Brexit festival head claims ‘misconceived’ £120m event is ‘part of Covid recovery narrative’

Martin Green, the chief creative officer of Festival UK* 2022, was formerly chief executive and director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Courtesy of British Council

The director of Festival UK* 2022, a UK wide-event championing the countrys innovation and creativity in the wake of coronavirus and Brexit, has defended the controversial initiative which will receive £120m government funding. Martin Green, the festivals chief creative officer who was appointed last December, says: “Ultimately this money enables creatives to make work, so it is absolutely part of the Covid recovery narrative.”

When the former prime minister Theresa May announced the project in 2018, it was dubbed the Festival of Brexit. “There was conjecture about what this project would be. Were pleased to say this is a festival of creativity and innovation designed to bring people together and showcase the best of us,” Green adds.

Today, the festival organisers have issued a call to “find some of the greatest minds and brightest talents from the worlds of science, tech, engineering, arts and maths”. Applicants are invited to form Creative Teams and apply to a £3m-funded research and development programme (deadline for submissions 16 October). Thirty teams will then be selected and awarded £100,000 each to originate ideas. In the last phase, ten large-scale projects will be commissioned for different spaces across the UK, forming part of the final festival programme.

The ten commissions will be launched under a new festival name at the end of next year. “We have the working title of Festival UK* 2022 because we dont want to fully brand it and name it until we know exactly what the content is,” says Green, who was the chief executive and director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

But the museum consultant Nick Winterbotham, also the director of the arts and heritage cooperative Be the Change, tells The Art Newspaper thatmost arts organisation are struggling for survival right now; the last thing they need is a misconceived and semi-funded festival. Let's hope any regenerative festival initiatives offer real opportunity rather than creating new financial burdens for our struggling cultural organisations."

Meanwhile, earlier this year the director of the UK membership and advocacy group Museums Association (MA), Sharon Heal, said that money allocated by the government for the 2022 festival should go towards museums under threat due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Green says: “It is a fully conceived festival. We think this is an enormously timely investment in creating work. Weve made the process as simple as possible. If you become one of the 30 teams, then you start being paid for that work whicRead More – Source

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