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The Art of Unconventional 

Freedom Festival hosts global discussion around art in public space 

Freedom Festival Arts Trust in partnership with the British Council, Hull Truck Theatre and in collaboration with XTRAX is proud to host a four day programme for industry professionals.

Starting on Thursday, the programme includes a two day symposium, various networking and pitching events as artists, arts professionals, urban planners, policy makers and technologists come together in Hull, to not only experience world-class art but to consider how to build an ‘Extraordinary Place’ and the role of arts and culture in enabling that.

Following on from the success of its international professional programme in partnership with X-Trax which had a focus on UK Outdoor Arts and took place during Freedom Festival 2018, the Arts Trust is delighted to be extending its professional offer with an extending symposium delivered in partnership with the British Council and Hull Truck Theatre, reflecting its continued commitment to sector development, partnership working and peer-to-peer learning.

The professional programme will commence on Thursday 29 August with a two day international symposium. Entitled The Art of Unconventional, this year’s symposium will explore the interface between art in public space, technology, communities, urban planning and health and wellbeing.

Demonstrating its role as a thought leader within the international arts scene, Freedom Festival Arts Trust is increasingly engaged with policy makers, arts professionals and industry leaders in vital discussions relating to art in public space and place making. This year’s symposium, places these conversations front and centre in the city of Hull, showcasing the phenomenal transformation that has taken place in the city and affirming its position as an important cultural power house. 

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival, explained: “We’re extremely excited to be building on the success of last year’s inaugural symposium, in partnership with The British Council and Hull Truck Theatre.

The expansion of the Freedom Festival symposium provides an important platform for professionals to debate, challenge, imagine and reimagine the place making agenda alongside anoutstanding programme from XTRAX which will include talks, networking, pitching sessions from artists, which are designed toshowcase the very best of the UKoutdoor arts sector.

“This event gives us the opportunity to really champion the city of Hull, not only as a city of culture but as a city of creation and also to acknowledge Freedom Festival Arts Trust’s position as a key national creative producer, sought after creative partner, gatekeeper to national and international relationships and as a significant national arts organisation no longer just the producers of the Freedom Festival itself.

The Art of Unconventional will explore how art in public space has moved from unconventional into conventional as artists, audiences, urban designers and municipal leaders across the globe are recognising the unparalleled role of arts and culture in building extraordinary places and the XTRAX programme provides an opportunity to champion the UK outdoor arts sector and to showcase new UK work to national and international professionals.

“How do artists and organisations continue to embrace artistic risk whilst remaining radical and relevant? What do extraordinary cities look like and what role does the arts sector play in shaping them? How do we maintain the integrity of socially engaged practice and avoid instrumentalising art?”

Jenny Howard-Coombes, Executive Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, continued: “This event and the support of the British Council demonstrates Freedom Festival’s growing reputation internationally and recognises our work to drive innovation within the sector and encourage cross sector collaboration. The programme responds to the growing appetite among artists, industry leaders, policy makers and community leaders to work together to transform our cities, building places where people thrive

“We continue to champion the city of Hull, not only by hosting a world-class arts festival but by inviting international arts professionals and policy makers to the city to engage, connect and experience our ‘place’ and to meet artists whom we champion. 

“We are passionate about developing meaningful relationships, to help build a truly connected city and the content of this year’s symposium shows our commitment to encouraging a bolder, more ambitious discussion around place making.

“Increasingly artists and audiences are claiming back the streets, discovering and rediscovering the familiar in an unfamiliar way.  Unconventional spaces are becoming a powerful platform for reaching the public; creating unexpected interactions between people and place and inspiring cross sector creative collaborations between artists, urban planners, communities and the wider industry.

“This event will consider the increasingly ubiquitous nature of art in public space, the rise of socially engaged practice and the impact of emerging technologies on our everyday landscape as we imagine a community centric city of the future.”

Janthi Mills-Ward, Executive Director and Joint CEO of Hull Truck Theatre said: “Hull Truck Theatre is delighted to be working with Freedom Festival Arts Trust and British Council to deliver this event. We are particularly excited that the symposium will bring together acclaimed speakers from different industries, including technology and digital innovation, city planning and academia, alongside the cultural sector, to enable fresh discussion around the topic of place-making. It is important that these conversations are happening in Hull as it looks towards affirming its position as a global, connected, culturally diverse and economically vibrant city.”

The Professional Programme takes place from 29 August until 1 September For more information or to register your interest click here.