31st July 2021
17th February 2021
Where there is light
Over the past year it’s sometimes been hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is why Freedom Festival, Hull’s award-winning arts festival, has been working with Welcome to English and people seeking refuge in Hull as part of a national project called Where There is Light.
Photo by: Mikal Ludlow, Where There is Light Gloucester Cathedral 2019
Led by Squidsoup and ArtReach, with funding from Arts Council, Freedom Festival alongside delivery partners Coventry City of Culture and Halton Borough of Culture, are together working with lead outreach artist Sameena Khan, to create a sound and light installation which will tour nationally this summer, including to Hull as part of Freedom Festival’s 2021 programme.
Exploring themes of light, hope and moments of joy, ‘virtual’ workshops have taken place in each of the local areas - from creative writing to working with textiles and illustration. Using the workshops as the vehicle to evoke memories and responses to the theme of light, the recordings from the workshops will be edited to create the soundscape in the light installation.
In Hull, Peter Snelling from production company My Pockets facilitated the Freedom Festival workshop. Working with Welcome to English and people seeking refuge in Hull he held a virtual illustration workshop, creating a music video and zines with the recordings he gathered.
Peter explained: “Working on the ‘Where There Is Light’ project was a brilliant experience. Over a week I ran creative workshops with people seeking refuge in Hull. Everyone got into drawing and making music. There was lots of laughter and fun. But also the participants used the questions about light to draw and make music and zines that meant something. People talked about family, about inner strength and about love.
“I learnt about my own relationship with light and what it means to me. The same things that light up my life also light up the lives of people who, on the surface, seem quite different to me.
“Looking at light rather than looking at darkness is an interesting approach. By choosing to accent the positive you might think that the project would not be as interesting, as I think all of us tend to think that darkness is more interesting than light, but actually light is much more interesting - particularly in these troubled times. Maybe art that aims too much at darkness misses the point.”
Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint CEO at Freedom Festival, continued: “Working as part of a national project like this, alongside delivery partners Coventry City of Culture and Halton Borough of Culture - shows that Hull is still recognised as a key cultural player.
“We are thrilled to be working once again with our friends at Welcome to English - we’ve worked with them on a number of projects including the Freedom FEASTival and Angels - which was part of our 2018 Festival. It’s also great to be working with My Pockets for the first time - we can’t wait to bring this installation to Freedom Festival this summer.”
A small sound installation featuring all the responses gathered from Hull will also be gifted to Welcome to English.
Notes to Editors
- Where There is Light is a specially designed light and sound installation celebrating 20 years of Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS).
- The installation is created by Gloucestershire based, internationally acclaimed, digital arts group, Squidsoup. Working in partnership with GARAS; the Everyman Theatre and The Music Works; Squidsoup’s artwork provides an extraordinary light and sound display for visitors, aiming to raise awareness of the work GARAS does to support asylum seekers and refugees locally.
- A bespoke soundscape, gives an audio narrative featuring stories of people from various countries who are now living in Gloucester and who have used the services that GARAS offers.
ArtReach is a cultural development charity and Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, which in addition to consultancy and public art commissioning has a substantial and long track record in delivering successful Festivals and arts events. Its aim is to make great art possible and accessible, connecting art with grass roots and diverse communities to forge creative engagement.
Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from the government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.