The Centre for Alternative Technology was a member of the creative team for the initial research and development phase of Collective Cymru’s successful bid to be part of Festival UK* 2022.
Here at CAT we recognise the major role for the arts and cultural industries in transforming the way that society faces up to challenges such as the climate and ecological emergency. As the UK builds back from COVID-19, we understand this major UK-wide festival of creativity and innovation will play a role in the national narrative going forward. While we are aware of the origins of the Festival and its connection in the public mind with some narratives surrounding the EU Referendum, CAT was keen to do all it can to help re-claim this narrative and ensure Festival UK* 2022 engages with the real challenges and opportunities we face in rising to the climate emergency, and re-thinking the UK in a way that genuinely works for future generations.
CAT was approached by at least 12 different teams to be a part of their research and development project towards a bid to participate in a UK wide festival of creativity and innovation in 2022. We chose to be part of Collective Cymru, led by the National Theatre Wales, because their vision framed by the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act aligned with ours. At the heart of Collective Cymru’s approach is for the people of Wales to see themselves, their communities and their individual and collective futures reflected through a lens of creative optimism, a means to unlock our imagination and creativity for the best possible future together.
As an environmental education centre, with over a decade of thought leadership for a zero carbon future, Collective Cymru embraced the opportunity to spend a day at our visitor centre in Machynlleth, Mid Wales. CAT shared its expertise together with Jukebox Collective from Cardiff and Frân Wen in Gwynedd, creative technologists and innovators from Sugar Creative and Clwstwr, a journalist and community organiser, a writer and artists, and national companies Disability Arts Cymru, National Theatre Wales and Ffilm Cymru.
Our experience of the creative process was that the team were enabled to create something that was entirely self-led and community driven without expectation from the Festival UK* 2022. This allowed us to help develop a project and programme that will touch the lives and hearts of everyone in Wales. Collective Cymru’s bid is very strongly aligned with CAT’s vision for a Zero Carbon Britain. With universities and research and science centres supporting the ten selected projects of Festival UK* 2022, CAT is in good company. Those participating in other successful creative teams include: the James Hutton Institute; Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast; Centre for Study of Perceptual Experience, University of Glasgow and British Antarctic Survey.
Open, original and optimistic, Collective Cymru’s project will be an experiment in creativity which we hope will boost the Welsh culture sector which has been so dramatically impacted during the pandemic. The project will bring with it investment, employment and creative development opportunities not only for 2022, but leaving a legacy beyond – along with the chance to offer a platform to often underrepresented voices, working towards lasting change. Creative Cymru will be working and co-collaborating with neighbourhoods across Wales to envision a future that we can all be proud of. With the Centre for Alternative Technology’s commitment to a zero carbon Britain, we hope that together we can build on the Festival UK* 2022 legacy to create a future that is ours.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.