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Nerve Centre named one of thirty successful creative teams awarded up to £100,000 for Festival UK* 2022 R&D project.

16 Nov 2020

Nerve Centre, in partnership with National Museum NI, has brought together a creative team of great minds from across Northern Ireland to develop an open, original and optimistic idea for Festival UK* 2022.

The creative team includes artists Oliver Jeffers and Die Hexen, as well as leading organisations from the worlds of Science, Engineering, Technology and the Arts – Astrophysics Research Centre, Big Motive, Microsoft, National Museums NI, Nerve Centre, Spirit Aerosystems, and Taunt Studios.

The team started a £100,000 R&D phase this week and, if successful, could go on to become one of ten major creative projects which will bring millions of people together and showcase the UK’s creativity and innovation globally in 2022. 

The 30 selected teams bring together more than 500 organisations and individuals from across the UK, including freelancers and emerging talent, with many working together for the first time. Based in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, they bring an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and creativity across Science,  Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM), with many working together for the first time. 

Details of the 30 Creative Teams selected for the Festival UK* 2022 R&D Project were chosen following an open call. A rigorous selection process considered 299 submissions,  involving almost 3,000 organisations, freelancers and other creatives representing the five STEAM sectors. The full list has been published today on the Festival UK* 2022 website. 

Over the next few months each team is being supported to develop its big idea, through a specially designed programme that includes presentations, workshops with the BBC  Research & Development team, breakout spaces and opportunities to hear from high profile speakers representing STEAM.  

As well as working within their teams, attendees are being encouraged to work across teams, to maximise the potential of the combined, cross-sector talent and to stimulate new creative networks. 

The 30 teams will pitch their proposals before a panel in February 2021, with ten set to be taken forward as part of the UK-wide Festival, which will take place throughout 2022.  The Festival programme is expected to be announced in late 2021. The development of the Festival is being documented to create a public resource for future generations, with the R&D Project being shared under a Creative Commons. 

Independently run and led by Chief Creative Officer Martin Green, Festival UK* 2022 is backed by the four governments of the UK£120 million of new investment is coming from the UK Government, including funding to the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales devolved administrations. The 30 Creative Teams selected for the R&D are made up of  22 UK-wide collaborations, and two each from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and  Wales. 

Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: ‘We feel excited and privileged to be part of Festival UK* 2022 and be in a position to showcase Northern Ireland’s creativity and innovation on a worldwide stage. We’re known for being a nation full of talent, creativity, ability and optimism; and this is a fantastic opportunity to bring creatives together with our illustrious scientific, technological, engineering, arts and mathematical minds to come up with truly unique and innovative ideas.’ 

‘This has been a challenging year for the arts and it’s been encouraging to see how cultural programmes and activities have been adapted for the changing social landscape. This project is an opportunity to use local talent to build on this energy and to create ambitious and ground-breaking projects, and pioneer new ways in which culture can thrive.’ 

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture said: ‘Festival UK* 2022 is already showing us new and exciting opportunities for Scotland’s world renowned Arts and Technology sectors to work together. There are two unique Creative Teams comprised entirely of Scottish-based individuals and organisations developing their proposals for delivery in Scotland during 2022, as well as a wide range of others in Scotland who will be key partners in other Creative Teams developing proposals for delivery across the UK. We can be sure that all of them are outstanding examples of Scotland’s creativity and innovation.’ 

‘I welcome this announcement as a boost for artists, practitioners and organisations across Scotland’s STEAM sectors - and beyond, tapping into our talents, creativity and innovation. I look forward to seeing the proposals that are developed both in Scotland and across the other 4 nations as part of the festival.’ 

Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas,  said: ‘It’s excellent news that we had a number of high-quality entries come from Wales and I’d like to thank everyone for the time and effort in coming together and forming teams representing STEAM. We’re now really excited about the two approved teams and looking forward to more detail on the creative ideas they propose to deliver for  Wales. It is excellent that we can help these sectors during a difficult time and look forward to 2022. It’s also great news that a number of Welsh partners will also represent  Wales in the UK teams selected to undertake R&D.’ 

Chief Creative Officer for Festival UK* 2022 Martin Green said: ‘Festival UK* 2022 is  a massive experiment in creativity with the core values of being open, original and optimistic, and encouraging teams to think big. It’s wonderful that so many brilliant people, offering extraordinary creativity across STEAM, want to collaborate beyond their usual disciplines and with people they might not have worked with before. It hasn’t been  an easy selection process, so we’re really pleased to hear that some new creative  relationships will continue amongst those who were not chosen, as well as being  excited to see what the 30 Creative Teams come up with over the next couple of  months.’ 

Dame Vikki Heywood CBE, who chairs the independent Board set up for Festival UK*  2022, said: ‘Throughout this process, the Board and our entire team have sought to ensure that the Festival will encompass the breadth of ideas and potential to celebrate  Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths in new and unexpected ways across the whole of the UK. We’d like to thank all the teams that have taken the time to apply to  be part of the R&D Project and trust that it has been the stimulating process it was  designed to be by opening up positive conversations and potential future collaborations never thought of, or realised, before.’ 

For further information on Festival UK* 2022 contact media@festival2022.uk. For Nerve Centre media enquires contact Danielle Mackenzie on d.mackenzie@nervecentre.org