The Brick Box was part of the Urban Heat programme which started in autumn 2015 and finished in Spring 2018. Urban Heat was developed by the Festivals in Transition (FIT) network of 13 international festival partners. Supported by Creative Europe and led by the London International Festival of Theatre, it enabled us, as artists, to engage with the invisible communities and lesser known stories of our cities.
The four year project supported emerging and mid-career artists (working in performance, theatre, dance, interdisciplinary practice, live art and installation based practice) to develop new forms of participatory arts practice and create work that addresses urgent political and social issues facing our cities, by working with audiences and those communities who are affected. For The Brick Box, the Urban Heat programme led to Hope Springs Eternal – a new commission from the Baltic Circle Festival in Finland.
Through a series of academies and Urban Labs in Cairo, Lisbon, London and Maribor, the Urban Heat project brought together selected artists, academics, faith leaders, political scientists and technologists, in an attempt to explore the following questions:
- How can artists learn from activism, politically and socially engaged artistic strategies and other models of organisation and engagement?
- How can artists reflect and discuss their own role in actual political and social processes?
- How can artists effectively utilise technology and social media to reach audiences and build communities?
- What are the new and developing forms of participatory art and community engagement?
A huge thank you to everyone involved in Urban Heat for such an exceptional experience. It allowed us to grow, learn, make friends, be challenged and create art work at home and internationally.