How Flatpack took their festival online during the Coronavirus crisis

With cinemas closed and social distancing measures in place due to the Coronavirus crisis, festivals all over the world have been forced to rethink their plans over the last few months. The Independent Cinema Office (ICO) spoke to Ian Francis, Director of Flatpack Festival, about how they took their festival online and some of the lessons they learnt along the way.

Cirque Bijou, who will be performing at Worcester Light Night.

Cirque Bijou, who will be performing at Worcester Light Night.

Worcester is to welcome four new festivals in 2020, showcasing national and international creative talent whilst supporting local emerging work.

Worcester Light Night, a free festival taking place across the city centre on the evening of Thursday 16 January 2020 will see the area animated via light installations and live performances.

Atmosphere, will take place on Saturday 25 April. With a strong focus on the environment and the world we live in, there will be discussions, talks and live performances either inspired by the environment or with a clear message about the environmental and natural world.

Disrupting the Norm taking place from 6 – 11 July will feature a mix of pop up events and accidental art – making the everyday less ordinary in a fun and playful way for the duration of the festival.

The fourth of the new festivals is Worcester’s International Story Festival which will take place in October – A 10 day city wide festival dedicated to stories; old stories, new stories, our stories, other people’s stories.

All four festivals are funded through The Arches – Worcester project by the Department of Culture Media and Sport Cultural Development Fund.

 

Worcester is to welcome four new festivals in 2020, showcasing national and international creative talent whilst supporting local emerging work.

1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) each week.

Taking place across Birmingham from 1-12 October 2019, BEDLAM is a celebration of how the arts can help wellbeing. Welcoming artists from across the UK, the festival will present a programme of theatre performances, dance, movement workshops, art installations, wellbeing walks, film screenings, family events, Q&A’s as well as a special BEDLAM Symposium.

Visual arts highlights include:

Mirror Image: An opportunity for cultural practitioners to reflect on wellbeing
Thursday 3 October 2019, 1.30-4.30pm, Hexagon Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre. £10 (includes light lunch)

Through talks, discussions and workshops the symposium will explore practical ways cultural practitioners and cultural organisations can embed wellbeing into their own practice. Delegates will learn what techniques they can use to keep or improve positive mental health. Organisations will discover ways they can embed positive mental health into the culture of their operations. There will be an opportunity for networking and sharing good wellbeing practice. Presented by The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (West Midlands).

 

State of the mind: A guided tour of art and mental health
Sunday 6 October 2019, 12pm and 2pm, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. £3

As well as a tool for social and political comment, art frequently reflects the mental wellbeing of the artist, either consciously or unconsciously. Join BEDLAM for a fascinating walk and tour throughBirmingham Museum & Art Gallery and through the ages, as they discuss the impact of mental health on art and the way it is received, from the Renaissance through to Victorian artists, and the way in which art has reflected a response to war in the twentieth century.

 

MAC BEDLAM Festival Commission: Jenna Naylor
Saturday 31 August – Sunday 17 November 2019, 9am-9.45pm. Midlands Arts Centre. Free.

Artist Jenna Naylor will turn MAC’s Community Gallery into a menagerie of strange creatures drawn directly onto the walls. Inspired by MAC’s exhibition The Hills Are Shadows by Jim Holyoak and Matt Shane, Jenna’s commission provides a starting point for a growing collection of drawings contributed by participants of workshops at the Uffculme Centre and people attending workshops at MAC.

Jenna will also be leading several free free therapeutic drawing and wellbeing workshops where you can contribute your own creature to the gallery.

For the full festival programme visit www.bedlamfestival.co.uk

 

 

BEDLAM is a celebration of how the arts help wellbeing, taking place across Birmingham from 1-12 October 2019. Welcoming artists from across the UK, the festival will present a programme of theatre performances, dance, movement workshops, art installations, wellbeing walks, film screenings, family events, Q&A’s as well as a special BEDLAM Symposium.

Amber Cooper-Green

Amber Cooper-Green

In:Site Festival returns to Birmingham city centre for a ninth year from 5-7 September 2019. Over three days recent graduates will work with the public to transform the outdoor space around Birmingham Cathedral, creating craft interventions inspired by the space, architecture, people and heritage.

During the festival each maker is allocated time to create and install their temporary artwork on a specific day, turning the making process into a performance. The passing public can watch or join in with the creation of many of the artworks and learn different techniques. This year activities will include creating mini objects using local clay, learning macramé, taking time to stitch or collaborating with a designer to make furniture from scrap wood.

The festival showcases new graduate talent, but also helps to develop emerging craft businesses. It provides graduates with a professional commission and profile for their CV. Benefits to artists include being able to: enhance skills, test the viability of ideas, respond to a public art brief and a specific site and engage with the public at first hand. It also presents contemporary craft for all to encounter and experience in an unconventional public setting.

The festival is curated and produced by Craftspace, a Birmingham-based charity creating opportunities to see, make and be curious about contemporary craft. It is free with everyone welcome to watch and take part. By the end of the festival Cathedral Square will be adorned with new art works.

In:Site Festival takes place in Birmingham Cathedral Square, Colmore Row, Birmingham. B3 2QB
5 – 7 September 2019, 11am-5.30pm (Work is on display until Sunday 8 September.) Free and open to all.

In:Site Festival returns to Birmingham city centre for a ninth year from 5-7 September 2019. Over three days recent graduates will work with the public to transform the outdoor space around Birmingham Cathedral, creating craft interventions inspired by the space, architecture, people and heritage.

Blast! is a new festival from Multistory made with and for the people of Sandwell which runs from Friday 24 May to Saturday 29 June.

The festival has invited 40 artists, photographers and curators to showcase work, develop projects and collaborate with communities to present stories about everyday life. With exhibitions, film screenings, events, talks and walks across Sandwell, Blast! will be presented on the streets, the Metro line, in shops, libraries and pubs, on historic buildings and in the community halls and venues of Sandwell.

The festival takes place over six weeks in each of Sandwell’s six distinct towns: West Bromwich, Tipton, Rowley Regis, Oldbury, Smethwick and Wednesbury.

Highlights include:

The Caravan Gallery / Sandwell Pride of Place Project
24 May – 29 June 2019. Open: 11am – 6pm, Wednesday to Saturday.
Former Poundland, Unit 3, Kings Square Shopping Centre, High Street, West Bromwich, B70 7NW

Photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale of The Caravan Gallery will turn the former Poundland shop (next to West Bromwich bus station) into an exhibition space and alternative ‘Visitor Information Centre’ for the duration of the Festival. The Sandwell Pride of Place Project is a dynamic, diverse and creative celebration of Sandwell and its communities, evolving daily as visitors add to the artwork on display, share stories and make their mark on ‘The People’s Map of Sandwell’. The Caravan Gallery will exhibit their own photographs of Sandwell and publish a set of unofficial visitor guides to the six towns, inspired by people’s responses to their Sandwell Surveys.

 

© Janine Wiedel

Black Country Living
24 May – 29 June. Public locations across Sandwell throughout the festival.

Black Country Living revisits the work of two photographers renowned for their portrayal of the industrial landscape in the West Midlands during the 70s and 80s. Presented across the six towns of Sandwell, the photography of John Myers and Janine Wiedel reflects a rich social history at a time of significant change and upheaval. As a divided Britain contemplates a future outside the EU, how will the changes brought about by Brexit impact on Sandwell, here at the heart of the nation? Curated by New Art West Midlands Director, Craig Ashley.

 

© Jocelyn Allen

Girl Gaze: Journeys Through the Punjab & The Black Country, UK 
24 May – 29 June 2019. Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am-4pm.
The British Muslim School, Latifiah Fultali Complex, Lodge Road, West Bromwich, B70 8NX

Girl Gaze is a photographic exploration of the Punjab and diaspora communities in the West Midlands through the voices of young girls and women. Bringing together newly-commissioned work by four women artists: Jocelyn Allen (UK), Jennifer Pattison (UK), Andrea Fernandes (India) and Uzma Mohsin (India), the exhibition explores diverse themes regarding gender, identity, patriarchy, tradition, culture, memory, place and the differences that shape the lives of women in both countries.

 

© Erik Kessels

Erik Kessels: Comeback
24 May – 29 June 2019.
West Bromwich Town Hall, High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8DY. Open: Thursday: 1- 6pm, Friday: 10am – 6pm.
West Bromwich Indoor Market, Kings Square Shopping Centre, West Bromwich, B70 7NW. Open: Monday, Wednesday – Saturday: 9am – 5pm, Tuesday: 9am – 4pm.

Comeback is a two-part project by Dutch artist, Erik Kessels, which reappropriates photographic archives found through meeting community groups in the Sandwell area. Tipton Carnival Queens Shine Again will present images of former carnival beauty queens in an installation at West Bromwich Town Hall. Market Hall Turns Into Gallery presents images from Kessels’ own photographic collection placed onto the blinds of the West Bromwich Indoor Market; each image responds to the type of goods being sold in the market stall.

 

© Jon Tonks

Jon Tonks: Stories of Home
24 May – 29 June 2019. Open: Wednesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm.
Former Poundland shop, Unit 3, Kings Square Shopping Centre, High Street, West Bromwich, B70 7NN
Jon Tonks’ exhibition is a portrait of the Central and Eastern European communities living in Sandwell, home to the biggest Polish population in the UK. The photographs were taken during a two-year period against a 3 of 8 backdrop of divisive geopolitical rhetoric following the 2016 EU referendum. Thanks to their generosity, the project also reveals much about the cultural identity and hopes and fears for the future of each subject. The series explores a question that reaches beyond borders: what binds a community to make a place home?

Artist Talk & Film: Janine Wiedel
Friday 21 June, 1-3pm. Booking essential. £3 per person.
Former Poundland, West Bromwich. B70 7NN

A screening of Camera in the Streets, a documentary about Janine Wiedel’s work photographing industries in the West Midlands, followed by a discussion between Janine Wiedel and curator, Craig Ashley, as part of the Black Country Living exhibition.

The full festival programme can be viewed here.

Blast! is a new festival from Multistory made with and for the people of Sandwell which runs from Friday 24 May to Saturday 29 June.

The festival has invited 40 outstanding artists, photographers and curators to showcase work, develop projects and collaborate with communities to present stories about everyday life. With exhibitions, film screenings, events, talks and walks across Sandwell, Blast! will be presented on the streets, the Metro line, in shops, libraries and pubs, on historic buildings and in the community halls and venues of Sandwell.

https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/uk-arts-festival-directors-demand-change-lengthy-opaque-costly-visa-process/

The directors of more than 20 UK arts festivals, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Womad and Manchester International Festival, are calling on the government to reform its visa system for visiting artists and ensure that the country remains culturally open and international – via a-n.