Festival celebrates diversity of creative industries and asks what post-lockdown future looks like

Festival celebrates the diversity of the creative industries and asks what our post-lockdown future looks like

In a unique meeting of academia, industry and creative professionals the Creative Industries Festival from Oxford Brookes University, running 4–27 May, is a month long exploration of how the creative industries can shape our lives, now and in the future.

Working with Oxford City Council, the Creative Industries Federation, OxLEP (Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership) and creative communities, the festival focuses on building a vibrant, more resilient future across music, film, media, the visual arts and a range of other industries.

The programme of free, online events will explore the future of cultural activity as we emerge from the long period of dormancy enforced by lockdown; what relationships audiences will have with producers as culture continues to shift online; and how creative industries can respond to calls for greater inclusivity and diversity.

The series of virtual talks, workshops and discussions brings together practitioners, policy-makers and researchers from a range of sectors including music, film, the visual arts, live entertainment, and high-tech artificial intelligence. Highlights include:

  • Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East, will present her alternative vision for the future and underline the importance of the creative industries (7 May)
  • Star Wars actor Arti Shah shares her experiences and calls for greater diversity in blockbuster films (13 May)
  • Kate Nash, BRIT Award-winning singer and songwriter, will share her insights into gender and sexism in the creative industries (27 May)
  • For innovation and interactivity, join an AI workshop to imagine scenarios for urban evolution - using collaborative techniques to learn from peers
  • A Celebrity Culture Club event on queer contributions to the creative Industries will feature queer icons from Sink the Pink and Bourgeois and Maurice

Creative and inclusive post-lockdown vision

Dr Hannah Yelin, the Creative Industries Network Lead commented: “As our world opens up after lockdown the Creative Industries Festival allows us to take stock of how the media, arts and music affects our communities now and in the future. With a grounding in research and practice, Oxford Brookes University is marking this pivotal moment in our cultural lives.

Government figures from 2020 show that UK creative industries contributed £13m to the economy every hour. The major economic challenges brought on by the pandemic will be assessed, as well as the sector’s ability to bounce back, in a Creative Industries Federation State of the Nation event. Twenty-six events that follow throughout May will show how inspiring artistic experiences can continue to engage us, and how we can explore ways to develop a more inclusive society.”

Breaking down barriers in the world of creative arts is a key focus of the programme. Star Wars actor Arti Shah was diagnosed at the age of two with a condition which has affected her stature. She will share her personal experiences as a successful actor and performer, and call for greater diversity in blockbuster films, both in front of and behind the camera.

Find out more about the Creative Industries Festival on the Oxford Brookes University website.