Visit London Blog » rich mix Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 International Women’s Day Events in London Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:02:17 +0000 (Detail from) Cover of the book titled 'Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole', 1857. Artist/Photographer/Maker: James Blackwood. Courtesy of the Museum of London

From brave suffragettes to record-breaking graffiti artists, International Women’s Day is a chance to recognise, celebrate and further the amazing achievements of women today and throughout history.

As well as the Million Women Rise march, set to take over the streets of London on 8 March – International Women’s Day itself – London has all sorts of exciting and fascinating events taking place throughout the month. So if you don’t know your Mary Wollstonecraft from your Malala Yousafzai, or if you just want to enjoy great art, music and debate created by women, check some of these events out…

Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre

WOW, the Southbank Centre’s annual festival of talks, debates, performance and activism celebrating women and girls is back. There’s something for everyone, with politics, science, sex, fashion, war and power on the discussion menu. Highlights include comedy from Sandi Toksvig, inspiring words from Malala Yousafzai and music from Ronnie Spector. 5-9 Mar

Meet Mary Seacole at the Museum of London Docklands

As part of the International Women’s Day celebrations at the Museum of London Docklands you can Meet Mary Seacole (pictured above), the unsung hero of nursing who was known to the troops as Mother Seacole. Other activities include the Wonderful Women interactive tour and The Meeting of Two Queens, the true story of the encounter between Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen, and Queen Elizabeth I. 8 Mar

Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover

See 100 female graffiti artists and painters break a new world record as they paint the 300-metre-long Leake Street Tunnel in Lambeth, South London, in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness. Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover is organised by Street Art Agency in partnership with Cre8 Gallery, Paint my Panda and GOT (Girls on Top). Watch the action live or even get involved yourself (after purchasing your ticket, email for more info). 8 Mar

In the Booth, In the Gallery: Votes for Women at The Jewish Museum London

Learn about the part Jewish women played in the campaign for votes for women – and their fight for equal rights for synagogue membership – in this fascinating talk at the Jewish Museum London. Led by tour guide and author Rachel Kolsky, the event commemorates 100 years since the National Gallery’s ‘Rokeby Venus’ painting was slashed by the suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914. 9 Mar

Women of the Great War at The New Cavendish Club

Did one of your female relatives serve in World War I as a nurse, in the Voluntary Aid Detachment or in the Ambulance corps? Then Age Exchange want to hear from you! The charity is working on a project entitled Children of the Great War and are inviting people to come down and share their stories with an interviewer. Women of The Great War takes place at The New Cavendish Club, and is free but booking is required. Don’t forget to being your letters, photographs and other treasures to be photographed. 8 Mar

Women’s History Month in East London

Forget one day, events celebrating the achievements of women are taking place throughout the month of March in East London. Just a few of the many exciting events taking place include: Women at the National Gallery (National Gallery, 8 and 22 Mar), Muhammad Ali And Me (Rich Mix, 9 Mar) and The Real World: Art, Gender and the Media Discussion (Whitechapel Gallery, 6 Mar). For the full programme visit the Alternative Arts website.

The Sistren at Fairfield Halls

History is brought to life at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls, as the true stories of three inspiring women who fought for equal rights are adapted for the stage in The Sistren. The women are: writer Mary Wollstonecraft, the founder of modern feminism; Claudia Jones, founder of the first Black British weekly newspaper and the Notting Hill Carnival; and suffragette Emma Lloyd Sproson, Wolverhampton’s first female councillor.

Birds Eye View Film Festival

The Birds Eye View film festival, celebrating female filmmakers, doesn’t properly start until 8 April but the organisers are hosting a special launch event on International Women’s Day, with a screening of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. The documentary traces the story of the Wonder Woman figure and introduces real-life superheroines. 8 Mar

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Free events in London in January Tue, 31 Dec 2013 11:30:53 +0000 London’s New Year's Day Parade 2014

If your pockets are considerably lighter after Christmas, you don’t have to stay indoors this January to avoid spending money.

All the events we’ve picked out below are free, so pack your flask and sandwiches and enjoy a day out – without your wallet.

London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2014 (1 Jan)

London has held a New Year’s Day Parade on the first day of every year since 1987. Get 2014 off to a great start by joining thousands of spectators along the parade route to watch some 8,500 performers from around the world. Participants this year include All The Queen’s Horses, Merrydowners Morris and London’s Pearly Kings and Queens.

Farewell To Christmas at Geffrye Museum

Farewell To Christmas at Geffrye Museum (5 Jan)

Wrap up warm and join the Geffrye Museum as it marks the end of Christmas with the old tradition of burning holly and ivy. Taking place in the garden, Farewell to Christmas also features carol singing, mulled wine, Twelfth Night cake and stories about Epiphany. If you arrive early, pop inside to check out the (also free) Christmas Past exhibition, exploring 400 years of seasonal traditions in English homes.

London Ice Sculpting Festival

London Ice Sculpting Festival at Canary Wharf (10-12 Jan)

See a block of ice transformed into a work of art at the London Ice Sculpting Festival. Teams of talented sculptors will gather at the event in Canary Wharf and compete to win the top title in each of the main categories: Single Block (theme: River Life), Freestyle and Big Block (theme: Fabulous Fashion). Give it a go yourself at one of the Masterclass sessions.

Peacebeats at Rich Mix (29 Jan)

One for the young people out there, Peacebeats is a special one-day festival to promote peace and positivity. Taking place at East London arts centre Rich Mix, the event features spoken word, music, performance and film.

Royal College of Music

Free Music in January

London is a vibrant hub for musicians, so it’s no wonder there are concerts every night of the week all over the capital. Here are just a few of the free gigs taking place in London this January:

Free Exhibitions in January

L1162 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)  Sunflowers, 1889-01 Arles Oil on canvas 95 x 73 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation) s31V/1962  F458  © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)There are many ongoing exhibitions still available to catch in January, but what’s new? Here are a few free exhibitions opening this month:

Don’t forget to check out our listings of Free London Attractions too.

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Colombia in London: Colombiage – A Festival of Colombian Arts and Culture Fri, 04 Feb 2011 10:00:22 +0000

Colombiage is a London festival that celebrates contemporary Colombian art. 2011 will be its 5th year, and there are plans to make it bigger and better than ever. We spoke to Landa Acevedo-Scott, Founder & Artistic Director of Colombiage about the project.

“The first Colombiage was a one-day festival. It was on a Saturday – I remember it very clearly! It was a real experiment. We did it to see how people would respond. Three strands: music, literature and cinema. There were four events; it started at 2pm, with a literary event with Juan Gabriel Vasques, the writer. We held all the events at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, keeping it all under one roof.

“It was packed! There were a lot of Colombian people, of course, but also British people, which was great, because that is what we were hoping to attract. To introduce a different side of Colombian culture to lots of people has always been the hope of Colombiage.

“My favourite moment was working with Manu Chao last year. We had a big benefit concert last October at The Coronet. It was fantastic to work with such a high-profile figure, and one that was so lovely! He brought a lot of people together.

“For 2011, Colombiage will no longer be a one-day festival. We’re quite an established brand now; we want to do things throughout the year, so people can have a chance to come throughout the year.

“This year we will still focus on cinema, literature, music, and we’re branching out into theatre and the visual arts. We’ll use different venues too. There’ll still be things at the Riverside, but also at Rich Mix and at Southbank, and Sabor in Islington (for the literary evenings).

“The team behind Colombiage are mostly Colombians who’ve been working and living here for a long time. But it’s not exclusive! There are Americans, French and English on the team. That way we have interests included from all over the world. They’re people who have extensive experience in their specialised areas.” Landa mentions that Colombiage is currently recruiting, and asks anyone who’s interested in helping out to get in touch via the website.

Landa believes that there are two things that make Colombiage stand out. “Firstly, it’s never been done before. Lots of the Colombian events that come to the UK are sporadic and traditional. This is more about the contemporary: the latest things, the latest releases. For example, we ran the first showcase of experimental Colombian cinema last year.

“Second, there’s the education strand. With any country, people jump to conclusions, and develop perceptions. Our education programme aims to look at the problems in context; looking at Colombia’s many contradictions through its culture.” 

Here’s a video trailer for Colombiage 2009, which gives a great taste of what to expect from Colombiage. Visit for more information, including more videos.

Where else can you find Colombian art, music and food in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Uruguay in London: Photographer Julio Etchart Fri, 29 Oct 2010 14:14:17 +0000

To find a little piece of Uruguay in London, I spoke to photographer Julio Etchart, who moved from Uruguay to London in the 1970s. Julio has worked all over the world on projects ranging from music commissions, magazines and displays for charitable organisations such as Oxfam. He is currently exhibiting at the Apples and Pears Gallery in East London.

Both Uruguay and London have an influence on Julio’s work:

“All my career has been for NGOs and charities that work in development. I’d like to think the influence is there. Uruguay is a very cultural country. It has a very high literacy rate and good state education. But being [in London] at the centre of the cultural capital of the world has broadened my horizons. I was influenced by many cultures here.”

And what is the Uruguayan community in London like?

“We are a small community of 400 or so.

“There isn’t anything that you could call Uruguayan in London – apart from the expats, of course! There used to be a fine restaurant in Camden, the well-known Camden Brasserie, set up and run by two Uruguayan brothers for almost 25 years. But though they kept the place, they are both retired back home and they just got a (non-Uruguayan) manager to run it. That’s the closest you get to it.”

But even without a physical hub in London, there is one thing that unites the Uruguayan community here: football! Uruguay reached the semi-finals in this year’s World Cup:

“The World Cup was the only opportunity for the expats to get together. It only happened once, at the semifinals: a group of us, invited by the ambassador, got together at an English pub in West London to watch it.

“I watched most of the games at the Rich Mix cultural centre in Bethnal Green, since I was invited to have a slide show of my football photo gallery on the big screen during the intervals.” [You can see the slide show at]

Uruguay has even enjoyed Olympic football success:

“Uruguay won the football World Cup twice (in 1930 and 1950) a long time ago, though, but we also won the Olympics Football cup (before the World Cup was actually instituted) at the Paris and Amsterdam Olympics of 1924 and 1928. So there is a strong, albeit old, Olympic connection there.”

Julio’s current photography exhibition, Katha: In the Footsteps of George Orwell in Burma is showing at the Apples and Pears Gallery, documenting Orwell’s five years in Burma and locations from his novel Burmese Days:

“I read all of his novels in translation as a child. I went to the places where Burmese Days was written and followed the trail. It’s a travelogue.”

Julio’s next project is an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the independence of Latin American countries. It takes place in City Hall from 22 November 2010.

Do you know of anything Uruguayan in London? We’d love to know.

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The World in One City: Philippe Sibelly’s Multicultural London Photography Project Wed, 08 Sep 2010 09:00:14 +0000

“Where are you from?” is a question Philippe Sibelly has pondered a lot. Born in Marseilles, Philippe has travelled widely, living in Sydney and Ireland before settling in London.

It’s London’s multiculturalism that inspired his World in One City challenge. In 2005, in the run-up to the announcement that London would host the 2012 Olympics, Philippe decided to capture that multiculturalism in a photography project.

A year and a half later, Philippe had a set of 202 photographs, representing each of the countries taking part in the Olympic Games at the time. (Now there are 205). The photos are all currently on display in Rich Mix in East London. In each Polaroid portrait, the subject is holding the previous photo, creating a chain, Philippe explains, like the Olympic flame. In view of our own current World in London blog project, I felt I had to go and meet him.

“At the start, it was really easy,” Philippe says. “I thought, ‘I know people from pretty much everywhere.’ I tried doing things to challenge people’s perceptions. Karim from Peru is a refugee from Palestine. So he doesn’t look like he’s from Peru. But he is. And in the next photo, he’s being held by an Israeli, Maya.”

“But it became more and more difficult. It started taking so long. I spent hours on email, organising with friends, travelling around the city to meet people from different places. To New Malden to find someone from South Korea. To Woolwich to meet someone from Africa…”

“Some days, I’d travel around and only take one or two photos. It was really, really frustrating.”

As well as meeting friends of friends and colleagues, Philippe says he also stopped people in the street to ask where they were from. “Very few people got annoyed,” he says. “Really, despite what people say, Londoners are very open. It may be because I’m a foreigner myself, but people were open to taking part.”

Looking through the chain of photos is fascinating. Philippe remembers all of them, and recounts many anecdotes that stand out for him.

About Jonas, a monk from the Solomon Islands; Fredi from Mali, a footballer who played for Tottenham and West Ham; how top London chef Giorgio Locatelli wanted to represent Italy; and about Magdalena from Serbia Montenegro.

Magdalena presents what Philippe finds is an interesting question. In his project, she represents a country that no longer exists. Where does she say she’s “from” now? The slightly artificial construct of nationality fascinates Philippe. The boys he photographed to represent Haiti (Adam) and Pakistan (Zishaan) have never actually been to those countries. “But Adam said it would make his mother, who’s from Haiti, very proud. And Zishaan, well, he thinks of himself as fully English and fully Pakistani. He said to me, ‘How can I be half and half? I’m both.’ I find that strong sense of nationalism, from people who’ve never even been to the country they say they’re from, very strange.”

It’s a testament to London’s unique diversity that of the whole list of Olympic nations (a list he chose because it’s fairly neutral), Philippe only struggled to find people from about five. “For these five nations I chose someone linked in some way to this place: someone who has lived there, has family there, or even, in the case of Nauru, I settled for someone who knew where it was.”

Philippe has mixed views on the complex issue of London’s multiculturalism. “Diversity is great, but you can’t be too romantic about it. It’s not always a positive thing for everyone. When your local shop stops selling your sausages and starts selling samosas, it can be difficult for people to get used to.

“The best people can do is live with it, and get the positives out of it. Take the good.”

You can see Philippe’s World In One City photographs at Rich Mix, or online here.

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Visit London Asks: What Are You Doing to Celebrate International Women’s Day? Mon, 08 Mar 2010 11:46:02 +0000 Happy International Women’s Day! IWD is a global day to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women from the past, in the present and in the future.

In some places (Bulgaria, China, Russia, Vietnam) International Women’s Day is a national holiday.

Here in London, there are lots of events to celebrate IWD. We want to know what you’re up to on this special day.

International Women’s Day Events in London:

  • Novelists Diana Evans and Benardine Evaristo are at Rich Mix tonight, talking about the theme of migration in their work. This event is also part of the East Festival.  7.30pm.
  • Join Me On The Bridge is an international campaign promoting peace and development across the world. In London, a parade is gathering at Victoria Embankment Gardens for 10am, and walking to the Millenium Bridge at 12noon for a photograph. (The same thing is happening on bridges across the world from the Bahamas to Uganda, including the Brooklyn Bridge)
  • Tonight at the Haunch of Venison, there’ll be a series of dance performances for International Women’s Day. Contemporary ballet, traditional Balkan and South Asian and Sufi whirlers as well as pieces from top female performance artists Eloise Fornieles and Kirstie Mcleod
  • And, with Kathryn Bigelow’s fantastic, ground-breaking success at last night’s Academy Awards, don’t forget the Birds Eye Film Festival starts today: nine days of celebration and support for international women filmmakers.

What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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