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Plans unveiled for rebranded “Festival of Brexit”

The £120m programme will consist of 10 creative projects in a “once-in-a-lifetime” event

By Hollie Geraghty

'Our Place in Space' visualisation, a large scale model of the solar system
The 'Our Place in Space' visualisation. (Photo: Unboxed).

Plans have been revealed for what was previously called “Festival of Brexit”, now renamed “​​Unboxed: Creativity in the UK”.

The event, which was announced by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 to mark the UK leaving the European Union, will now celebrate creativity in arts, science, technology, engineering, maths and more.

The £120m programme will consist of 10 projects from nearly 300 submitted ideas, due to take place between March to October 2022.

The events will be combined with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Projects will include: ‘Our Place in Space, a 10 kilometer scale model of the solar system in Northern Irelands and Cambridge; ‘About Us’, a tour light and vision show to take audiences on a journey from the Big Bang to present day; and ‘SEE MONSTER’, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform in Weston-super-Mare that will become a public art installation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the event in a government press release as: “A celebration of UK ingenuity, energy, innovation, optimism and all-round creative genius, it will be unlike anything else that has been seen before.

He added: “Light shows, sculpture trails and a festival of ideas are just some of the spectacular events that will take place in locations across the UK – alongside work and experiences you can interact with digitally.”

It will create a “once-in-a-lifetime” event, according to festival’s chief creative officer Martin Green, who was the head of ceremonies at the 2012 London Olympics. Green also said it was the UK’s “biggest and most ambitious public creative programme to date.”

He added: “Unboxed represents an unprecedented and timely opportunity for people to come together across the UK and beyond and take part in awe-inspiring projects that speak to who we are and explore the ideas that will define our futures.”

School children will have the opportunity to take part in educational programmes and competitions, creating hundreds of jobs and “opportunities for emerging talent.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: “Next year we will celebrate creativity in all four corners of the UK in what is set to be a huge year for the nation. 

“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience world-leading arts and culture no matter what their background or where they’re from – and that’s what Unboxed is all about.”