Sweeping its way across Britain in 2022 is UNBOXED, where creativity meets the unexpected. From now until October, you can experience ten extraordinary events in urban spaces, coastal regions and areas of natural beauty, all exploring the fascinating crossover between technology, science and the arts.
Absolutely free, these innovative experiences cover the length and breadth of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. You can expect to see the transformation of a decommissioned oil rig off the Somerset coast into an immersive world, or see Birmingham flower with the installation of a pop-up forest. There’s a series of festivals, satellite events and night-time shows full of creativity planned, with more details constantly being released. Here’s some of the events to look out for.
The UK’s four capital cities will play host to Dreamachine, an exploration of light, sound and colour infused with imagination. You can explore the potential of your own extraordinary mind while being led through a transcendental kaleidoscopic experience. Expect a world of hallucinogenic potential through trance music and flickering colourful lights. It’s being created by Collective Act, in collaboration with Turner Prize-winning artists Assemble and Grammy nominated composer Jon Hopkins.
When and where? Dreamachine lands in Woolwich Public Market, London (10 May – 24 July), Temple of Peace, Cardiff (12 May – 18 June), Carlisle Memorial Church, Belfast (25 July – 4 September) and Murrayfield Ice Rink, Edinburgh (13 August – 25 September). It is suitable for adults over the age of 18.
Travel back through 13.8billion years of life during an extraordinary open-air show of live animation, music and poetry to celebrate connections with the cosmos, planets, stars and the universe.
During the day, you can listen to stories produced by people living in the host locations of About Us. Once the sun sets, the sites will transform into a cosmic display, taking the you from the depths of the Big Bang to the modern world through light displays and choral accompaniments. See surrounding landmarks come alive as this voyage through time is projected directly on them.
When and where? About Us continues in Luton, England (14 - 20 April) and Hull, England (30 April - 6 May).
Venture into a magical city-centre forest in Edinburgh and Birmingham with PoliNations – a free immersive oasis that shines a light on multiculturalism. Here you will discover the origins of the UK’s flora and plants. In Edinburgh, you can enjoy Mother Tree. See artists perform under the canopy of a 40-foot tree, creating an enchanted space engulfed in plants and flowers. In Birmingham, see the city come alive with blooming flora through free forest tours, creative workshops, light displays and more.
When and where: PoliNations blooms in George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland (6-14 August) and Victoria Square, Birmingham, England (2-18 September).
From the reaches of the North Sea to the shores of the Somerset coastline, See Monster will arrive in Weston-Super-Mare this summer – a 30-minute train journey from Bristol. A decommissioned off-shore oil rig will be re-envisioned as a sustainable art installation, with See Monster championing a greener, more sustainable future. Expect an immersive insight into the inner workings of the beast – from the reaches of its wind turbines to solar trees, while navigating past a 12-metre thrashing wall of water and exploring hidden routes in its wild garden.
When and where: The Tropicana, Wester-super-Mare, England (August).
Tales of Britain’s towns and cities are set to come alive with Story Trails. You can delve into an immersive world that brings untold stories to life as part of a project involving augmented and virtual reality. From tales of Welsh history, to south Yorkshire’s mining past or Britain’s aviation heritage, stories from people across the UK will be brought alive with technology.
When and where: Omagh, Northern Ireland (1-2 July); Dundee, Scotland (7-8 July); Dumfries, Scotland (12-13 July); Blackpool, England (16-17 July); Bradford, England (22-23 July); Sheffield, England (27-28 July); Lincoln, England (30-31 July); Wolverhampton, England (6-7 August); Swansea, Wales (10-11 August); Newport, Wales (13-14 August); Bristol, England (20-21 August); Swindon, England (27-28 August), Slough, England (3-4 September); London Borough of Lambeth, England (10-11 September) and London Borough of Lewisham (17-18 September).
You can explore more of the UNBOXED festival which is taking place across the UK and on online. Some of the other events include:
Dandelion: Based in Scotland, Unexpected Gardens will run from 28 April – 11 September, with a finale, September Harvest taking place from 9 – 11 September.
Green Space Dark Skies: Taking place across multiple National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from 23 April – 30 September.
Our Place in Space: Visits four sites from April through to October, including:
River Foyle, Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland (22 April – 22 May)
Divis and the Black Mountain, Belfast, Northern Ireland (11 June – 10 July)
River Cam, Cambridge, England (30 July – 28 August)
Ulster Transport Museum, North Down, Northern Ireland (17 September – 16 October)
Tour de Moon: Visits Leicester, Newcastle and Southampton, as well as other cities across England, from 11 May – 21 June.
Galwad: Taking place across Wales in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merthyr Tydfil, and Swansea, from September – October.