GLASGOW: A creativity festival to celebrate British ingenuity after Brexit, conceived before the pandemic, kicks off on Tuesday with project leaders insisting the show has nothing to do with nationalism.
The festival called “Unboxed: Creativity in the UK” draws inspiration from arts, science, engineering, technology and mathematics.
It has been allocated a budget of 120 million pounds (144 million euros, 160 million dollars) by the UK government.
The festival was launched by former prime minister Theresa May in 2018 who wanted “a once-in-a-generation celebration” after the UK’s departure from the European Union.
It was soon widely referred to as a “festival of Brexit”.
But since then, the UK has been living with the Covid pandemic for two years and inflation is at a 30-year high, with the cost of living skyrocketing.
“In the 10 different projects that are part of ‘Unboxed’ there is not a single project that is about Brexit — be assured,” Judith Palmer, director of The Poetry Society, told the Media.
The first project in the festival, “About Us”, was previewed in Glasgow on Monday night.
It featured a choir accompanying a light display reflecting the interconnectedness of humanity with the cosmos and nature that was projected onto Paisley Cathedral.
“If you look back at the announcement in 2018, (it) was that we will stage a festival of creativity and innovation,” said Martin Green, Unboxed’s chief creative officer.
“It’s easy to see how lots of other people turned that into whatever they wanted to turn it into,” he said in February.
“I certainly wouldn’t be working on it if it was (a Brexit festival). It’s just one of those things that’s gone into modern parlance.”
Other projects include a 10-kilometre (around six-mile) scale model sculpture trail of the solar system in Northern Ireland, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform which will be transformed into a public art installation and an immersive 3D experience in south London.
Projects will also he held in Birmingham, Blackpool, Caernarfon, Edinburgh, Hull, Inverness, Leicester, Newcastle and Swansea.