UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK Launches Today in Scotland

The UK’s most ambitious celebration of creativity opens with About Us - a thrilling ride through 13.8 billion years of history

  • UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK kicks off today in Paisley, Scotland, as part of a series of events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and Coventry’s year as the UK City of Culture that will bring the country together this year

  • About Us is the first of ten major multi-site and digital creative projects commissioned as part of UNBOXED, an entirely free UK-wide programme that runs until October

  • Paisley Abbey is being turned into a giant artwork combining science, art and technology for a spectacular live experience

About Us is the first of ten groundbreaking creative projects commissioned as part of UNBOXED, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity. Audiences will experience an awe-inspiring multimedia event that uses cutting-edge projection mapping, animation, music, poetry and live performance to celebrate our place in the universe and the connections between us.

The show has been created by 59 Productions, the award-winning video artists behind the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony; Stemettes, the social enterprise supporting young women and non-binary people into STEM careers; and The Poetry Society. It also boasts award-winning composer and musician Nitin Sawhney CBE who has composed the original score, which will be performed as part of the live shows by local choirs in each location. In Paisley, the show features the Paisley Philharmonic Choir, The City of Glasgow Chorus and Strathclyde University Chamber Choir.

Explore what’s on offer at UNBOXED and About Us

Lord Parkinson, Minister for Arts said:

I’m delighted this fantastic series of events is kicking off today in the historic town of Paisley. This opening performance will take people through an awe-inspiring trip through world history.
UNBOXED is about bringing people from across the UK together, and forms part of a fantastic year of creativity, renewal and excitement alongside Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

What’s on in Paisley

Evening shows in Paisley will last 25 minutes and run several times each night. They include children and young people’s winning entries from the About Us nationwide poetry and Scratch animation competition, on the theme of ‘connectivity and the universe’.

In addition, from 10am to 5pm each day, pop-up multimedia installations will showcase the boundless creativity of local children and young people, with poems and Scratch animations created in school workshops.

Ten UK-Wide Projects

About Us is being presented in five cities, with night-time projections onto landmark buildings in Paisley before it moves on to Derry-Londonderry (15-21 March), Caernarfon (30 March-5 April), Luton (14-20 April) and Hull (30 April – 6 May), with local participation at each location.

The ten projects bring together science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) with hundreds of free events and activities taking place throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online. UNBOXED can be experienced across 80 live sites across the country, as well as digital and broadcast engagement so get involved wherever you are.

Together, they say something about who we are, reflecting on our past, our present, and ideas for our shared futures, covering a range of subjects, from growing and sustainability, to identity and community.

In a major year for the UK, and as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, UNBOXED is putting creativity front and centre through collaboration across STEAM sectors, forging skills and development opportunities for young creatives. It has provided hundreds of people with employment to develop the ten projects.

There are lots of ways for the public to get involved and to help co-create the commissions. Millions of young people across the UK will benefit from a unique and ambitious learning programme that puts creativity at the heart of experience-based teaching. The UNBOXED Learning Programme aims to inspire young people aged 4 to 19 through a mix of learning opportunities drawn from ten major creative projects that have been developed through STEAM.

UNBOXED is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.

The UNBOXED projects open throughout the year with activity taking place across the UK until October 2022. The other nine commissions are:

  • Dandelion, commissioned by EventScotland, a Scotland-wide project inspired by the global ‘grow-your-own’ movement, featuring Unexpected Gardens, vertical farms, free music festivals and plant giveaways that reimagines harvest for the 21st century

  • Dreamachine, presented in the UK’s capital cities, an artwork experienced with your eyes closed that unlocks the power of the human mind

  • GALWAD: A Story from our Future, a transmedia experience that sees Wales propelled thirty years into the future, commissioned by CreativeWales;

  • Green Space Dark Skies, with 20,000 ‘Lumenators’ creating outdoor artworks in 20 of the UK’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • Our Place in Space, a 10km sculpture trail scale model of the solar system designed by artist Oliver Jeffers including an interactive augmented reality app, commissioned by Belfast City Council

  • PoliNations will see giant fabricated trees and thousands of plants take over the centre of Birmingham, creating a colourful canopy for a festival of live performance including spoken word, music and drag

  • https://unboxed2022.uk/see-monsterSEE MONSTER, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform in Weston-super-Mare transformed into one of the UK’s largest public artworks

  • StoryTrails, which uses new developments in 3D internet technology and augmented and virtual reality to reveal the hidden and forgotten histories across 15 UK towns and cities and

  • Tour de Moon, a festival of nightlife and countercultures inspired by and created in collaboration with the Moon is travelling in convoy around England.

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