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Where will YOU find Hope?

Rewind time a few months; across the North West, teams of young festival producers were in full flow, working with museums and heritage partners getting ready to launch their plans for a region-wide Festival of Hope. This major event was part of Hope Streets, a five-year project led by Curious Minds with funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, working with museum partners to transform how they engage with young people aged 11-25 outside of school. The festival was due to be the most ambitious part of the project yet: a large-scale youth-led event exploring hope and heritage through the eyes of young people.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the plans of our Young Producer teams were no longer possible. But rather than give up, they reacted. Here’s what the festival is now:

Produced by Blaze, this entirely young people powered programme celebrates creativity, heritage and diversity. The Festival of Hope is a pioneering festival that places young people at the heart of design, making, programming and production.

At this moment in time, nothing in the world is the same as it was before the crisis. The Festival of Hope Young Producers want to reflect this. They have been working hard across five sites for the past six months on shaping their festivals and are now responding to the current pandemic. Using elements of their original festivals and new ideas, they will now launch a series of distance delivery events that will happen in Summer 2020!

Our Festival of Hope areas are:
o Bolton (Bolton Museum)
o Carlisle (Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery)
o Chester and Cheshire West (West Cheshire Museums)
o Clitheroe and Padiham (Lancashire Museums)
o Sefton (The Atkinson)

What about the past makes us hopeful for the future? How should we document this moment in history? What can museum collections tell us about the moment we are living in, and what we should be collecting in the future? As the museum sites are shut, the Young Producers, museums and expert festival coordinators are pioneering ways heritage sites can work digitally, remotely and follow the lead of young people!

The Festival of Hope will include online and offline events that are interactive, engaging and support our communities. Passing leadership on to young people proves they are adaptable, creative thinkers, problem solvers and trail blazers who deserve to have their voices heard in conversations about heritage. A varied programme where the past and present collide. A catalyst for museums to work differently with young people with the aim to challenge, provoke and disrupt the norm.

Hope means lots of things to different people, and is needed now more than ever. What does hope mean to young people? Our young producers are interested in connecting people during lockdown, exploring how physical distancing can mean social closeness. Keep your eyes peeled for ways to get involved!

The Festival of Hope will continue beyond the summer with physical events across all five sites when it is safe to do so, each shaped by the young people that live there. The festival is part of Hope Streets, a five-year project creating a strategic partnership between heritage and youth sectors in the North West led by Curious Minds and supported with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Festival of Hope will support and empower the next generation of creative producers. By showing that young people are truly agents of change, experience the amazing things that happen when they have the power to create their own culture.

Where will YOU find hope?

Follow the creation of the Festival of Hope, and be the first to find out about its programme of events, by visiting the festival website: www.festivalofhope.co.uk

If you’d like to find out more, or be involved in the project, contact Saul Argent, Hope Streets Project Manager: saul.argent@curiousminds.org.uk

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