagli, Ehtisham Ahmad, Fabio Durán-Valverde, Armando Barrientos, 1.30-5.15pm, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300

* Tackling the Origins of Hate: Best Practice Workshop, 10am-1pm, Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, WC1. Info: 7636 7247/

* Racial Discrimination and Social Justice in the EU, Ben Bowling, Momodou Jallow, Alpa Parmar, Leslie Thomas QC, 6-7.30pm, free, British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1. Info: British Academy 

* Twitter chat: dos and don'ts of development photography, Nana Kofi Acquah, Claire Bracegirdle, Matthew Cottingham, Peter DiCampo, Tom Elkins, Lucille Flood, Hazel Healy, John Hilary, Ian McClelland, Tolu Ogunlesi, Nazia Parvez, Zachary Rosen, Minna Salami, Francesca Sears, Russell Watkins, Hans Zomer. Info: Twitter chat


Thursday 9-Friday 10 July

* The Race Relations Act at 50, 9.30am-5pm, The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1. Info: 7969 5200/


Friday 10 July
* Vigil for Gaza 1 year on!, Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street, 5:30-7:30pm. Info:
* Culture Now, Christine Delphy discusses her new work 'Separate and Dominate: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror', 1pm, £5, ICA, 12 Carlton House Terrace, SW1. Info: 7930 3647
* Bridging The Gap, discussion by artists, practitioners and organisations working with asylum seekers, refugees and young migrants to share experiences of working with new English speakers and discuss new approaches, 2-5pm, free, Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, NW6. Info:
* Graduating from social protection, Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Stephen Devereux, Keetie Roelen, Research Fellow, Anna McCord, Vishal Gadhavi,1pm, free, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300








* Environmental Photographer of the Year, 10am–5pm, free, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7, until 10 July. Info: 7591 3000

+ Environmental words and pictures


* The Travelling Archive in East London, Bengal in sound, text and image by Sukanta Majumdar and Moushimi Bhowik,  free, Rich Mix,  35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1, until 5 July. Info; 7613 7498


* The Map Is Not the Territory, a group of artists look at relationships and commonalities in Palestinian, Native American, and Irish experiences of invasion, occupation, and colonisation, free, P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, NW1, until 25 July. Info: 7121 6190/


* Adopting Britain, 70 Years of Migration, free, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1, until 6 September. Info: 7960 4200

+ 70 Years of migration on show


* The Chinese Photobook, exhibition on the largely unexplored history of photobook publishing in China, from 1900 to 2014, Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, W1, until 5 July. Info: 7087 9300/

+ Nudes fight back against propaganda in China


* On Belonging: Photographs of Indians of African Descent, Ketaki Sheth's portraits of the Sidi people, an Indian community of African descent - previously seen at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, free, National Portrait Gallery, WC2, until 31 August. Info:7312 2463/ Exhibition


*  LGBTI in Africa, photos of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, Amnesty UK, 25 New Inn Yard, EC2


Sweet Armageddon,  Joe Webb's collages comment on the way consumerism has distracted us from world problems, free, Hang Up Gallery, 56 Stoke Newington High Street, N16, until 12 July. Info:  3667 4550


* Coral Reefs, Secret Cities of the Sea, £10/ £4.50, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7, until 13 September. Info: 7942 5000


In Black and White: Prints and Posters From Africa and the Diaspora, free, V&A, South Kensington, until 6 July. Info: 7942 2000


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014, the work of professionals and amateur photographers from around the globe, £6.30-£12.60, Natural History Museum, South Kensington, until 30 August


* Echoes and Reverberations, six contemporary artists from the Arab region examine oral history and aural traditions and their roles in shaping and recalling history, free, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, until 16 August (part of Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture, 11-26 July) 

+ 18 July, performance day featuring new projects from three participating artists, 2-5:30pm


* Indigenous Australians, British Museum, WC1, until 2 August. Info:


* RE·THINK Migration, activities exploring, discovering, reflecting on and responding to migration + events and workshops in the space 10am–5pm daily, free, National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, SE10, until mid-November. Info:  UpdatesMaritime Museum


* Watershed: Art, Play and the Politics of Waterwork by 15 contemporary artists including Gavin Turk, Tania Kovats, Tatsuo Miyajima and Martin Parr, £8, Bexley Hall, Nourne Road, DA5, until 6 September. Info: 01322 526 57401322 526 574


* Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma 1852-1860, V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7, until 11 October,  part of the V&A India Festival. Info: 7942 2000


* Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist, major retrospective of the political artist's work demonstrates how Kennard has confronted issues in world politics and British government policy at home and abroad, free, Imperial War Museum,  Lambeth Road, SE1 until April. Info: 7416 5000/


London, Sugar & Slavery , permanent gallery at the Museum of Docklands, No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14. Info:


* atmosphere: exploring climate science, free, Science Museum, South Kensington. Info: Museum


Atlantic Worlds, transatlantic slave trade gallery, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, SE1. Info: 8858 4422/ 8312 656


Eco Zone Gallery, small gallery devoted to sustainable building products and materials, The Building Centre, Store Street, WC1. Info: 7692 4000/


from Saturday 11 July
* I Spy With My Little Eye, a new generation of Beirut artists, The Mosaic Rooms, A.M Qattan Foundation, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, SW5, until 22 August. Info:



Image:  My Skype Family is the UK premiere of a documentary play that explores the lengths people have been forced to go to in order to keep their families together as a result of the UK's family migration rules - which in 2012 introduced a new minimum income requirement for British nationals wishing to sponsor children, spouses or close family members from outside Europe.

My Skype Family





Around Town


The Look of Silence, stunning follow-up (“Profound, visionary, and stunning” - Werner Herzog; "One of the greatest and most powerful documentaries ever made. A profound comment on the human condition” - Errol Morris) to The Act Of Killing. Through director Joshua Oppenheimer's work filming perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discover how their son was murdered and the identity of the killers,  ICA, Regent Street Cinema, East Finchley Phoenix, Hackney Picturehouse, JW3 

+  Smashing the silence of impunity

* Timbuktu, a family living in peace outside the occupied city of Timbuktu is drawn into the terror after a dispute with a neighbour: a deeply empathetic film with mesmerising performances, Chelsea Cinema, ICA,  Curzons Bloomsbury and Soho,  Regent Street cinema, and local cinemas

+ A beautifully observed Timbuktu story 



* East End Film Festival, more than 70 feature film screenings, several short film programmes, and a variety of cross-arts events, until 12 July. Info:  Programme includes 4 July, Elephant's Dream, poetic portrait of people working in the state-run post office, railway station and fire department in Kinshasa; 5 July, Big Bang in Pyongyang, rollicking documentary about Dennis Rodman’s dalliance with North Korea; 6 July, Ghada, funny, touching Lebanese drama about a couple's attempt to persuade neighbours that their Down's syndrome boy is an angel; 7 July, God Loves The Fighter, fable about a Trinidadian vagrant prophet; 8 July, Chameleon, follows an investigation into a relifgious sect by the ‘James Bond of Ghanaian journalism’; Love, Theft and Other Entanglements, a Palestinian car thief gets into the trouble of his life; 9 July, Manos Soucias, gritty thrilly abiout life at the bottom of the Colombian drugs chain; 10 July, Crumbs, Ethiopian science fiction; 11 July, Killswitch, documentary about the global battle to control the internet, Udita, powerful firsthand account of the struggle of female garment workers for better working conditions in Bangladesh

+ The 'bold and brave' film festival

+ Public service without public or service


Friday 3 July

* Shades of True, eight female killers in the Rwandan genocide, who have been imprisoned for taking part in the killings, recount their experiences with clarity and a shocking lack of sentimentality + Q&A with director Alexandre Westphal, 7pm  £10, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: Info: 7479 8940/ 


Saturday 4 July

* Njinga, Queen of Angola, a 17th century Angolan woman leads her kingdom in a 40-year struggle for freedom and independence: though born into a patriarchal society she defied tradition to become queen at the age of 50, with the aim of ensuring her people’s protection from the Portuguese slave-traders and threats of colonisation + Q&A with Ama Biney 2pm, £6.50, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, SE1. Info:  


Wednesday 8 July
* Avant-Noir: Volume 2, surveys contemporary work by and about African and African diaspora moving image artists and cultures, 6.45pm, £5, ICA, 12 Carlton House Terrace, SW1. Info: 7930 3647


Saturday 12 July

* A homage to Michel Khleifi, triple bill of documentaries, Visions of Palestine, Location Hunting in Palestine, Description of a Struggle and Ma’loul Celebrates its Destruction, followed by iscussion with Tariq Ali, Michel Khleifi, Peter Kosminsky and Ilan Pappé, £11/£8, ICA, The Mall, SW1. Info: 7930 3647 (Part of Shubbak Literature Festival)








* Temple, fictional account of the Occupy movement's struggle at St Paul's, Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2, until 25 July. Info: 0844 871 76240844 871 7624

+ My hopes for the Occupy St Paul's drama


* The Initiate,  a tale of altruism, greed and the search for belonging: a British couple are seized by Somali pirates and a London Somali taxi-driver flies out to negotiate their release, £18, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1, until 18 July. Info: 7960 4200
A London cabbie takes on his toughest fare

+  All's fare in love and war


* Lampedusa, two intersecting monologues, by an Italian fisherman and a British payday loans collector, Soho Theatre, Dean Street, W1, until 25 July. Info: 7478 0100
+ A glimpse of hope in a sea of sorrows

+ 4 July, Q&A with cast and creative
+ 11 July, Arts and Activism, panel discussion
+ 18 July, The Migration Crisis, panel discussion,


Saturday 4 July

* My Skype Family, the stories of three British families who have been torn apart by recent changes to the family migration rules, plus discussion with Jean Lambert MEP, Manjit Gill QC, Simon Israel, Baroness Sally Hamwee and Don McVey, 7:45pm, £10, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1. Info: 7960 4200/ Booking


Monday 13 July
* Split/Mixed, Ery Nzaramba's coming-of-age tale of a boy growing up in Rwanda in the '90s,  a story of friendships and self-discovery, with tragedy lurking, 9pm, £10, Soho Theatre, Dean Street, W1







Tuesday 30 June

* Dan Cruikshank's Civilisation Under Attack, the smashing of antiquities by seen as idolatrous, 9pm, BBC4

* Book of the Week: Queen of the Desert, Gertrude Bell's role in the founding of Iraq, 9.45am, midnight30, R4

* Amerasians: Children of the Dust, children fathered by US servicemen during the Vietnam war, 4pm, R4

Wednesday 1 July

* Book of the Week: Queen of the Desert, Gertrude Bell's role in the founding of Iraq, 9.45am, midnight30, R4

Thursday 2 July

* The Tribe, last in series abiout life in an Ethiopian village, 9pm, C4

* Panorama; The Missing Stolen School Children, the radicalisation of some of the Nigerian children kidnapped  in Chibok by Boko Haram, midnight20 BBC2

* Metro Manila, gritty action film from The Philippines, 11.55pm, Film4

Book of the Week: Queen of the Desert, Gertrude Bell's role in the founding of Iraq, 9.45am, midnight30, R4

Friday 3 July

* Even the Rain, really interesting feature about the making of a film in Bolivia about Christopher Columbus which then becomes an adventure yarn as the crew gets involved in a clampdown on public protests about the privatisation of water supplies, 1.30am, BBC2

Book of the Week: Queen of the Desert, Gertrude Bell's role in the founding of Iraq, 9.45am, midnight30, R4