Caroline Norbury on Creative Coalition Festival 2022

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If 2022 heralds a new creative direction for you, then join us for the Creative Coalition Festival from 1st – 3rd February, where you can hear directly from people who provoke ideas and stimulate change.  Our CEO, Caroline Norbury, gives us the low down of what to expect from this year’s festival… 


What is Creative Coalition Festival? 

Creative Coalition Festival brings together some of the most exciting and leading figures across the UK to celebrate the creative industries and to address pressing questions facing our sector. At the heart of the virtual festival is our belief that connection and collaboration are the keys to both creativity and change, and so, over three days (1st – 3rd February 2022), we are bringing together both industry leaders and home-grown talent to stimulate vital conversations. Our first festival in November 2020, featured 200 incredible speakers and brought together over 5,000 attendees from 61 different countries. This year, our ambition is to grow the festival, bringing together more people to shape the future of our sector. 


What type of conversations and events will you be holding at the festival? 

We’ve curated our programme to be timely and relevant, and to engage with our strategic priorities: People, Place, Planet 

Reflecting on COP26, the festival addresses what our sector urgently needs to be doing to respond to the climate emergency, and how creative thinking can provide solutions to the crisis. We will be addressing bullying and harassment, ableism, and how to sustain change in the creative sector following movements like Black Lives Matter. We need to come together to have these discussions, as it’s only through working together that we can make meaningful change – this is our core belief at Creative UK. 

As well as hosting leading speakers and convening discussions, the festival includes live performances and immersive experiences, to inspire and entertain. We will be delivering workshops specifically for businesses, and we are very proud to be launching our new membership programme for small creative enterprises – Elevate, providing support to help creative business thrive. 


Who are some of the speakers we have to look forward to? 

We’ve got some incredible speakers, with more to be announced soon. This includes television writer, Jed Mercurio, creator of Line of Duty; the singer-songwriter, Rebecca Ferguson, who we’ve been working with closely around combatting bullying and harassment across the creative industries; and Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair Times UP UK – a charity that insists on safe, fair and dignified work for everyone. We have musician and artist, GAIKA; Gillian Tett, editor-at-large of Financial Times; Gus Casely-Hayford, director of V&A East; Livia Firth, co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age; fashion designer Henry Holland, plus many more. 


How will 2022 edition vary from 2020? 

2020 was a particularly challenging year – the creative industries were hit hard by the pandemic, and furthermore, it widened the divisions in society. Whilst, in recent times, we’ve been able to re-engage with some of the arts and culture we missed, 2022 brings more uncertainty, and we’re still on the path of recovery. Some conversations from 2020 need to be continued, others need to be started. What’s clear is that now, more than ever, we need inspiration from leading figures across our industry.  

2020’s edition was the first event hosted by Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, and since then, we have officially come together as Creative UK. By merging, we are now in a far stronger position to have visible impact and drive real change. We’ve achieved a lot since we combined forces, and through the input of all of our team, the festival truly represents the values of Creative UK. 


What can attendees expect to gain from the festival? 

Expect to be inspired by an amazing line-up of speakers, performers and creators, and to be engaged in stimulating discussions that span across all sub-sectors of the creative industries. We invite all audiences to join the festival and to contribute their ideas – the festival has been designed as a place where everyone can have a voice, and we want to hear what you have to say. 


Register for a free ticket to Creative Coalition Festival 2022 here.

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