We are delighted to announce that the Future Works strand of the Stories of Change project has been awarded further funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to take part in the AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2016. This will enable us to hold an energy hack event Utopia Works with our project partners The Silk Mill, Derby Museums in May and also bring all the Stories of Change Festival activities together to the Utopia Fair at Somerset House in London in June.
Our proposal for Utopia Works was inspired by the original Utopia.
‘In Utopia they have a six-hour working day – three hours in the morning, then lunch – then a two-hour break – then three more hours in the afternoon, followed by supper. They go to bed at 8p.m., and sleep for eight hours. All the rest of the twenty-four they’re free to do what they like – not to waste time in idleness or self- indulgence, but to make good use of it in some congenial activity.’
(Thomas More, Utopia, 1516)
On 20 May 2016 we will create a Utopia Works – a factory , ‘works’, of utopian thinking and making – at the site of the world’s first factory, the Silk Mill in Derby. The AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2016 takes place during the quincentenary year of Thomas More’s Utopia.
The Utopia Works event will comprise an Energy Hack; ‘Utopia Press’, a pamphleteering workshop; ‘Utopia Walks’, a tour of the Silk Mill archive of energy and making; and ‘Utopia Talks’ a programme of discussions on how utopia works: re-imagining the future of energy in work, rest and play.
Utopia Works’ ‘congenial activities’ will be re-created for the Utopias Fair at Somerset House, London (24-26 June 2016). We view the Somerset House programme of arts, public debate and discussion and its current role in hosting creative organisations, as a kind of ‘works’.
Utopia Works is part of the Future Works strand of the Stories of Change project that is aiming to uncover stories of energy, making and industry in the English Midlands. We intend the Utopia Works event to create a space to explore the ways in which creative and participatory processes can help provoke thinking about new and alternative energy futures.
The Future Works team (Renata Tyszczuk, Julia Udall, Nicola Whyte and Joe Smith) will be working on this project with the team at the Silk Mill, Derby Museums (Tony Butler, Andrea Mercer, Daniel Martin, Hannah Fox), our creative partners, Bullet Creative (Kathy Barber and Gorm Ashurst), photographer Tim Mitchell and Story Fellow Andrew Simms of The New Weather Institute. There will also be filmmakers, printmakers, museum curators, architects, hackers and makers involved in the project. Look out for further updates as we get ready to set up the shop floor of Utopia Works and go to the Fair.
Image: Thomas More, Utopia, 1516.