What is Festival UK* 2022?
Festival UK* 2022 is a major, UK-wide celebration of creativity and innovation. It consists of 10 ground-breaking commissions designed to reach millions, bring people together and showcase the UK’s creativity globally.
These ambitious public engagement projects will involve hundreds of scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians working together in new and innovative collaborations. Among these creatives are freelancers, emerging talent and under-represented voices.
The festival’s activities are underpinned by three values, which indicate how we want to work together and are vital to our success: openness, originality and optimism. Details of the programme are due to be announced in autumn 2021.
How did you select the 10 commissions for it?
Almost 3,000 organisations, freelancers and other creatives from across the STEAM sectors responded to an open call in 2020 and applied to participate in the festival’s research and development programme.
A rigorous selection process considered 299 submissions. These were assessed against a range of criteria, before being shortlisted by representatives of the festival team and the delivery bodies for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with input from a group of creative advisors.
Thirty creative teams, bringing together more than 500 individuals and organisations and including over 100 freelancers, were chosen to take part in the funded R&D Project. This ran from November 2020 to January 2021. Each team was offered £100,000 to develop their idea, which they then had to pitch to a selection panel in February. You can find the 30 teams listed here.
Their presentations were assessed on several criteria, including quality of proposal, cross-sector creativity and ambition; the approach to public engagement and reaching audiences; representation, inclusion and accessibility; production, technical and resourcing; financial viability and sustainability; and deliverability.
In March 2021, six UK-wide teams, plus one each for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were commissioned to realise their ideas for the festival in 2022. You can find out more about the 10 Creative Teams here.
Who runs it?
The festival team is led by Chief Creative Officer Martin Green CBE. A special purpose vehicle, Festival 2022 Ltd, was established in Birmingham to deliver the project. The company is governed by an independent Board drawn from the STEAM sectors and from across the UK, chaired by Dame Vikki Heywood CBE. You can find a list of the Board and festival team members here.
The festival is delivered working in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland, the strategic delivery bodies for the devolved nations. Festival 2022 Ltd is leading on the UK-wide projects and is the strategic delivery body for England.
Where and when will it take place?
The festival will take place across the UK in 2022. We will share more information on the locations and dates of the 10 creative projects at the festival’s programme announcement planned in autumn 2021.
To ensure as many people as possible can engage with the festival, our aim is that the majority of people in the UK will be less than an hour away from one of the projects by public transport. We will also reach out to communities across the country as part of the public engagement programme for each of the 10 commissions, and to digital audiences around the world through our online channels.
How is it funded?
The festival is backed by a £120m investment from the UK Government, including funding to the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales devolved administrations.
How will you ensure it reflects the UK’s diversity?
The UK’s diversity is reflected in the makeup of the 10 Creative Teams, which include people from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, creatives from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and disability organisations.
Integral to our selection process for the R&D Project was the requirement for all creative teams to each offer opportunities to freelancers, new and emerging talent and under-represented voices. We will keep working with the 10 Creative Teams we have commissioned to ensure this continues to happen, as we move into the production phase and they recruit more people to help realise their projects.
We also aim to reach people of all backgrounds and across the UK through public engagement, participation opportunities and learning programmes to be delivered for each of the 10 commissions, as well as through the festival’s digital programme.
How do I keep in touch with the festival?
How can I get involved in the festival?
All vacancies are listed on our website here.
There will also be opportunities for volunteering and to get involved in the public engagement programme for each of the 10 commissioned creative projects. We will be sharing more information on all of these on our website and social media accounts in due course. Sign up for emails here and follow us on twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with our news and updates.
Is this the ‘Festival of Brexit’?
No. This is a wildly ambitious, nationwide festival delivered in partnership by all four governments of the UK. It celebrates creativity through 10 mass participation projects that we hope will inspire, connect and bring joy to millions of people.
Through the R&D Project and the 10 commissions to be realised for the festival, we are supporting creative sectors that have been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and playing a part in the recovery.
Together with the 10 Creative Teams, we are developing a once-in-a-lifetime programme that puts creativity and innovation at the centre of our collective futures.
The 10 creative projects will also contribute to a wider, international conversation on the importance of creativity and cross-sector collaboration to drive innovation, solve global challenges and shape a better world for everyone.