ArtReach has been awarded €1.3 million by Creative Europe to deliver a €2.6 million Europe-wide arts project LIBERTY. 

ArtReach, the Lead Partner for the project, is the only UK organisation in this year’s results to receive funding on this scale to lead a large Cooperation Project. They will be teaming up with eleven other arts organisations representing ten European countries,  including partners from the previous ArtReach led pan-European projects Altonale GmbH in Hamburg, the Museo dei Bambini in Rome, CESIE in Palermo and Teatrul Național Radu Stanca in Sibiu.

LIBERTY aims to raise issues and provoke discussion around issues of community cohesion, migration, local identity and European cultural identity. 

The focus for LIBERTY will be on young artists and young people’s perceptions of the future of Europe. Young people will be involved at all levels of the project, from creative development to delivery to artist development and audience engagement, and the project will enable young artists, curators and audiences from different countries to meet, collaborate and share inspiration. 

Each programme of work will bring together a range of artists drawn from the European wide Portfolio, across theatre, music, visual arts and spoken word. Performance will take place both in site-specific street locations and inside cultural or non-traditional spaces.

LIBERTY will be an exploration, through art, of the future for European collaboration and joined-up working, and of the meaning of democracy and freedom in the 21st century. There is a particular focus on the views and ideas of young artists and young audiences with 750 young artists targeted as commissioning beneficiaries.

In the UK, additional work will be commissioned to become new ingredients in ArtReach’s Journeys Festival International and Night of Festivals events, with many international artists from each of the partner countries participating in the UK. ArtReach’s own commissioning will result in UK work going to each of the 9 other partner countries. 

LIBERTY will run from September 2019 until December 2022 across ten European countries, culminating in a major pan-European LIBERTY festival running from May to October 2022. The LIBERTY festival will feature a focussed programme of events in Leicester with all 12 partners delivering programming, much of which will be streamed and digitally shared.

David Hill, Founding Director and Chairman of ArtReach said: “The team at ArtReach is delighted that our successful track record of artistic leadership in European collaboration will be enhanced with this major award. It is brilliant for the work in our base city, Leicester, supported by Leicester City Council, but also for development of our Journeys Festival International events in Manchester and Portsmouth. However, this exciting news is dependent on there NOT being a No-Deal BREXIT. In that event our carefully laid plans and substantial preparation for LIBERTY, as Lead Partner, not to mention our partners’ work, would be wasted as our contract with Creative Europe would cease. So, please UK Govt DO NOT dally with a No-Deal BREXIT!!”

Christoph Jankowski, Head of Culture of Creative Europe Desk UK – England and Culture Advisor, UK said:  “We are delighted that UK agency ArtReach were again selected to lead a Europe-wide Cooperation Project, continuing their exceptional work to forge creative engagement across European communities. As lead partner on LIBERTY, ArtReach are set to engage young artists on the development and creation of pioneering works that explore European cultural identity, enhancing cross-border relations at a pivotal time.

The UK remains one of the most partnered countries in the programme and the fact that there was no downturn in UK involvement despite Brexit uncertainties shows the desirability to UK organization lead and partner in European collaborative projects, and shows the impacts of Creative Europe as a strong multilateral programme delivering on way more than just funding.”

Peter Knott, Area Director at Arts Council England, said: “Congratulations to ArtReach as they embark on this Europe-wide project. Investing in opportunities for young people is a key part of what the Arts Council does to nurture the next generation of creative talent, and LIBERTY is a really exciting project, giving hundreds of young people and emerging artists a voice and the chance to create work and forge partnerships on a truly international scale.”

Constantin CHIRIAC, General Manager – Teatrul National “Radu Stanca” Sibiu, President – Sibiu International Theater Festival said: “On behalf of the Teatrul National “Radu Stanca” Sibiu and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, I would like to express our joy for the collaboration in a new European project, along with our friends in Great Britain. Such collaborations show that the demarches of the European artists and cultural leaders exceed the capacity of the politicians to find solutions for the current issues of the European countries.  LIBERTY is a project about local and European cultural identity, about dialogue and about the possibility of showing the miracle and the beauty to all European and non-European citizens, without any discrimination. Moreover, LIBERTY aims to integrate the countries from the Western Balkans, giving them the possibility to cooperate with Great Britain – cradle of culture and civilization – which currently faces the great challenge called Brexit. We, the artists, are glad to bring, in our communities, the wonder of our art, our work and our vision, that lead to new dialogue possibilities among those who create beauty and those who enjoy beauty.  Congratulations to the ArtReach team that submitted this project, and we wholeheartedly hope that this new step would generate many beneficial meetings between the artists and the audience. “

Gyuri Szabo, Managing Director, TrafÓ, House of Contemporary Arts, Budapest said: “This important collaboration, led by ArtReach, helps to articulate and strengthen individual human responses to these challenges.”

Patrizia Tomasich, President of Explora, said: “We are really looking forward to beginning what will be our third project with ArtReach. After covering important topics including refugee integration, freedom and democracy, we are now going to extend our work to include children, schools, families and the whole community – the importance and meaning of “LIBERTY” is a fundamental right not only for today but also for the future of Europe. As a children’s museum, we strongly believe in the importance of “liberty” as a fundamental human value, which needs to be re-affirmed at European level. Art and culture can do a lot in launching a positive message, challenging the whole society and mixing visual with contemporary digital elements.”

LIBERTY is the fourth and largest ArtReach project to be funded by Creative Europe, an EU funding programme designed to support Europe’s cultural and creative sectors. 

Previous projects have included Journeys (2016/17), a multi-art form programme celebrating and showcasing the talents of refugee and asylum seeker artists and VOICES (2018). Both works explored issues such as the nature and meaning of freedom and independence in 21st century Europe, the integration of refugees and migrants and identity and sense of place in an era of mass movement of people.

The full list of partners involved in LIBERTY are:  ArtReach (UK), Altonale GmbH (Germany), Museo dei Bambini (Italy), CESIE (Italy), Teatrul National Radu Stanca Sibiu (Romania), Aalborg Karneval (Denmark), CENTAR ZA PROMOCIJU ZDAVNH STILOVA ZIVOTA UDRUZENE (Center E8, for promoting lifestyles) (Serbia), CNC Danse (Nathalie Cornille Company) (France), Pioinirski dom – Center za kulturo mladiih (Slovenia), Den Selvejende Institution Swinging Europe (Denmark), Trafo House of Contemporary Arts (Hungary), European Educational Exchanges – Youth for Understanding (Belgium).