Nerve Centre Among 10 teams Commissioned to Develop UK-wide Festival of Creativity in 2022

Nerve Centre Among 10 teams Commissioned to Develop UK-wide Festival of Creativity in 2022

What should a festival of creativity look like? 30 teams, bringing together scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians from across the UK working in new creative partnerships, were invited to come up with ideas for large-scale public engagement projects. Designed to reach millions globally, they were to take place at locations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and were to be open, original and optimistic.

Following a three-month R&D programme and a rigorous assessment process, 10 Creative Teams have now been commissioned to take their ground-breaking projects into full production for next year’s Festival UK* 2022. Intended to bring people together and showcase creativity, the projects will reach every corner of the UK. They will include events, public engagement activities, participation opportunities and learning programmes reaching millions of children and young people, demonstrating the importance of creativity in people’s lives and our collective future.

The Northern Ireland team – led by Nerve Centre and National Museums NI – will now take forward their concept to develop a unique experiment in astrophysics, augmented reality, landscape, visual art and play, asking what happens to your perspective on everything when you look back at earth from space. Partners involved in the team will include artists Oliver Jeffers and Die Hexen, the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, Big Motive, Microsoft and Taunt.

Full details of the festival commissions are being kept under wraps to allow the Creative Teams to turn their ideas into reality, but projects will take us from the land, to the sea, to the air and even outer space, using pioneering technology and the power of imagination. The festival programme will be announced, along with a new name, later this year

Chief Creative Officer for Festival UK* 2022 Martin Green said: 'We asked 500 of the best creative minds in the UK to tell us what a festival of creativity could be. What they came up with has exceeded our expectations, and then some, which made deciding which 10 teams to commission very difficult. We believe the extraordinary breadth of talent, their thrilling ideas and geographic spread, will be ground-breaking, inspiring and exciting for millions of people across the UK and further afield.’

Dame Vikki Heywood CBE, chairman of Festival UK* 2022 board, said: ‘It has been incredibly exciting to see hundreds of creative people from across the UK collaborate so imaginatively at such a difficult time and we’ve been bowled over by the positive response of those taking part in the R&D process. As the 10 commissioned projects go forward there will be many opportunities for everyone to participate in creative experiments across the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Maths from all ages and all corners of the UK in 2022.'

Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: ‘We are impressed by the innovation and diversity of the work that has been carried out across all regions during the R&D project. It has provided much-needed support to local creatives during a challenging period and demonstrated how good teamwork creates strength and synergy. We’re very much looking forward to seeing how the final projects develop and shape this exciting festival and we’re confident that the Northern Ireland collaboration will further strengthen our already flourishing STEAM and cultural sectors.’

Director of Communications at Nerve Centre David Lewis said: 'The Nerve Centre and all the team partners are delighted to have made it through to the next stage of Festival UK* 2022. The R&D programme brought together an amazing array of creative talent from Northern Ireland across STEAM, including leading artists, scientists and technologists. We now look forward to turning our exciting ideas into reality and showing what we can do. Watch this space!'

Chief Executive of National Museums NI Kathryn Thomson said: 'It has been fantastic collaborating with some of the very best creative minds in Northern Ireland to dream up new ways of celebrating creativity and connecting more people with arts and culture. We look forward to taking the project on to the next stage and supporting its development through our museums and collections.'

Festival UK*2022 - Meet the Nerve Centre Collective from Nerve Centre on Vimeo.

10 Experiments in Creativity - The Commissioned Teams

Nerve Centre Collective

An experiment in astrophysics, augmented reality, landscape, visual art and play, asking what happens to your perspective on everything when you look back at earth from space.

Nerve Centre: David Lewis, John Peto, Rachel McDermott; Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast: Stephen Smartt; Big Motive: Rebecca Walsh; Microsoft: Kieran McCorry; National Museums Northern Ireland: Aaron Ward; Composer, Producer, Sound Artist and Filmmaker: Die Hexen; Illustrator, Designer, Art Director and Creative Director: Rory Jeffers; Visual Artist and Author: Oliver Jeffers; Taunt: Fiona McLaughlin.

59 Productions Collective

An unprecedented experiment uniting cosmology, biology, projection technology, STEM education, poetry and 13.8 billion years of history asking questions about the single biggest story of our collective experience.

59 Productions: Lysander Ashton, Rebecca Collis; The Poetry Society: Judith Palmer; Freelance Poet: Keith Jarrett; Stemettes: Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Angel Pooler, Andrew Westoby; Nokia Bell Labs: Domhnaill Hernon, Danielle McPhatter, Daniele Querica.

Aproxima Arts Collective

A unique approach to community growing celebrating music, future food technology and sustainable festivals. Demonstrating the power of collective action in the largest ‘grow your own’ project of modern times.

Aproxima Arts: Angus Farquhar, Caroline Thompson, Cosmo Blake (Sustrans); BEMIS Scotland: Tanveer Parnez; Celtic Connections: Donald Shaw; Creative Producer: Neil Butler (Wraptheworld); Fèis Rois: Fiona Dalgetty, Pàdruig Morrison; getMade Design: James Johnson; James Hutton Institute: Nicola Strachan; Scotland's Rural College (SRUC): Fiona Burnett.

Assemble + 8 Collective

An immersive experience exploring the wonder of the human mind through architecture, neuroscience, technology, light and sound.

Spatial Designers: Assemble, Composer: Jon Hopkins; Freelance Director: Jennifer Crook; University of Sussex: Prof. Anil Seth, Dr. David Schwartzman; Freelancer Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt; Freelance Technologist: Dev Joshi; Freelance Digital Producer: Michelle Feuerlicht; Centre for Study of Perceptual Experience, University of Glasgow: Prof. Fiona Macpherson.

Collective Cymru led by National Theatre Wales

World-building, inclusive co-design, immersive mobile technology, TV Drama, futures thinking in science, and live performance collide to produce an experimental and inspiring form of transmedia storytelling.

National Theatre Wales: Lorne Campbell, Claire Doherty, Marc Rees; Centre for Alternative Technology: Rebecca Upton; Clwstwr: Shirish Kulkarni, Robin Moore; Disability Arts Cymru: Kaite O’Reilly; Ffilm Cymru Wales: Pauline Burt; Sugar Creative: Will Humphrey; Writer and Professor in Creativity, Swansea University: Owen Sheers; Youth Arts Network Cymru: Liara Barussi (Jukebox Collective), Gethin Evans (Frân Wen).

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Collective

A cosmic adventure exploring immersive experiences, new technologies, science innovation, social media, youth culture and the power of imagination to change perspectives, dismantle boundaries and ignite the creative energy of towns across the UK.

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Team.


A physical manifestation and celebration of the British weather and UK coastline; a large-scale installation that addresses global questions, encourages playfulness, elicits joy and presents an experiment in change.

NEWSUBSTANCE: Patrick O’Mahony, Ollie Howitt; Ivan Black Sculpture: Ivan Black; Global Head of Partner Engineering Amazon Prime Video & founder of Empowering Women with Tech: Natasha Sayce-Zelem; Space Engineer & Founder of Rocket Women: Vinita Marwaha-Madill; REDHOUSE: Emma-Jane Taylor, Benjamin Webster; Dose of Society: Ahmed Faid, Nii Lartey; British Antarctic Survey: Dr Amélie Kirchgaessner; Self-employed Writer, Curator and Artistic Director: Neville Wakefield.

StoryFutures Collective

An experiment in film, broadcast and augmented reality, public archives, digital access and immersive storytelling asking who are we? Where did we come from and where are we headed?

StoryFutures Academy run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film and Television School (NFTS): Prof. James Bennett, Amanda Murphy, Angela Chan; British Film Institute (BFI): Ben Luxford; ISOdesign: Damien Smith; Nexus Studios: Liam Walsh, Kim-Leigh Pontin; The Reading Agency: Hayley Butler; Uplands TV: David Olusoga, Mike Smith; Produce UK: Lee Baker

Trigger Collective

An experiment in mass participation, co-creation, shared histories, sustainability, installation, performance and spectacle through the lens of nature, multiculturalism and ritual and reclaiming space.

Trigger: Angie Bual, Jude Ho, Carl Robertshaw; Brigstow Institute: Prof. Peter Coates, Lydia Medland, Prof. Jane Memmott; Dock Street Events: Chris Clay, Jenny Hutt; THISS: Tamsin Hanke, Sash Scott; Wolves Lane Flower Company: Marianne Mogendorff.

Walk the Plank Collective

An experiment in lighting technology, environmental science, geo-tracking, mass participation, exploring the beauty of the UK outdoors and asking questions about access, taking part, landscape and the future of public spectacle.

Walk the Plank: Creative Producer John Wassell; freelance Lighting and Special Effects Designer: Richard Babington; freelance Theatre-maker and multidisciplinary Artist: Danielle Carbon Wilson; Extraordinary Bodies Lead Artist: Jamie Beddard; Siemens: Robin Phillips, Engineer Annabel Ohene, Engineer Nathaniel Fernandes; National Parks UK: Director of Communications Alastair Barber; freelance Dance and Movement Specialist: Ruth Jones; freelance Creative Leader, Musician, and Facilitator: Pete Moser.