DESTINATION STOKE - OUR NEW FESTIVAL FOR 2020
‘Destination Stoke’ is the theme of our eight-week multi-arts festival which will take place in Spring 2020 celebrating Stoke as a creative and attractive place to visit and spend leisure time. The main festival programme will run from mid-March to mid-May 2020, with taster events and activities during February. The festival programme will celebrate all that is good and creative about Stoke, and the new life emerging. Artworks and performances in the town’s public spaces will interrupt, engage and provoke people to take a second look at the locality as artists cut through traditions of a place, jolting people to be surprised by what has been around for years, countering the pervading negative narrative about a place.
Stoke-upon-Trent, to give the town its full name, is a story-rich place, with an abundance of historical and creative connections and characteristics, ranging from early Anglo-Saxon times, to industrial-revolution pioneers, to contemporary regeneration and innovation. It is a place with new life emerging where existing generational ‘Stokies’ are welcoming people from around the world who bring new cultural experiences; in addition, the recent influx of students and artists complement a truly diverse locality. An inner-city neighbourhood with an urban-edge it faces many of the challenges of post-industrial localities and inner-city high streets, however, Stoke has retained a distinctive town-feel and is renowned for being one of the friendliest places in the UK.
Regeneration initiatives have seen re-purposed urban buildings now host a community bakery and artist studios; the celebrated renovation of former Spode Pottery site offers work-units for creatives, exhibition space, a café and a trendy aparthotel for tourists. The town is home to the city’s Minster which houses superb heritage and art treasures and is also the burial site of Josiah Wedgwood.
ARTISTIC ELEMENTS OF THE FESTIVAL
Art Street: high quality unmissable outdoor art installations in the town centre and main streets of Stoke, for a period of eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May 2020. The artworks will be a series of ‘multiples’ resulting in a striking and dynamic transformation in the town centre.
The Tourist Guides: street theatre performance with a pop-up tourist information centre in the public spaces of the town, to interrupt the everyday with fun interactions provoking connection and enquiry with Stoke as a Tourist Destination.
Destination Stoke Map-zine: a souvenir folding-map featuring the town’s tourist attractions as interpreted by an artist-in-residence. Not your regular visitor-guide but a contemporary and quirky take-home work of art. Available in printed format and online from February 2020.
Art Stop: the festival’s arts venue will host a programme of free-to-access workshops, talks and art events, involving professional artists working with a broad range of art forms. It will be open for taster sessions in February and then for the eight-week duration of the festival in spring.
Big Splash: is the working title for an outdoor, family-friendly, large-spectacle event in late April at a prime public access venue. The event is particularly targeted at audiences beyond the city and will draw people in to visit Stoke as a destination.
Arts Advocate: a professional artist, their role is to proactively reach out to local people - community groups, businesses, clubs, individual residents - to raise the level of participation, engagement and also understanding and appreciation, with the art of the festival.