The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with an update on the final stage of the Our Place in Space project, as part of the UNBOXED festival of creativity.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
i note the contents of this report and the successful delivery of the Our Place in Space project; and
ii approve the variations to the original commissioning agreement as set out at in paragraph 3.13.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 Festival 2022 is an initiative funded by the UK Government, in partnership with relevant departments in the devolved governments. The focus of Festival 2022 is a celebration of creativity and innovation in STEAM, with a global outlook. The project recognises the role of the arts and creative sectors in:
- Bringing people together and fostering civic pride
- Helping to attract inward investment
3.2 The Programme has brought together creative teams of scientists, artists, engineers and technologists to create ten large-scale extraordinary, public engagement projects.
3.3 Of these ten commissions, six have been driven by collaborations from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and contracted by Festival UK 2022 Ltd; the special purpose vehicle established to curate, manage and promote the Festival. However, the remaining four commissions were delivered by Strategic Delivery Bodies and led by creatives from each of the four areas.
3.4 Following a meeting of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee in October 2020 it was agreed that the Council would act as the Strategic Delivery Body for Northern Ireland, alongside equivalent organisations in England, Scotland and Wales.
3.5 In this role the Council agreed to:
- Receive a proportion of the Festival funding via Department for Communities, awarded by the UK Government through Barnett consequentials;
- Commission and contract a creative team of local practitioners to work internationally to produce a single large-scale project;
- Support that creative team with producing the commission to the brief of open, original and optimistic;
- Coordinate communications activity;
- Work with the other Strategic Delivery Bodies and Festival UK 2022 Ltd to coordinate the Festival’s overall programme, creating balance across the ten commissions; and
- Actively participate to ensure all commissions showcase creativity and innovation and have a clear global dimension.
3.6 The Council delivered on the above activities, including administering funding from the Department for Communities and acting as co-commissioner of the Our Place in Space project that was selected following a competitive commissioning process.
3.8 Centred around an epic scale model of the solar system designed by the artist Oliver Jeffers with scientist Professor Stephen Smartt and a creative team led by Nerve Centre, Our Place in Space is a 10km sculpture trail of the solar system, interactive AR app and learning and events programme.
3.8 In 2022, the 10km Our Place in Space sculpture trail landed on the banks of the River Foyle in Derry~Londonderry (22 April - 22 May) before moving to Divis and the Black Mountain in Belfast (11 June - 10 July). It then travelled to Cambridge (30 July - 28 August) followed by Liverpool (14 October – 6 November).
3.9 The trail will return to Northern Ireland at the Ulster Transport Museum and North Down Coastal Path on 24 February – 26 March 2023.
3.10 A final evaluation is currently being completed however to date the Our Place in Space project has delivered the following benefits:
- Reaching over 1 million people through the sculpture trail in 4 cities;
- Engagement with 28,000 young people and 2,200 teachers through the creative learning programme, including production of 5 learning resources;
- Attendance of 150,000 people at associated events;
- App downloaded in 150 countries; and
- Creation of unique Minecraft world
3.11 Due to the addition of a fifth site for the Our Place in Space project, Liverpool, the original timeline has been extended with the final installation of the Our Place in Space trail now taking place in the Ulster Transport Museum in February 2023.
3.12 The UK based special purpose vehicle set up to deliver the festival that Our Place in Space was part of is due to dissolve in February 2023. In advance of this there are a number of proposed variations to the original commissioning agreement of which the Council is a signatory and, therefore, these require an updated approval by the Committee.
3.13 These variations are:
- An additional £500,000 of funding from Festival UK 2022 Ltd to the Nerve Centre to deliver the extended scope of the project including the additional locations. There is no additional contribution from the Council or the Department for Communities; and
- To note the closure of Festival UK 22/UNBOXED as an entity, and the ongoing/extension of the relationship between BCC and Nerve Centre to continue until June 2023 to allow for the completion of the delivery of the original agreement, the Ulster Transport Museum installation as the final location that was delayed due to the delivery of an extended programme.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.14 There are financial implications to this report.
Equality or Good Relations Implications /
Rural Needs Assessment
The Committee adopted the recommendations.