Bloomsbury Festival 2016

Created with over 100 local partners including many Knowledge Quarter members, the annual Bloomsbury Festival returns this October.  For five days from 19-23 October, Bloomsbury’s streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories, public and (normally) private buildings will be full to the brim with artistic, scientific and literary events for all ages and tastes.

“Bloomsbury Festival captures the diversity of bright minds connected to these few streets of London.”  The Guardian.

 Bloomsbury_1For hundreds of years, Bloomsbury has been a catalyst for ideas that have had impact across the world – never more so that now!  Bloomsbury Festival celebrates contemporary Bloomsbury; a vibrant hotbed of creativity and pioneering development which has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the country.

Bloomsbury juxtaposes major institutions, creative businesses, drama and dance schools, law firms, schools, hospitals, and residents from all walks of life. Uniquely placed in relationship to its community, local institutions, and the arts infrastructure Bloomsbury Festival acts as a creative catalyst fostering new collaborations, amplifying the creative work and engagement of its community, and provide opportunities for practitioners of all genre to enrich their creative practice.

“Bloomsbury is extraordinary: a cultural and intellectual hotbed that is fizzing with creativity and ideas.  As the Festival’s new director, I am immensely proud and excited to be working with over a hundred Bloomsbury partners – young and old, artists and scientists, world leadings institutions and small businesses who have come together to create this phenomenal five days of creativity, arts and ideas.  Much more that a showcase, Bloomsbury Festival is a catalyst, uniting its community and sparking new opportunities to learn, create, and have fun!”  Kate Anderson Festival Director.

Bloomsbury_2The 2016 Festival theme is LANGUAGE – inspired by the centenary of SOAS.  Many forms of Language will be explored in the Festival:  linguistics, speech, symbols, non-verbal communication, performance language, dance notation, morse code, sign language, and computer code to name a few options.  Events already planning range from a collaboration between an artist and curator inspired by cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay at the British Museum to investigations of legal and medical ‘languages’ that are used in many firms, laboratories and hospitals in Bloomsbury.

‘As we celebrate 100 years of SOAS teaching and research, we are delighted that the Bloomsbury Festival’s theme this year is dedicated to language.  SOAS is a special place with its unique blend of languages, regional and discipline expertise.  We are proud of our Bloomsbury location and, with the addition of Senate House North Block, the growth of our Bloomsbury Campus.  As we look forward to the next 100 years, we will continue to play a central role in the cultural and creative life of the area.’ Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS.

A few of this year’s headline events include:Bloomsbury_3

Step Out Store Street created with support from The Place and RADA will be a night-time street party with a twist.  Store Street will be transformed into an outdoor dance stage featuring world dance from Bollywood to B­Boy and Swing to Line dancing and premiering of a new street dance commission from acclaimed dancer Tony Adigun’s Avant Garde Youth Dance Company.  Local artists, performers and inspirational thinkers will take up residence in the street’s parade of 16 small independent shops, Pa-BOOM’s fiery pyrotechnic art installation will make a welcome return to the street, and there will be an abundance of street food and bars will be available.

Other headline events will include The Last Whispers at the British Museum, Calling Tree by The Place’s Associate Artist Rosemary Lee, in St George’s Gardens, a specially curated programme at The Wellcome Trust, Goodensemble and ENO at Goodenough College, and SOAS’ World Music Stage inside the newly opened north block of Senate House.

The festival will centre around three main hub venues Goodenough college (literature and music), UCL (multiple types of language), and Conway Hall (the language of social change) with activities also taking place at a furtBloomsbury_4her 20+ satellite venues including the Wellcome Trust, the British Museum, the British Library, Pushkin House, Charles Dickens Museum, Coram’s Fields, the Music Room, Bloomsbury Hotel, the Curzon Bloomsbury, and Store Street. In addition to the evening and weekend programme, there will be lunchtime events Wed 19 – Fri 21 for locals and workers to attend and breakfast events and talks in local cafes.

Every year the Festival runs a competition for BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martin’s students to design the festival image. This year’s winning entry, shown here, is by Wies van der Wal which the judges felt illustrated the theme of language, the coming together of ideas and joy of the Festival perfectly.

The final programme is still under development and the Festival is keen to elicited any more entries from Knowledge Quarter members in particular for either the UCL language hub on Saturday 22nd  October, or for talks and debates on the language of social change at Conway Hall on Sunday 23rd October.  The programme will be finalised in the coming month and will be online and available in brochure form from September.