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Alternative Tours. Credit: Mike Cameron
License to Walk. Credit: Mike Cameron
Model Cambridge. Credit: Mike Cameron

Circuit: Unlock Cambridge Festival

Lucy Wheeler

On 10 October over 1000 people experienced Circuit: Unlock Cambridge – a festival created and delivered by Circuit Cambridge – the young peoples group across Kettle’s Yard and Wysing Arts Centre. This was the culmination of over 6 months of hard work by Circuit, who led on the direction and design of the festival – including the concept, curation and delivery of the festival as well as steering the branding, look and feel of the day.

The group worked in collaboration with Rasmus Nielsen from the Danish artists’ group Superflex to firstly come up with a concept for the festival. Given that this was a festival based in Cambridge city centre, the group agreed that their festival would be about unlocking the city for young people through art and creativity. This involved physically opening up access to certain buildings and spaces not normally open to the public, as well as devising workshops based on young people’s experiences of living in Cambridge. As a group, we chose the venues and then devised a range of bespoke games, pop-up events and performances that ran throughout the day and into the evening. Each aspect of the festival required intensive planning and development, so the group split into smaller teams and were paired with artists who worked to support each aspect come to fruition. The success of the festival did really rely on the huge amount of hard work and time put towards the planning by the group – from designing the workshops, helping with risk assessments to painting signs and props ready for the big day.

Saturday 10th October was fresh and crisp and the weather held all day – even with moments of sunshine. People took part in a range of creative activities, inviting them to see Cambridge afresh. Highlights of the day included License to Walk – a performance workshop teaching walking styles to help navigate the populated streets of Cambridge and Alternative Tours – where less than trustworthy tour guides treated groups to fictional facts, musical walks and a delicious tea party on a canal boat. The day ended with an art party held at Great St Mary’s Church with projections, poetry, dance, music from local acts, as well as an exclusive rooftop view of Cambridge. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants who took part in the day – you can see images and comments on our Storify.

‘Ok, so after a day of #unlockcambridge, I’m now convinced that Cambridge can be alternative. Thanks’
Sufea  Mohamad Noor via Twitter

We would like to thank all of Circuit Cambridge who created such an amazing event, all staff at Wysing Arts Centre and Kettle’s Yard and the many organisations and individuals who helped to make our festival such a success. If you are aged 15-25 and interested in joining Circuit, please email or call 01954 718881 to find out more.