Skip to main content

Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip

First published:
1 March 2022
Last updated:

I am pleased to provide an update about UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK and set out how the programme of events will take place in Wales during 2022.

The programme will see 10 commissions delivered across the UK - there will be four national commissions and a further six events across the UK.

The overall ambition is to leave a lasting legacy and deliver a programme of activity working with the arts, culture, design, heritage and technology sectors, in collaboration with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).

The overarching activity is being coordinated by a small team embedded in the Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, led by Martin Green CBE as chief creative officer of UNBOXED. This team will work with strategic delivery partners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to oversee the delivery of UNBOXED. This work is overseen by a board which includes a representative from each nation. Creative Wales is leading the development of the Wales activity and Roger Lewis has been chosen to represent Wales on the UK board. 

Wales will play host to its lead commission project entitled GALWAD: A Story from our Future, which is inspired by the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and by global expertise in the climatic, technological and social conditions of the next 30 years. Communities across Wales imagine life in 2052 to create the story-world of GALWAD.

This process of “world-building” – fictional, but plausible worlds are imagined for film or gaming – is led by Alex McDowell, production designer on the film Minority Report and from the Experimental Design studio. Some 120 people from across Wales online and on location in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Machynlleth, Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea have been involved.

The “world-builders” have been supported by a network of community partners, including Citizens Cymru, Disability Arts Cymru, CellB, Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust, the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST), hosted by the Centre for Alternative Technology, Frân Wen theatre company and Experimental Design.

The story world of 2052 will form the basis of GALWAD – a new kind of multi-platform, multi-lingual story, which will be brought to life by a unique collaboration between these Welsh communities, exceptional creative talent in production design, creative technology, live performance, sound design, radio and TV drama and globally recognised research in the conditions we might face in 30 years’ time.

The UK-wide UNBOXED programme is supported by £120m of funding, which has resulted in around £6.8m for Wales over four financial years between 2019-20 and 2022-23.

I am pleased with how the project has been progressing and look forward to seeing the final commission towards the end of September/early October.

It is also great to see how many people have been employed through the project, giving much-needed opportunities in the sector. This includes the development of the GALWAD Young Company – a network of young voices across Wales who will help shape and communicate the project while receiving support and training. The Young Company will be formed of 12 people aged 18 to 25 who will each receive a tailor-made training plan, which they will co-design, a set of personal mentors and a placement on the GALWAD project supported by a paid bursary of £6,000.

GALWAD will be the last of the commissions and will be the finale of the overall UNBOXED programme. Leading up to GALWAD there will be four other commissions taking place in Wales throughout 2022, these are:

About Us: About Us uses cutting-edge projection mapping, animation, music, poetry and live performance to celebrate extraordinary connections to everything around us: past, present and future. Created by 59 Productions, Stemettes and The Poetry Society in collaboration with poets and scientists across the UK, this free show will be projected at night onto landmarks in Caernarfon, Derry-Londonderry, Hull, Luton and Paisley.

The Caernarfon dates are 30 March to 5 April

Dreamachine: Created by Collective Act in collaboration with Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble, Grammy-nominated musician Jon Hopkins and a team of pioneering scientists and technologists, Dreamachine is inspired by an extraordinary but little-known 1959 invention by artist–inventor Brion Gysin. The 21st century Dreamachine will lead audiences through an immersive environment of light and sound – as rich and dazzling as any digital simulation, but created by and unique to you. 

The kaleidoscopic world revealed by the Dreamachine will come from within, providing a magical insight into the extraordinary potential of our own minds. 

Cardiff expected dates: Mid May to mid June.

Green Space, Dark Skies: Green Space Dark Skies is a journey deep into our natural landscapes: a series of gatherings celebrating our countryside, our right to explore it, and our responsibility to take care of it for future generations. Using low impact lights, local volunteer ‘Luminators’ will help create a series of once-in-a-lifetime events outdoors as dusk falls, creating extraordinary outdoor artworks. These powerful moments will be captured on camera before a UK-wide finale, which will be broadcast to millions.

Gower date: 13 May

Brecon Beacons date: 5 July

Anglesey date (subject to change): 17 August

Snowdonia National Park finale date: 27 September

StoryTrails: Using a mix of augmented and virtual reality experiences which remix the BFI and BBC archives, audiences will experience history where it happened, bringing the physical and digital worlds together. These moments will retell the story of each place and its people via immersive technologies that bring together our national media archives, exciting new 3D ‘selfies’ of people and places to create the world’s first ‘spatial archive’.

Swansea dates: 10-11 August

Newport dates: 13-14 August

UNBOXED will soon begin its launch campaign in the run up to the first event to be held in Paisley on 1 March.

I would encourage members to experience the activities in their constituencies and across Wales.