Leicester Cathedral is delighted to host this internationally acclaimed artwork as we endeavour to be a centre for creativity and a forum for dialogue in Leicester and Leicestershire.

I cried when I read about Suspended. This is art that connects us with the biggest movement of displaced people on record. These displacements are caused mainly by war, poverty and injustice, and so many of them are children. We want to raise public awareness by inviting people to reflect on the individual lives behind the clothing. We hope people will respond positively to the installation by supporting work with people seeking sanctuary and that our culture of welcome here in Leicester will be deepened.

Leicester Cathedral is humbled to host Suspended as we learn what it means to be more compassionate, prayerful and hospitable. Our partners make that possible and we warmly thank them for their support and creativity: Journeys Festival International, ArtReach, Arts Council England, De Montfort University, the University of Leicester, Leicester City of Sanctuary, the British Red Cross and Highcross Leicester.

The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester

by Arabella Dorman

‘Suspended’ at Leicester Cathedral – Photo by Will Johnston Photography

The Artist

Arabella Dorman is an internationally renowned war artist and one of Britain’s leading portrait painters.

Her war art explores the realities of conflict today, its immediate impacts and long term consequences. She has worked as an officially accredited war artist in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade, and more recently with refugees in Lesvos, Palestine, Calais, Lebanon and Syria.

Arabella enjoys a prominent reputation as a public speaker and fundraiser. She was listed as one of BBC’s Top 100 Women in 2014, and Salt Magazine’s 100 Most Inspiring Women in 2015.

Arabella’s installations Suspended (St James’s Church Piccadilly, Canterbury Cathedral, 2017/18) and Flight (St James’s Church Piccadilly, 2015/16), have been internationally acclaimed in raising global awareness about what she considers to be one of the defining issues of our times, the forced displacement of people today.

Below you can see the time-lapse recording of part of the over night installation.

Events Programme

All events are in the Cathedral unless otherwise stated. Booking is helpful but most sessions can be joined on the day.

Friday 13 July

18.30  The ‘Migration and Refugee Crisis’
A panel of academics from the University of Leicester will discuss artistic and civil society responses to the migration crisis and what needs to be done to develop more humane responses. Supported by poet activists Ambrose Musiyiwa and Emma Lee. A Leicester Migration Network and University of Sanctuary initiative hosted by Dr Maria Rovisco from the School of Media,Communication and Sociology.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Friday 20 July

18.30  Suspended Conversation: Safe Passage
Building on the Kinder Transport tradition, Safe Passage talk about their international work in securing safe and legal routes for unaccompanied child refugees and how grassroots campaigning can make a difference. Includes discussion and Q&A.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Thursday 26 July

14.00  Pieces Creative Writing Workshop with Journeys 2018
Led by Alexandros Plasatis, Hannah Stevens and Will Buckingham, an opportunity to create written work in response to Suspended which will feed into an evening of performance on Friday 27 July.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Friday 27 July

18.30  Pieces Creative Writing Performance with Journeys 2018
A creative writing performance with poetry readings by Malka Al-Haddad, an Iraqi academic and human rights defender living in exile in the UK.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Saturday 28 July

10.00  Volunteering with Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Readson House, 96-98 Regent Road, LE1 7DF
Hosted by the University of Leicester, a range of local and national Organisations will share what they do and ways you can get involved. Includes an English language teaching taster session.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Wednesday 1 August

18.30  Dean’s Discussion: Faith and Migration
Hosted by the Dean of Leicester and the latest entry in the Dean’s Discussion series, a panel will explore themes of welcome, integration, and the role of faith in migrant experience.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Friday 3 August

18.30  European Youth Music Concert
A classical music concert featuring the European Youth Music Choir and the International Youth Symphony Orchestra. Free entry!

Friday 17 to Sunday 26 August
Journeys Festival International

Exploring refugee experiences through great art with 10 days of free cultural events and activities across the city. For full listings please visit

Highlights of Journeys Festival International, hosted at Suspended, include:

Friday 24 August

18.30  Haymanot & Mudibu – An Evening of Music
Amharic singer & traditional krar player Haymanot Tesfa is emerging as a rising star on the world music scene with music inspired by her Ethiopian roots. Her voice is fearless and experimental. Mudibu is a self-taught guitarist from Burundi with a powerful voice and an intensity to his melodies.
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Saturday 25 August

19.00  Film Screening: Human Flow by Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. In this often shocking cine-essay, a chain of urgent human stories are followed over the course of a year in 23 countries. Not suitable for children. BBFC rating: 12A
Register for free tickets via Eventbrite here.

Weekly Saturday Family Arts Workshops

No registration needed!

Hands-on Creative Workshops with Journeys 2018

A range of Journeys Festival International artists, including Iranian photographer Farhad Berahman, will deliver arts workshops suitable for families.

Sat 23 June       2.30pm – 4.00pm
Sat 4 August      1.30pm – 4.00pm
Sat 11 August     11.00am – 4.00pm
Sun 19 August   12.30pm – 2.30pm

Creative Talent Workshops with De Montfort University

Artist Alison Carpenter-Hughes will lead a series of workshops involving textile and visual arts. These creations will contribute to a final artwork that will be revealed in the Cathedral on Saturday 25 August.

Saturdays 7, 14, 21 and 28 in July and 25 August
10.30am – 12.30pm

ArtReach presents Masca Theatre:

Wednesday 18 July
performances at 11.30am/2pm/4pm

Thursday 19 July
performances at 12pm/2.30pm

In Cathedral Gardens

Europe’s leading company in the art of the Living Statue, Masca Theatre, present a series of new, unique performances of The Forgotten Crafts of Paris. Masca will bring to life characters of Parisian street traders, transporting you back in time to discover the forgotten crafts through mime, powerful masks, costumes and unrivalled theatricality.

Partner Information

ArtReach is thrilled to be working in partnership with Leicester Cathedral to help facilitate the installation of the inspiring and powerful Suspended artwork by Arabella Dorman.


De Montfort University’s engagement with Suspended reinforces the values outlined in the university’s Strategic Framework which highlights our commitment to public and civic engagement.


The University of Leicester is rooted in the local community with which it has developed strong links and it is committed to creating a welcoming environment for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.


The Highcross Shopping Centre have generously offered marketing and advertising support and a shop window to showcase the artwork and what it means.


What Next?

If similar issues have affected you, or this piece has moved you to take action, what can you do next?

  • Find out more using our leaflets and information
  • Come along to the Pathways to Progression Volunteering Event on 28 July to explore local opportunities
  • Give generously to the Suspended work of the Cathedral and the NGOs with whom we work

Arabella Dorman’s Suspended is brought to you in partnership by Leicester Cathedral, ArtReach, De Montfort University, and the University of Leicester.

Get involved with social media:

Facebook:   LeicesterCathedral
Twitter:       LeicsCathedral
Instagram: leicester_cathedral