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UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is a celebration of creativity taking place across the UK in 2022, designed to reach millions and bring people together. It features free, large-scale events, installations and globally accessible digital experiences in the UK’s most ambitious showcase of creative collaboration.

Produced by some of the brightest minds in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, UNBOXED features ten major, multi-site and digital creative projects that share new ideas and possibilities for the future. Events and activities will take place from the Outer Hebrides to Dover and from Omagh to Swansea, and across traditional and online media from 1 March to 2 October 2022.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.

The ten commissions

The programme sees audiences in towns and cities across the UK immersed in over 13 billion years of history from the Big Bang to the present day using innovative projection mapping technology combined with poetry, music and science (About Us). A Scotland-wide project featuring ‘Unexpected Gardens’, vertical farms, free music events and plant give-aways reimagines the annual harvest festival for the 21st Century from Caithness to Dumfries (Dandelion).

20,000 people are being invited to create vast outdoor artworks lighting up some of the UK’s outstanding landscapes using new technology to create compelling online experiences (Green Space Dark Skies). Audiences in the UK’s four capital cities are immersed in sound and light in an artwork experienced with closed eyes that explores the limitless potential of the human mind (Dreamachine).

Local communities from across Wales, creatives and a Hollywood production studio are working together to shape and share a story set 30 years in the future across TV drama, digital platforms and live events in three Welsh locations (GALWAD: A story from our future). A scale version of our solar system, staged across 10km sculptural trails in Northern Ireland and Cambridge, invites us to consider our relationships with each other from the perspective of our place in space (Our Place in Space).

A decommissioned North Sea offshore platform is transformed into an immersive public art installation and celebration of British weather in the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare suggesting new possibilities for retired structures (SEE MONSTER); and a monumental forest garden of living plants and architectural trees springs up in the city of Birmingham in celebration of the global origins of the UK’s plants and population (PoliNations).

Augmented reality, new developments in 3D internet technology and young creatives shape one of the most ambitious living history and archive projects ever undertaken (StoryTrails) and a festival of nightlife and countercultures inspired by, and ‘in collaboration’ with, the moon travels in convoy around England with a mission to imagine multiple better futures for, and with, young people (Tour de Moon).

Central to UNBOXED are extensive learning and public participation opportunities reaching hundreds of thousands of school children, young people and communities throughout 2022. These include invitations to take part, shape and deliver UNBOXED through school poetry and coding competitions, community workshops, citizen science projects and new employment and skills development opportunities for diverse young creatives and freelancers. There are also partnerships with the BBC, British Council and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) that will further global conversations about the role of creativity and innovation in society.

UNBOXED commissions in Scotland

The Dandelion team at the Glasgow launch. Image credit: Dandelion / Wattie Cheung.

EventScotland is the strategic delivery body for Scotland and is responsible for directly commissioning and managing Scotland’s contribution to the Festival - Dandelion.

Dandelion is an innovative new initiative inviting people all over the country to get growing, sharing and celebrating food, music, and ideas, in and with their communities. It will demonstrate the power of collective action in a Scotland-wide ‘grow your own’ initiative. Rooted in Scotland, with an international outlook and sustainability at its heart, the Dandelion programme follows the arc of the growing season, from April to September 2022, and will culminate in hundreds of Harvest Festivals across Scotland – reimagining the cultural celebration of harvest for the 21st century, led by the next generations of producers, musicians and growers.

To read more about Dandelion visit www.dandelion.scot

Beyond Dandelion, Scotland will also host five other projects presented as part of UNBOXED. These are: About Us (Paisley); StoryTrails (Dundee and Dumfries); Dreamachine (Edinburgh); Green Space, Dark Skies (across National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including Scotland); and PoliNations (Edinburgh).

The projects taking place in Scotland offer an exciting and unique opportunity for audiences, participants, communities and visitors to experience ground-breaking creative programmes designed to question, provoke, delight and intrigue, while showcasing the incredible creative talents of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) practitioners across Scotland and the UK.