Freedom Festival, British Council & Hull Truck Theatre present

The Art of Unconventional: Professional Symposium

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Freedom Festival Arts Trust in partnership with the British Council and creative partner Hull Truck Theatre invite arts professionals, urban planners, policy makers and technologists from across the globe to explore how art in public space has moved from unconventional to conventional.

As place-makers continue to recognise the unparalleled role of arts & culture in building Extraordinary Places, we will be asking questions: how do artists and organisations continue to embrace artistic risk; remain radical and relevant? What do extraordinary cities look like? What role does the arts sector play in shaping them and how do we maintain the integrity of socially engaged practice and avoid instrumentalising art?

N.B This a 2 day symposium, registration opens at 1pm on Thursday 29th Aug and the event will come to a close at 4.45pm on Friday 30th Aug after a provocation by Darren O’Donnell (Artistic Director - Mammalian Diving Reflex).


Thursday 29th August

1pm: Registration opens

1:45 – 1:55: Welcome (Jenny Howard-Coombes Executive Director/Joint CEO Freedom Festival Arts Trust)

1:55 – 3:00: Designing the Extraordinary – Facilitated by Jenny Howard-Coombes (Artistic Director & Joint CEO – Freedom Festival Arts Trust)

How do we create extraordinary places where people thrive and what is needed to fulfil the spectrum of our needs? Can you build an extraordinary city?  How do you collectively harness human narrative, culture, technology and design to achieve the vision?

Keynote Presentation, Chris Murray (British Council) – Director of Core Cities

Panel discussion with David Keel (Chair – C4DI), Chris Murray (British Council), Rob Beardsworth (Senior Urban Designer & Conservation Officer Hull City Council), Donna Close (Senior Research Fellow University of Brighton & Director of AMP Culture)

3:00 – 3:15: Q&A

3:15 – 3:35: Coffee/Connect/Explore

3:35 – 3:50: Presentation, The Connected City - David Keel – Chair of Centre for Digital Innovation

3:50 – 4:45: Alternative futures and System Change – Facilitated by Donna Close - (Senior Research Fellow University of Brighton & Director of AMP Culture)

The prosperity and well being of our society depends on our ability to tackle global challenges such as climate change, inequality, poverty and failing democracies. But to do so must we firstly look to radically change the systems that our society is built around or simply design better systems. Is it time for evolution or revolution?

Seth Honnor – Artistic Director Kaleider
Emer Grant – CEO/Artistic Director NN Contemporary Art
Yasmin Merali – Professor of Systems & Thinking – University of Hull

Friday 30th August  

9:30: Registration (Hull Truck)

Inhabit the Streets (TALKABOUTS) & Artistic Interventions

9:45 – 11:30: Guided Tour of Hull City Centre (Paul Schofield – English Heritage Guide) Max 15 places.

9:45 – 11:30: Explore the city centre and encounter - Artistic Interventions from: Julien Marchaisseau - RARA Woulib (FR) (In residency as part of InSitu), Broken Orchestra and Vicky Foster – Fair Winds and Following Seas, The Grief Series – Ellie Harrison (a part of Ages of Isolation)

9:45 – 11:30: R.M Sanchez  - The Print Shop - (Venue: Hull Truck)

9:45 – 11:30: Davina Drummond – The Temporary Tattoo Parlour - (Venue: Hull Truck)

Or just head to Hull Truck to catch up with your colleagues and enjoy the space to reflect and plan your weekend

1:30: Embracing Risk – Placed based narratives (Hull Truck Theatre)

Mark Babych – Artistic Director of Hull Truck theatre invites you to discussion exploring the importance of ‘risk’ in the creative process and presentation. We will consider what it means to develop work in collaboration with people, communities and place. How do we embrace risk as part of the process as we continue to explore beyond our boundaries in order to grow?  

Mark Babych – Artistic Director/Joint CEO Hull Truck Theatre (Facilitator)
R.M Sanchez Camus – Creative Practitioner Applied Live Art (instilling agency/hope)
Richard Demarco CBE – Artist & Promoter of Visual and Performing Arts
Mikey Martins – Artistic Director/Joint CEO Freedom Festival Arts Trust
Amanda Huxtable – Theatre Director
Annie Roy – Executive & Artistic Director Company ATSA

2:30 – 2:45: Q&A     

2:50 – 3:50: Reflections from a Cultural City? Where do we go from here? – Facilitated by Mikey Martins (Artistic Director/Joint CEO Freedom Festival Arts Trust)

Panel discussion exploring Hull’s journey to date and considering the journey ahead as we work towards affirming our position as a global, connected, culturally diverse and economically vibrant city.

Panel discussion

Kathy McArdle – Director of England and Cities - British Council
Franco Bianchini – Director Culture Policy and Place Institute (CPPI) University of Hull
Janthi Mills Ward – Executive Director/Joint CEO Hull Truck Theatre
Garry Taylor – Assistant Director Major Projects & Place
Pete Massey – Director, North - Yorkshire & The Humber & Northern Economy and Partnerships Arts Council England
Louise Yates – Director Back to Ours (Creative People & Places Hull)

3:55: Provocation – Darren O’Donnell (Artistic Director - Mammalian Diving Reflex)

Close – Now go and enjoy Freedom Festival 2019 and experience an extraordinary city.                               

To register for your free ticket visit