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Festival UK*22 R&D programme success

York Mediale has been selected to be part of the R&D programme for Festival UK* 2022 as part of a creative consortium led by Kully Thiarai, Creative Director and Chief Executive of Leeds 2023

We’re excited that our new consortium of collaborators has been shortlisted for Festival UK* 2022. This is an opportunity for us to channel our different perspectives and ideas, as well as our common values and ambition, into a bold creative response to the times.

Practitioners with backgrounds in arts, science, digital technology and academia, we have come together with a shared purpose and the expertise to build a collaborative project that unleashes the imagination of the many, particularly young people, and from communities whose voices are often left unheard.

All of us and the organisations we represent collaborate with independent artists and freelance practitioners. By working together, we want to feed the rich and complex ecosystem that is vital to the survival, growth and creativity of all our communities.
Collectively, we have the potential to reach, engage and provide opportunities for communities of all backgrounds and working with the least served in society is an important priority of this consortium.

It’s impossible to know what the world will be like by 2022 but we believe in the power of culture to make positive change and to right social injustices. Young people have lost many opportunities as a result of the pandemic and we want to work together to build an unforgettable creative project for young people in Yorkshire and Belfast, with hope and an optimistic vision.

We’ve witnessed hundreds of the millions of ways that creative expression has brought joy, solace and a sense of community to our lives this year and this is an opportunity to be part of something big, dynamic, human and connected to the world.

The festival is an opportunity to present a more complex and nuanced reflection of our lives. We are interested in challenging existing models and approaches to build more equitable and generous connections. And we are driven by an urgent need to shape new and hopeful stories that can help bring people together; to celebrate our shared humanity and – ultimately – lead to positive change by using the power that creativity affords us all.

As Leeds prepares for its landmark year of culture in 2023, Belfast too has designated 2023 a year of culture on a scale that has never been seen before. Bradford is bidding to win the City of Culture title in 2025 and York has recently become the first and only UK UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. Festival UK 2022 is a major milestone in the calendar and an opportunity for all of us to make a difference in the world through imaginative thinking and creative ambition.

The consortium includes teams from seven organisations in Leeds, Bradford, York and Belfast. Led by Leeds 2023, they are:

  • Kully Thiarai, consortium lead and Creative Director/Chief Executive of Leeds 2023
  • Shanaz Gulzar, artist, producer at Manchester International Festival and chair of Bradford City of Culture bid 2025
  • Deepa Mann-Kler, Chief Executive of immersive technology company Neon
  • Aamnah Rahman, Research Fellow, Born in Bradford
  • Zulfiqar Ahmed, Director of The Leap
  • Steve Manthorp, Project Manager at the Cultural Institute, University of Leeds
  • Chris Brown, Senior Project Manager at Centre for Immersive Technologies, University of Leeds
  • Tom Higham, Creative Director of York Mediale
  • Esther Richardson, Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre
  • Jamie Andrews, Cultural and Learning Programming Lead at the British Library