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10 teams to lead celebration of creativity and innovation as part of the Festival UK* 2022

Festival UK* 2022

@FestivalUK2022 – Ten creative teams from across the UK have been selected to develop a series of events, public engagement programmes and virtual projects as part of the Festival UK* 2022

  • Teams tasked with developing showstopper national moments as part of Festival UK* 2022
  • From augmented reality to space and new works of art, projects will bring science, technology, engineering, arts and maths into the heart of communities across the UK
  • Festival UK* 2022 forms part of a blockbuster year alongside Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Ten creative teams from across the UK have been selected to develop a series of events, public engagement programmes and virtual projects as part of the Festival UK* 2022, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced today.

Festival UK* 2022 is a major UK-wide festival of creativity and innovation, which will feature 10 major public engagement projects designed to reach millions, bring people together and showcase the UK’s creativity globally.

The teams have been selected from 30 shortlisted projects that took part in a paid research and development phase, following a rigorous assessment. They will now be tasked with taking their ideas through to completion ready for next year’s festival.

2022 is set to be a year of celebration for the UK with three major events all set to take place:

  1. Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
  2. The Commonwealth Games, and
  3. Festival UK* 2022 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

These ten showstopper projects will wow audiences in towns and cities right across the country, and show off the UK and its creative genius to the world.

Alongside the Commonwealth Games and Platinum Jubilee, they will make 2022 a year to remember, bringing the nation together as we build back stronger from the pandemic.

Chief Creative Officer for Festival UK* 2022 Martin Green said:

We asked 500 of the best creative minds in the UK to tell us what a festival of creativity could be. What they came up with has exceeded our expectations, and then some, which made deciding which 10 teams to commission very difficult. We believe the extraordinary breadth of talent, their thrilling ideas and geographic spread, will be ground-breaking, inspiring and exciting for millions of people across the UK and further afield.

The Festival, backed by £120 million of funding from the UK government, will be a showcase of UK British science, technology, engineering, arts and maths and the ten teams selected to take part will help to develop world-class talent and highlight the very best of British creativity and innovation.

The teams have been selected following an R&D phase that provided opportunities for 500 organisations and more than 100 freelancers, as well as emerging and under-represented talent – with more opportunities to come as the 10 projects are developed.

Drawn from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, they have been deliberately asked to work across borders to ensure the Festival brings together the whole country.

Each team was asked to develop ideas that would celebrate the UK and promote it on the world stage, as well as support the levelling up agenda.

The 10 teams will now develop major creative projects for the festival, which will reach millions globally, bring people together and showcase UK creativity to the world.

Dame Vikki Heywood CBE, chairman of Festival UK* 2022 board, said:

It has been incredibly exciting to see hundreds of creative people from across the UK collaborate so imaginatively at such a difficult time and we’ve been bowled over by the positive response of those taking part in the R&D process. As the 10 commissioned projects go forward there will be many opportunities for everyone to participate in creative experiments across the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Maths from all ages and all corners of the UK in 2022.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey said:

We are impressed by the innovation and diversity of the work that has been carried out across all regions during the R&D project. It has provided much-needed support to local creatives during a challenging period and demonstrated how good teamwork creates strength and synergy. We’re very much looking forward to seeing how the final projects develop and shape this exciting festival and we’re confident that the Northern Ireland collaboration will further strengthen our already flourishing STEAM and cultural sectors.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair work and Culture Fiona Hyslop said:

It has been inspiring to see the Scottish STEM and creative sectors work together and share their talents throughout this process. This is an important opportunity to support freelancers and organisations in these sectors as we begin our recovery from the pandemic. I look forward to seeing how the successful Scottish team and the other shortlisted teams develop in the next phase of this collaborative project.

Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:

It’s very exciting news that we’re now embarking on the next phase of the project. During what’s been the most challenging of years, I’m delighted that we can help these sectors as we all look forward to a brighter 2022 – with creativity bringing communities together once more.

The 10 successful teams are:

59 Productions Collective

  • An unprecedented experiment uniting cosmology, biology, projection technology, STEM education, poetry and 13.8 billion years of history asking questions about the single biggest story of our collective experience.
59 Productions Lysander Ashton, Rebecca Collis
The Poetry Society Judith Palmer
Freelance Poet Keith Jarrett
Stemettes Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Angel Pooler, Andrew Westoby
Nokia Bell Labs Domhnaill Hernon, Danielle McPhatter, Daniele Querica

Approxima Arts Collective

  • A unique approach to community growing celebrating music, future food technology and sustainable festivals. Demonstrating the power of collective action in the largest ‘grow your own’ project of modern times.
Aproxima Arts Angus Farquhar, Caroline Thompson, Cosmo Blake (Sustrans)
BEMIS Scotland Tanveer Parnez
Celtic Connections Donald Shaw
Creative Producer Neil Butler (Wraptheworld)
Fèis Rois Fiona Dalgetty, Pàdruig Morrison
getMade Design James Johnson
James Hutton Institute Nicola Strachan
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Fiona Burnett

Assemble + 8 Collective

  • An immersive experience exploring the wonder of the human mind through architecture, neuroscience, technology, light and sound.
Spatial Designers Assemble
Composer Jon Hopkins
Freelance Director Jennifer Crook
University of Sussex Prof. Anil Seth, Dr. David Schwartzman
Freelancer Sound Designer Christopher Shutt
Freelance Technologist Dev Joshi
Freelance Digital Producer Michelle Feuerlicht
Centre for Study of Perceptual Experience, University of Glasgow Prof. Fiona Macpherson

Collective Cymru led by National Theatre Wales

  • World-building, inclusive co-design, immersive mobile technology, TV Drama, futures thinking in science, and live performance collide to produce an experimental and inspiring form of transmedia storytelling.
National Theatre Wales Lorne Campbell, Claire Doherty, Marc Rees
Centre for Alternative Technology Rebecca Upton
Clwstwr Shirish Kulkarni, Robin Moore
Disability Arts Cymru Kaite O’Reilly
Ffilm Cymru Wales Pauline Burt
Sugar Creative Will Humphrey
Writer and Professor in Creativity, Swansea University Owen Sheers
Youth Arts Network Cymru Liara Barussi (Jukebox Collective), Gethin Evans (Frân Wen)

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Collective

  • A cosmic adventure exploring immersive experiences, new technologies, science innovation, social media, youth culture and the power of imagination to change perspectives, dismantle boundaries and ignite the creative energy of towns across the UK.
Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Team

Nerve Centre Collective

  • An experiment in astrophysics, augmented reality, landscape, visual art and play, asking what happens to your perspective on everything when you look back at earth from space.
Nerve Centre David Lewis, John Peto, Rachel McDermott
Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast Stephen Smartt
Big Motive Rebecca Walsh
Microsoft Kieran McCorry
National Museums Northern Ireland Aaron Ward
Composer, Producer, Sound Artist and Filmmaker Die Hexen
Illustrator, Designer, Art Director and Creative Director Rory Jeffers
Visual Artist and Author Oliver Jeffers
Taunt Fiona McLaughlin


  • A physical manifestation and celebration of the British weather and UK coastline; a large-scale installation that addresses global questions, encourages playfulness, elicits joy and presents an experiment in change.
NEWSUBSTANCE Patrick O’Mahony, Ollie Howitt
Ivan Black Sculpture Ivan Black
Global Head of Partner Engineering Amazon Prime Video & founder of Empowering Women with Tech Natasha Sayce-Zelem
Space Engineer & Founder of Rocket Women Vinita Marwaha-Madill
REDHOUSE Emma-Jane Taylor, Benjamin Webster
Dose of Society Ahmed Faid, Nii Lartey
British Antarctic Survey Dr Amélie Kirchgaessner
Self-employed Writer, Curator and Artistic Director Neville Wakefield

Storyfutures Collective

  • An experiment in film, broadcast and augmented reality, public archives, digital access and immersive storytelling asking who are we? Where did we come from and where are we headed?
StoryFutures Academy run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film and Television School (NFTS) Prof. James Bennett, Amanda Murphy, Angela Chan
British Film Institute (BFI) Ben Luxford
ISOdesign Damien Smith
Nexus Studios Liam Walsh, Kim-Leigh Pontin
The Reading Agency Hayley Butler
Uplands TV David Olusoga, Mike Smith
Produce UK Lee Baker

Trigger Collective

  • An experiment in mass participation, co-creation, shared histories, sustainability, installation, performance and spectacle through the lens of nature, multiculturalism and ritual and reclaiming space.
Trigger Angie Bual, Jude Ho, Carl Robertshaw
Brigstow Institute Prof. Peter Coates, Lydia Medland, Prof. Jane Memmott
Dock Street Events Chris Clay, Jenny Hutt
THISS Tamsin Hanke, Sash Scott
Wolves Lane Flower Company Marianne Mogendorff

Walk the Plank Collective

  • An experiment in lighting technology, environmental science, geo-tracking, mass participation, exploring the beauty of the UK outdoors and asking questions about access, taking part, landscape and the future of public spectacle.
Walk the Plank Creative Producer, John Wassell; freelance Lighting and Special Effects Designer, Richard Babington; freelance Theatre-maker and multidisciplinary Artist, Danielle Carbon Wilson
Extraordinary Bodies Lead Artist Jamie Beddard
Siemens Robin Phillips, Engineer Annabel Ohene, Engineer Nathaniel Fernandes
National Parks UK Director of Communications Alastair Barber
freelance Dance and Movement Specialist Ruth Jones
freelance Creative Leader, Musician, and Facilitator Pete Moser


£120 million for UK-wide festival in 2022

(23 Dec 2019): Martin Green CBE, the mastermind behind the hugely successful Hull UK City of Culture 2017, and the former Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has been asked by government to develop plans to curate, manage, and promote a UK-wide festival in 2022.

The major nationwide festival, backed by £120 million funding from government, was first announced in 2018.

As a UK-wide celebration of our creativity and innovation, the Festival will be designed in collaboration with the devolved administrations to showcase the best of our art, culture, heritage, design and technology sectors.

From early January, Martin and his team will begin working with these sectors across the UK. Over the coming months, he will develop a vision which engages communities across the United Kingdom and ensures the delivery of a world class festival of creativity.

The project will be delivered by a dedicated team established within the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, led by Green in addition to his role as the Chief Creative Officer of the Games.

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

The nationwide festival will give us a fantastic opportunity to champion all that is great about the UK. It will be a tremendous showcase for our creativity and innovation, which will not only celebrate our values and identities, but will also help attract new inward business and investment.

Martin Green CBE said:

I am honoured to be asked to lead the Festival. As a passionate believer that art and culture has the power to bring people together, I am immensely proud to be working on the project to showcase and celebrate the cultural dynamism and distinctiveness of the UK.

There are three main aims for the festival that will underpin the planning process:

  1. To bring people together to celebrate our strengths, values and identities, and boost pride throughout communities
  2. To celebrate all four nations’ offer to the world, supporting our brand and helping attract new inward business and investment
  3. To leave a lasting legacy across the UK.

Additional details on the festival will be made available in due course.

Martin Green is Birmingham 2022’s chief creative officer. Martin has masterminded some of Britain’s most significant major events including the opening of The 02 in London, the opening ceremony of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds, and was Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He was also responsible for the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay that visited Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, and for the last two years he was the executive producer for the Hogmanay in Edinburgh.

As CEO and Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Martin delivered 365 days of transformative culture for the city to huge acclaim. He is an advisor to the Japan 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Martin is also an inaugural member of the Circle of Cultural Fellows at King’s College London. In 2018 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hull and made CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

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