Festival Of Looking 2023

Fri 14th - Sun 23 July

Past Event

Festival of Looking returns THIS SUMMER to the Urban Room!

Join us for 11 days as local and international artists invite us to get closer to Folkestone! We will play in nature, meditate, make music, share stories, listen reflectively, and eat together, all in celebration of deepening connections to each other, and the uniqueness of this place.

Taking inspiration from the environment that surround us, Festival of Looking asks who we are as a town, how we got here to where we are today, and where we go next.

Urban Room Folkestone believes working with artists broadens our imagination for what’s possible in our communities. We provide the space to be curious and explore what needs to be done to realise the changes we all want to see.Have a look below for an overview of the events we have planned throughout the festival – and click on one to see the details!

MagiC Carpets + Cultural Bridge

Working with Folkestone Fringe, Urban Room Folkestone welcomes MagiC Carpets artists: Maja Renn & Piotr Matkowski from Poland and Joséphine Javier from France and host FAIL (Fine Arts Institute Leipzig) for a whole month, made possible by Cultural Bridge.

Magic Carpets is a Creative Europe platform uniting 14 European cultural organisations. Artists embark on residencies abroad, engaging with local artists and communities to create new work which highlights local particularities.

Magic Carpets is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European.

Cultural Bridge involves 15 partnerships between UK and German-based organisations, who have been awarded funding to develop cultural projects exploring issues facing communities across both countries. The aim of the Cultural Bridge programme is to act as a platform of artistic exchange, enabling artists to strengthen the exchange between the UK and Germany and foster cultural collaboration.

Festival of Looking 2023 Programme

Themes of storytelling, collaboration, connection to place + eachother are echoed throughout the festival, with an invitation to celebrate together.

The poetry and essays explored through Fran Hajilou’s events, as well as a short film screening, and archival photography exhibition curated by Anita McKenzie will immersively take us through questions and conversations of belonging, identity and community. Folktale and stories of our histories are explored in events by artists Jim Lockey and Local Foreigner while we will be invited to look more deeply at our relationship to food, and ways it can connect us to each other through the performative ‘Nurture Salon’ by Polish artist duo Maja Renn and Piotr Matkowski – and the sharing of recipes by fellow townspeople.

There is so much to look forward to, and we can’t wait to experience it all together.Have a look below for an overview of the events we have planned throughout the festival, and click the link for more details on each event.


You can download the programme here

FAILSTONE : Urban Room Takeover
Fri 14 – Sun 23 July
Urban Room Folkestone

Festival of Looking Launch
Fri 14 July, 7pm
Urban Room Folkestone

Seaside Memories Exhibition
Fri 14 – Sat 22 July
Folkestone Museum

Entangled Roots: Exhibition
Fri 14 – Sun 16th July
Fourth Wall Folkestone

Nurture Salon
Sat 15 July, Sun 16 July, Sat 22 July, Sun 23 July.
Link to book via Eventbrite – Urban Room Folkestone & Payers Park

Artist Talk and Q&A with Josephine Javier
Sat 15 July, 6pm
Urban Room Folkestone

Entangled Roots: poetry readings by Francine Hajilou
Sun 16 July
Fourth Wall Folkestone

Entangled Roots: a walk with Francine Hajilou
Mon 17 July, 6pm
Urban Room Folkestone

Island Folk at Home
Sat 15 July, 11am-1pm
15 St. Michael’s Street CT20 1LL

Stories, Faces + Places: a short film screening in Folkestone
Fri 21 July, 7:30
Urban Room Folkestone

I Have Seen The Dogfish Woman
Fri 14 – Sun 23 July
TBC before start of festival

Artist Talk and Q&A with Maja Renn & Piotr Matkowski
Sat 22 July, 6pm
Urban Room Folkestone

Participating Artists:

Maja Renn

Piotr Matkowski

Josephine Javier

FAIL (Fine Art Institute Leipzig)

Daniel Tollady

Anita McKenzie

Rhiana Bonterre

Francine Hajilou

Jim Lockey

Local Foreigner

Toby Melville-Brown

Festival of Looking is produced in partnership with Folkestone Fringe, and is supported by Kent County Council, Cultural Bridge, UCA (University for the Creative Arts) MagiC Carpet and The European Union.