First it was dubbed the “Festival of Brexit” then it became “Festival UK 2022″ and now it has been officially unveiled as: “UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK”.
Conceived by former prime minister Theresa May, the event was created to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.
While Brexiteers complain the key word has been “airbrushed” out of the event and some remainers criticise public funds being spent on it – the organisers say it is designed to “bring people together”.
Now a smorgasbord of experiences have been unveiled for the celebration, including pop-up forests, computer coding and a decommissioned oil rig.
The promoters say it has been produced by some of the “brightest minds” in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.
Boris Johnson has hailed the programme a celebration of UK “ingenuity, energy, innovation, optimism and all-round creative genius”. He has promised it will be “unlike anything else that has been seen before”.
Events will take place from March 1 to October 2 – everywhere from the Outer Hebrides to Dover and from Omagh to Swansea.
Here, HuffPost UK runs you through the “celebration of creativity” taking place across the country next year:
Kicking off in March, About Us promises to “immerse” festival-goers in 13.8 billion years of history from the Big Bang to the present day.
It will combine live shows and multimedia installations with animation, poetry, original music and live performance.
Buildings and landmarks in Paisley, Derry–Londonderry, Caernarfon, Luton and Hull will be transformed into a “vast canvas” featuring animations.
“Everywhere we look there are networks of connection and meaning,” says Lysander Ashton from About Us.
This is a Scotland-wide project that will feature “unexpected gardens”, vertical farms, free music events and plant giveaways.
The aim is to “reimagine” the annual harvest festival for the 21st century with gardens “springing up” from the Borders to the Highlands.
Music “inspired by plant growth” will be shared at live events including two music and food festivals in Glasgow and Inverness. Angus Farquhar from Dandelion said they were driven by the concept of “sow, grow, share”.
Audience members in the UK’s four capitals will be plunged into an environment of light and sound – with their eyes closed.
Dreamachine promises “kaleidoscopic patterns and explosions of colour” in the mind of the viewer.
Director Jennifer Crook said it would provide a “magical insight” into the extraordinary potential of our own minds.
GALWAD: A story from our future
Galwad – which means “call” in Welsh – combines TV drama, live performance and an “immersive” app to tell a story set 30 years in the future.
Communities from across Wales are working with a Hollywood production studio to bring live events to three Welsh locations.
Claire Doherty from GALWAD said they were inviting audiences to explore the “moral dilemmas and possibilities” of a different kind of future.
Green Space Dark Skies
Twenty thousand people will help create a spectacular of outdoor artworks by lighting up national parks and beauty spots. They promise to use new technology to create “compelling online experiences”.
Participants, known as “Lumenators” will be recruited from communities across the UK and equipped with handheld lights to make moving pictures across the landscape to be shared online.
John Wassell, creative producer, said it was about “class and landscape, race and landscape, disability and landscape”.
Our Place in Space
This project will create a scale version of the solar system across 10km “sculptural trails” in Northern Ireland and Cambridge.
The creators invite us to “consider our relationships” with each other from the perspective of our place in space.
Artist Oliver Jeffers said: “Our Place in Space is a playful experiment that asks: What is the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’? What happens to your perspective on everything when you look back at Earth from space?”
PoliNations claims to be a “monumental pop-up forest garden” in the centre of Birmingham.
It is designed to celebrate the global origins of the UK’s plants and population through installations, music, talks and performances.
“PoliNations is a spectacular co-grown forest garden that will ignite the senses and deepen understanding of our shared history, bringing people together from all walks of life with an utterly unforgettable finale,” creative director Angie Bual said.
A decommissioned North Sea offshore platform is being transformed into a public art installation and “celebration of British weather”.
Situated in the coastal town of Westonsuper-Mare, in the town’s former lido, See Monster will feature planted gardens, places to meet and learning programmes.
Artistic director Patrick O’Mahony said its arrival is a “springboard” to explore the concept of “inherited structures”.
StoryTrails will use “augmented reality”, 3D internet technology and “creative voices” to tell stories.
It aims to spark a national conversation about “who we are and where we are going”. It will culminate in a new film for the BBC and the BFI by historian David Olusoga.
Director professor James Bennett said: “StoryTrails will reignite people’s pride and passion for their hometown.”
Tour de Moon
Tour de Moon is a series of festivals, nightlife experiences and a travelling convoy inspired by the Moon.
Organisers say it aims to open conversations about “future utopias” and support the creation of new work by creatives aged 18 to 25.
Director Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian said: “Tour de Moon travels with the night collaborating with our universal satellite – the Moon- seeking for new beginnings, to empower others to create, to initiate, to innovate with new thinking and pluralistic practices so that history does not repeat itself on and beyond Earth.”