AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2016

ahrcTaking inspiration from the 500th anniversary of the publication in 1516 in Latin of Thomas More’s Utopia, as well as a Connected Communities/ Care for the Future Symposium on ‘Utopias, Futures and Temporalities: Critical Considerations for Social Change’ held in May 2015, the 2016 Connected Communities Research Festival will have a central theme of Community Futures and Utopias. The Festival is being undertaken in partnership with The Somerset House Trust as a part of Utopia 2016: a year of Imagination and Possibility – four seasons of events, exhibitions and new commissions celebrating the idea of Utopia to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s influential text. Utopia 2016 is a partnership between the Somerset House Trust and its neighbours King’s College London and the Courtauld Institute and Gallery.

The 2016 Festival will support high quality participatory arts research and research co-production activities across the UK on the theme of community futures and utopias and will provide an opportunity to explore creative ways to build upon, and widen and deepen community engagement with, research being undertaken by the Connected Communities Programme and with wider AHRC/RCUK–funded research.

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are now invited to contribute to the Festival which will run from February 2016 through to June 2016, culminating in a major weekend-long Utopia Fair at Somerset House on 24th-26th June. This call for EOIs will support participatory arts research and research co-production activities through two main strands of the 2016 Festival:

  1. A Programme of Local Festival Activitieswhich bring together at a regional / local /community level researchers from the arts and humanities (and other disciplines where appropriate), research organisations, community groups, creative practitioners and other community partners. These local activities can take place at any time from February 2016 to late June 2016 and will be brought together as a UK-wide Festival programme of local activities
  2. Participation in the Utopia Fair, 24th-26th Junethrough the partnership with The Somerset House Trust as a part of Utopia 2016: a year of imagination and possibility. Building on local Festival activities EOIs are invited to include ideas for participatory arts research co-production projects which will produce creative, co-produced/ participatory, research outputs which can be showcased at a weekend Festival, The Utopia Fair, to be held in the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House in London which will take place on 24th – 26th June 2016. The Utopia Fair will bring together representatives of contemporary utopian movements, celebrating projects already flourishing in the margins and liminal spaces around the UK, and the importance of the spaces that artists create for dreaming. It will enable visitors to join in and taste utopia now, inspiring them to take a piece of utopia home with them and into their lives. 25 stands are available at the Utopia Fair to showcase creative community –co-produced outcomes from local Connected Communities Festival activities. As well as the stands, there are also opportunities to showcase other outputs, such as film screenings or performances, at the Utopia Fair

Proposals which additionally or alternatively propose to showcase creative co-produced outputs locally or at other relevant events regionally or nationally in 2016 will also be welcomed.

Closing Dates

Closing Date: 16/12/2016

How to make an application

Applications should be submitted through smartsurvey using the following link http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/AHRCConnectedCommunitiesFestival2016/ at the latest by 12 noon on Wednesday 16th December 2015, and will need to go through the BU institution submission process.  Please contact your RKEO Funding Development Officer if you are interested in applying.

Full guidance detailing the awards available and requirements for submission of proposals can be found in the EOI call document.

Further Information

Further information on The Somerset House Trust Utopia 2016 season Utopia 2016: a Year of Imagination and Possibility can be found at utopia.somersethouse.org.uk or from the press release at www.somersethouse.org.uk/press-releases


Please contact connectedcommunities@ahrc.ac.uk with any questions.