BEAF Arts Festival 2023

16-25 June 2023

The theme for BEAF 2023 was:

Unheard voices

BEAF Arts Festival 2023 was our most ambitious festival yet, showcasing unheard voices and giving space to local, national and international artists. It was a true celebration of accessible, inclusive and original art in all forms. 10 days of exhibitions, performances, workshops and events across Boscombe from 16-25 June including:

Official Launch Party featuring BCUC and Harare Music at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth •  Boscombe World, a major new exhibition by artist Harold Offeh • Stateless, a dance circus performance from Joli Vyann • The Outsiders Project • Portraits of Boscombe by photographer Brendan Barry • Pop-up Arts Pavilion for workshops • Plus lots more.

2023 Festival Highlights

Boscombe World By Harold Offeh

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm, B.A.D.

B.A.D. featured our major festival exhibition, Boscombe World, commissioned from artist Harold Offeh, an adventurous visual and sensory art installation, inviting play, participation and contemplation.

“Boscombe World explores the area’s rich history as a seaside resort for visitors in search of health, recuperation and pleasure, brought into dialogue with Boscombe’s contemporary perception as a place for recovery, sanctuary and asylum.”

BEAF 2023 Launch Party FT BCUC

Fri 16 June, 8.30pm-11pm, 02 Boscombe

The festival kicked off with our Launch Party on Friday 16 June, bringing incredible music all the way from Soweto to Boscombe’s glorious Victorian music venue, the O2. Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (known as BCUC) combines a heady mix of indigenous funk, hip hop and punk rock energy, portraying the rich traditions, rituals and beliefs coming out of Africa.

‘without a doubt the best live act I saw’ Gilles Peterson

The BEAF Art Pavilion

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-1pm & 2-4pm, Boscombe Precinct

For BEAF Arts Festival 2023 we built our first Art Pavilion; a space for workshops, performances, community events and projects.

The Cabinet of Living Cinema joined us for sound workshops, and throughout the week people took take part in printing their own T-shirts, lino-printing, creative writing, up-cycling, drawing, zine making and much more.


Festival visitors





“Great community of events, artists and interactive experiences. Thank you for making the arts so accessible.” Audience member, Boscombe World 

“Not only was it wonderful to have my eye typed but to have a wonderful conversation through it was also very special.” Participant, Eye Contact

“I loved reading the Defenders stories. Brave people. The stories of the light art brought tears to my eyes.” Audience member, The Defenders

“All of the acts were so diverse in their different performances but all were equally as powerful in their own way.” Audience member, The Outsiders Project

“This was amazing. Seeing all the hard work and care that everyone put into their art and the way it affected everyone who came out to see it, was beautiful. Truly wonderful!” Audience member, Group show exhibition

“This exhibition has made me think more deeply about the personal journey of someone seeking refuge and has allowed me to put myself in that mindset. Thank you so much for this.” Audience member, The Stories We Thread

“Amazing! I love the festival every year.” Audience member, B.A.D. Gallery

“Moving and emotional” Audience member, Stateless

“What thought provoking and creative works.” Audience member, For Clara

“Scott is a beautiful stortyeller. He has charisma and fragility that captures the audience.” Audience member, Scott Lavene

“An incredibly talented group of young artists. Keep shining.” Audience member, Rising Voices 

“Lady Unchained was amazing. She really hit home with her poems.” Audience member, Lady Unchained 

“The screening was really good and enlightening. Seeing different stories and styles was gorgeous.” Audience member, B.A.D. shorts

It was great to be part of a community of artists and to work together. The commission made me focus on a theme and I felt that that helped my work. Artist feedback

YES definitely, I really enjoyed the whole experience and would volunteer again! Volunteer Feedback

It has been wonderful and incredibly rewarding to have such an emotional response to the work – and to have audience suggestions relating to where it could be taken next – we have been inspired with new ambitions! Artist Feedback

Explore our programme

BEAF Festival 2023 Opening Celebration

Fri 16 June, 6pm-7.45pm

Free event, please RSVP

Join us on Friday 16 June 6pm at B.A.D. as we launch the start of the festival and the preview to see Boscombe World, a major new BEAF commission by Harold Offeh.

BEAF 2023 Launch Party Featuring BCUC

Fri 16 June, 8pm-11pm

The festival kicks off with our Launch Party on Friday 16 June, bringing incredible music all the way from Soweto to Boscombe’s glorious Victorian music venue, the O2 by BCUC supported by Harare.

Boscombe World by Harold Offeh

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

B.A.D. will feature our major festival exhibition, Boscombe World, commissioned from artist Harold Offeh, an adventurous visual and sensory art installation, inviting play, participation and contemplation.

Portraits of Boscombe by Brendan Barry

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

Over the course of the festival we invite you to capture images of Boscombe and the people within our wonderful community using a camera obscura.

For Clara by Anders Birger

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

A time capsule that consists of stories from our time dealing with topics such as identity, nationality, borders and trauma, and how these topics are part of deciding how we define ourselves.

Boscombe Flags by Ian Wornast

April 2023 – April 2024

Free event

BEAF has commissioned Ian Wornast, an artist from ActionSpace to create new semi-abstract flags in response to Boscombe and it’s architecture.

BEAF Art Pavilion: Our community space

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-4pm

Free event, booking advised

Spilling out onto the streets, BEAF is building its first Art Pavilion, a space for workshops, performances and maybe a game of backgammon or chess, or maybe just a place to lounge and grab a coffee.

The Stories We Thread by Seeking Refuge

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

The Stories We Thread brings together all the voices of the Seeking Refuge project; the young unaccompanied refugees, asylum seekers, and all the women and men refugees who come to our weekly workshops to create a large communal artwork.

BEAF group exhibition at the royal arcade

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

Group exhibition presenting intertwining narratives and portraits from the past and present. Responding to the theme of unheard voices. The artists were selected from a BEAF call out for commissions within our festival.

Defenders by Julia Kochetova x Fine Acts

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

Stories from a nation under fire. Stories from a nation made of hope, pride, and resilience. When the war in Ukraine started, hundreds of thousands of civilians left their previous lives behind, and volunteered to protect their homeland.

Postcards from Prison in Boscombe

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

Postcards from Prison is an exhibition made up of rarely heard voices from inside the criminal justice system. Following an Open call-out the exhibition has been selected by members of The Outsiders Project.

Access BEAF group exhibition

Sat 17-Sun 25 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

Access BEAF is a group of emerging artists from across Bournemouth and Dorset. The group was set up to support one another, particularly for those artists who have experienced racism and may have faced barriers and access into the arts and education.

IN TOUCH by miss high leg kick

Sat 17 June, 12pm, 2pm & 5pm

Free event

In Touch celebrates the memories of three girls on the Boscombe Hippodrome dancefloor on a night out in 1959. This is a multi-sensory performance show evoking a moment from the 1950s in Boscombe via music, dance, fragrance, with a particular emphasis on one of our most overlooked senses – touch.

Eye contact by Keira Rathbone

Sat 17 & Sun 18 June, 11am-6pm

Free event

Join Keira in the BEAF Art Pavilion where she will create live typewriter artworks that she describes as ‘typics’ to document the eyes of people in Boscombe. Over the course of the festival a collection of eyes will also fill the streets throughout Boscombe, creating a trail for the public to find and explore.

The Buzztastic Bee-Balancing Blundershow

Sat 17 & Sat 24 June, 11am, 1pm & 3pm

Free event, booking advised

You may have heard of a Flea Circus but what about a Bee Circus?! Come and take a closer look at one of nature’s most buzz-tastic creatures, the humble bee, in a new, family-friendly show.

Hole by holly spillar

Sat 17 June, 7-8pm

Join comedy writer/performer Holly Spillar in a muff-busting, musical mystery on sex, pain and the brain. After a diagnosis of vaginismus (a condition preventing penetrative sex) HOLE showcases the determination of one woman to achieve the basic, beige sex life of her dreams, with only a little red loop pedal for company.

A Night Of Music and Stories by Scott Lavene

Sat 17 June, 9pm-10.30pm

Scott Lavene is a storyteller who can capture all the madness, joy and frustration of life while singing about worms writhing in the ground. Lavene’s been in bands since his teens, but only really located the voice that makes his albums Broke and Milk City Sweethearts so remarkable. 

Boscombe balms with bones

Sun 18 June, 1-4pm

In this workshop, artist bones tan jones will walk us through the process of foraging for local herbs and transforming them into healing balms for first aid, muscle relief and skin health, using a process that honours the pagan traditions of respectful foraging, planetary herbalism and sigil imbued vessels.

The Lock-In by The Outsiders Project

Mon 19 June, 6pm-7.30pm

The Lock-in is an ongoing monthly event for our outstanding outsider artists to try out their new uncensored work. Expect brilliant new writing, spoken word and music from unheard voices.

Barbaric Genius film screening

Mon 19 June, 8.30pm-10pm

The story of one remarkable man’s journey from street mugger and wino to chess champion and award-winning author, and how a single phone call brought him crashing down again.

Future Worlds Workshop

Tues 20 June, 2-4pm

Free event, booking advised

On World Refugee Day, join Anders Birger for a workshop on your future. We will be exploring our future stories and imagine ourselves looked back on from a not too distant future. What will be your narrative, and what stories will be told about us by our descendants? 


Tues 20 June, 7pm-8.30pm

Showcasing the very best of emerging talent from the area, Prime Cuts examines the festival theme of Turbulence through the eyes of local creators.


Wed 21 June, 4-6pm

Free event, booking advised

In this special edition, Rising Voices brings an opportunity for Boscombe to hear poetry from local writers of colour, and engage them in a Q & A on their lived experience. Come talk all things migration- in Hindi, Arabic, Urdu!

Iranian Cinema Evening ft Shirin Neshat

Wed 21 June, 6.30pm-10.15pm

An Iranian cinema evening featuring two films directed by Shirin Neshat & Shoja Azari, Land of Dreams and Looking for Oum Kulthum.

Tell me you’re neurodivergent without telling me

Thurs 22 June, 2-4pm 

Myriam San Marco will be talking about their writing journey and performing extracts from their first one-person show, Tell me you’re neurodivergent without telling me – an exploration of the neurodivergent experience and a critical response to neurotypical society. 

Lady Unchained in conversation

Thurs 22 June, 6.30pm-7.45pm

Lady Unchained performs her brilliant work which illuminates her life and the world we live in. Her mission is to prove that there is life after prison. The performance will be followed by a conversation hosted by The Outsiders Project.

Stateless by Joli Vyann with seeking refuge

Fri 23 & Sat 24  June, 7pm-8pm

BEAF has commissioned Boscombe-based, dance company Joli Vyann, who will be performing their awe-inspiring fusion of dance circus with participants from our Seeking Refuge Project. 

Boscombe World Tea Room

Sat 24 June, 1-3pm

Free event, booking advised

Join artist Tara White for a drop-in tea blending workshop, where you’re invited to create your own custom Boscombe Blend. We’ll explore the healing properties of tea, generations of tea culture and our inherited connections to different ingredients.

B.A.D. film shorts programme

Sun 25 June, 3pm-4.30pm

Join us on the last day of the festival for a programme of short films by local and national artists exploring themes of identity, turbulence and culture related to this year’s theme of ‘unheard voices.’

BEAF Arts would like to thank the generosity of all those who have made the 2023 Festival happen and who have supported us to create this incredible showcase of creativity. 

Our key funding partners for BEAF 2023 Festival: Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England and Bournemouth Coastal BID. 

Kindly supported by: Alice Ellen Cooper Dean Charitable Foundation, Alpine Foundation, Awards for All, Community Action Network, Dorset Community Foundation, Dorset Police, Henry Smith Charity, JP Morgan, Lottery Community Fund, New River Retail, People’s Health Trust, Recreate Dorset, Sovereign Centre, Sovereign Housing #iwillfund, Studio Roost and Valentine Charitable Trust.


2019 BEAF

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