High Hopes: Festival of Hope shortlisted for national arts award

High Hopes

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December 4, 2020
Creativity Exchange
February 5, 2021

Youth-led arts festival shortlisted for national award

A North West youth arts and heritage festival, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has been shortlisted to receive a prestigious national award for its inspiring and innovative programme through a period of national crisis.
The Festival of Hope is one of just 12 projects across the UK to be named a finalist in the ‘Best Arts Project’ category of the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2021, presented annually by the National Campaign for the Arts (NCA). These awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities, who are championing the arts against all odds.

The Festival of Hope was produced by 40 young people through the Summer of 2020, working with five different heritage partners: Bolton Museum, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery (Carlisle), West Cheshire Museums, Lancashire Museums and The Atkinson (Sefton) and supported by Blaze Arts. It is a key part of Curious Minds’ flagship youth heritage project, called Hope Streets, which brings together partner organisations from across the youth, arts and heritage sectors to explore what it takes to authentically embed youth voice in museums.

Amidst a growing international crisis, with museums and cultural organisations forced to close their doors, these imaginative young people flexed and adapted their planning, to take the Festival online, ensuring hope was found and new light was cast on interpretations of heritage.
Amidst a growing international crisis, with museums and cultural organisations forced to close their doors, these imaginative young people flexed and adapted their planning, to take the Festival online, ensuring hope was found and new light was cast on interpretations of heritage.

Discussing Festival of Hope’s nomination, Hearts for the Arts Award partners said:

“Of all years, 2020 needed a Festival of Hope! By giving the reins of this project to young people, the project demonstrated faith and ambition in the young producers, and showed them that they were valued by the heritage sector. The young people proved themselves worthy of this faith, producing a festival with both online and offline content, which was therefore more accessible to their wider community.”
Commenting on the shortlist announcement, Hope Streets Project Manager, Saul Argent, said:
“In the midst of a global crisis, the young producers of the Festival of Hope showed incredible resilience, innovation and adaptability to bring to life dozens of moving, thoughtful and powerful stories of hope and heritage at a time when they were most needed. Brilliantly supported by our five partner museums, the project demonstrated what exciting things can happen when you pass the keys to heritage to the next generation.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, which is one of the project’s heritage partners, said:
“Against all the odds, two teams of young people in Winsford and Chester pulled off not one but two innovative and creative festivals. To now have their work recognised in this shortlisting is fantastic and should be an inspiration to us all on what can still be achieved in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Good luck to all the project teams as we wait for the announcement of the winners next month.”
The eventual winners of the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2021 will be selected by a judging panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners, including:

  • Le Gateau Chocolat, Drag artiste and cabaret performer
  • Paul Hartnoll, musician, composer, founder member of Orbital
  • Adrian Lester CBE, actor and director
  • Petra Roberts, Cultural Development Manager, Hackney Council (2020 winners for the Windrush Generations Festival)
  • Samuel West, actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

The winners will be announced on Valentines Day, 14th February.

Visit the Festival of Hope website to find out more about the project and to see the work produced by the Young Producers.

For more information on all the shortlisted nominees visit forthearts.org.uk/campaigns/hearts-for-the-arts/

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