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2016 Just Festival Report

published by Beata Skobodzinska

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2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
#FromTheEdge
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
In 2016 Just Festival’s events and exhibitions were curated under the theme ‘From the Edge’. With this theme, we wanted to challenge our audiences to engage with the experiences and ideas of those people who are commonly perceived to sit at the edge of our communities and societies; whether it’s those who find themselves socially or politically marginalised, or perhaps the boundary-pushers who sit at the very edge of their disciplines, challenging the way we think about science, society, faith and the arts. We wanted to unsettle, challenge and inspire our audiences in 2016 by offering a platform to people and/or ideas which sit outside the mainstream, encouraging alternative approaches to contemporary local, national and global questions. Just Festival offered safe spaces for dialogue and creative exchange between invited experts, practitioners, community-based organisations, socially conscious performing arts groups and the general public. We worked with individuals, groups and organisations that challenge perceptions, and promote diversity.
'From The Edge' Theme
In 2016 Just Festival hosted 55 events, including 10 conversations, 11 talks and 34 performances, alongside 3 exhibitions. 2231 audience members were admitted to Just Festival's paid and free entry events hosted at St John's Church and the Quaker Meeting House, between 5th and 28th August. 38 out of 55 events were evaluated. The 38 evaluated events were attended by 1686 audience members, 24% (405 individuals) returned the evaluation sheets. The data presented below is representative of the 24% of returned evaluation sheets.
Attendance & Feedback
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Our conversation and talk programme focused on local, national and national matters including gender-based violence, sex education, freedom of speech, land reform in Scotland, age and isolation, penal systems, climate change and nomadic lifestyle in 21st century. We were delighted to host Sara Maitland, Peter Tatchell, Prof Alan Kellehear, Dr Dina Sidhva, Dr Sally Paul, Liz Lochhead, Prof Jo Shaw, Revd. Kathy Galloway, David Pratt, Avril Hepner, Bruce Robertson, Graeme Dey MSP and many other panellists at our events. The issues addressed by our performance programme ranged from fatherhood, death/dying, refugees, disability and forced marriage, to body image and the European crisis. In 2016 we collaborated with: Fathers Network Scotland - 'Being a Dad'; Active Inquiry - 'Hotel Europa'/Fair-Ground'; Death on the Fringe - 'What happens to dead people's bodies?', 'Mystical Experiences at the end of life', 'Death Pantomime';  BE United - 'Discovery!', 'Razor's Edge: FGM'; Drake Music Scotland - 'Equilibrium'; HarmonyChoir/ UoE - 'Do you mind?'; Christian Stejskal/UoE- 'My Neighborhood'; Solus Productions - 'Til Death Do Us Part'; MIRO - 'Time for Change'; Al-Rowwad - 'Beautiful Resistance'; Taiko Drummers - 'Taiko Drumfest'; Carpe Diem - 'The Furnace'; Twisted Tales - 'Identity'; Truth Be Told Events - 'Peace'; Matilda Brown/Nick Rawle - '...though it be darkness there' Ava Hunt Theatre - 'Acting Alone'. We worked with The Church of Scotland and The Network of Photographers for Palestine and Mercy Corps to highlight and increase awareness of the global refugee crisis, refugees and asylum seekers affected by HIV living in Scotland, as well as the realities of people living under a blockade in Gaza.
Programme Offer
Events Impact
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Just Volunteering Programme
Outreach Activities
Our Volunteering Programme aimed to provide skills in events coordination, stage management and promotions.  It gave opportunities to local and international volunteers of different ages and backgrounds to develop their hard and soft skills as well as to increase their awareness of social justice matters. 19 volunteers were involved in this year's programme. They gained experience in front of house/ box office and stage management; liaison with performers and audiences; creating social media content; drafting press releases/previews/reviews and interviews published on Just Festival and TV Bomb websites, and collating events feedback.
Quoting the 2016 Just Volunteers: - 'The shows I've sat in on have opened my eyes and educated me on a lot of issues.' - 'It exceeded my expectations and the amount of practical experience gained was amazing.' - 'I have always felt a need and want to engage with social justice issues. It's reassuring to know others do too'. - 'I have developed more awareness and therefore I feel more empathy and understanding.' -'Problem-solving and staying calm - good progress in professional confidence.' Data presented below is based on the answers provided by the 74% of the Volunteering Programme beneficiaries (14 out of 19 volunteers).
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Staged for Life
Outreach Activities
Established in 2015, Staged for Life is an employability project that provides free, accredited training courses for young unemployed people to learn skills in how to operate sound and lighting equipment for live events. This initiative not only provides the young people involved with relevant skills and work experience in the rapidly growing industry of live events, but also facilitates personal development through exposure to art, culture, social dialogue and team-work. 2016 Project Edition Young Start, Ernst Cook Trust and Dr Guthrie’s Association awarded the project with funding which enabled a planned expansion to over 20 participants on the 2016 Staged for Life training course. A total of 165 applications were received, and 22 young people were short-listed, based on the candidates’ work ethic and enthusiasm to learn new skills. Throughout the two weeks participants took part in practical workshops covering a variety of key topics including health and safety; installing, setting up and operating sound and lighting for a range of event types; equipment maintenance; stage management and communicating with performers, event organisers and team members.   Staged for Life is very grateful to Jobcentre Plus, Young Scot, the Edinburgh Guarantee, Black Light, Youth Link Scotland, the Edinburgh College, Black Dingo Productions, Gilded Balloon, the Assembly Roxy, the Pleasance, Paradise Green and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, who all supported the project delivery.
Project Successes and Outcomes 17 out of the 22 participants successfully completed the training course and received certificates from Edinburgh College, creating a 77% pass rate. 14 of this group then transitioned into work placements organised at 4 Festival venues. Having the training course accredited has allowed a clearer pathway into full-time education for participants. Indeed, 3 young people have transitioned onto an HNC Technical Theatre course at Edinburgh College directly due to their involvement with Staged for Life in 2016. In addition, all 14 individuals who undertook supported work placements now have experience that will be recognised across a range of industries, especially within the events sector. All 14 individuals who benefitted from work placement opportunities agreed that the training facilities were adequate for the 2-week course; they utilised skills learnt from the course; they found the work placement beneficial; they received adequate support throughout the process; and they felt more confident in finding employment by having taken part in this process. The 4 host venues provided glowing feedback on the participants, and of the experience as a whole. Quoting one of the project participants: “Being unemployed for so long I retreated from society. This has got me back into things - reintegrating. I feel like myself again. There have been so many positive things….it’s been a very, very good idea to get involved.”
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Just For All Ticketing Scheme
Through this scheme, we offered a range of inspiring and challenging events free of charge to marginalised individuals and groups. The project was co-funded by the Craignish Trust and the Hugh Fraser Foundation. It engaged 177 individuals, positively affecting their sense of belonging and well-being through greater access to social events. We worked with Pilmeny Development Project; Hadee; Positive Prison; Plan2Change; MYDG; Valley Park; Young Scot; The Welcoming and Penumbra to reach out to individuals and groups who could benefit from the scheme’s offer. Our performance, conversation and talk events offered an intergenerational approach, actively seeking participants of all ages, genders and backgrounds to provide stimulating and thought -provoking ideas and opinions.
Audience Demographics
The majority of 2016 Just Festival audiences were Edinburgh residents from across the city, including EH1, EH2, EH3, EH4, EH5, EH6, EH7, EH8, EH9, EH11 and EH12. We also welcomed audiences from elsewhere in the UK as well as from USA, Germany, Canada, France, Spain, Australia, Portugal, Romania, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica and Israel.  
'Great panels, great topics. I’m much more informed.'                                         'Great concept, line-up and good work on social justice.' 'Friendly atmosphere makes it easier to speak out.'                                          'It’s made me think about my own life and circumstances.' 'It made me realize what is happening in Scotland! I just didn’t know!'                                          'Hearing others’ perspectives really got me thinking of the issue.'
A Selection of Audience Comments
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
This innovative scheme provided a platform for people to gather and shed light on important subjects, increasing diversity amongst audience members and encouraging communications between individuals. Quoting one of the project beneficiaries: 'Thank you for my free tickets. It’s good to know that here I am welcome because of my disability. I appreciate the opportunity this festival gives me to learn about peace and social justice through dyslexia-friendly ways, e.g. expressive arts, oral presentation.'
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Niki Boyle The LIST Festival Guide: 'Despite recent findings that roughly half the population of Great Britain now describes itself as ‘not religious’, questions of faith – and how it intersects with science, society and the arts – are still very much a talking point. Digging deep into these issues is Just Festival (as in ‘morally right and fair’ not ‘oh, it’s just a festival), a three-week programme of talks, events and conversations exploring headline-generating topics from around the world.
Media Coverage
Robert Peacock TV Bomb: 'Recent events have shown, as if it weren’t already apparent, how there are many among us who feel marginalised, or else exist on or beyond the bounds of “normal” society. If there were ever a good time and place to shed some artistic light on those people, it is now, in Edinburgh, in the midst of the world’s biggest arts extravaganza. From its base at St. John’s Church on Princes Street, Just Festival has for many years been promoting diversity and social justice with a programme of events throughout August.
Rosemary Kaye The Edinburgh Reporter: 'The Just Festival is unlike any other. Yes, it aims to entertain us – but it also wants to make us think, to open our eyes to issues that might not get an airing anywhere else, to engage us in dialogues about social justice, equality and identity in an increasingly polarised world.   This year the festival’s theme is From the Edge, a concept open to interpretation in many ways. People may be marginalised politically or socially – or they may be boundary pushers, exploring the very limits of science, society, faith or the arts.
Performance Reviews
Reem Allam 5***** TV Bomb 'Acting Alone' | Ava Hunt Acting Alone is a poignant, witty, and compellingly thought-provoking one-woman piece that defies all norms. It ingeniously goes against audiences’ expectations regarding both the theatre art-form itself and the handling of the overly yet ineffectively debated topic of the sufferings of Palestinians.
Andrew Forbes 4**** Broadway Baby 'Hotel Europa' | TOgether Hotel Europa’s best feature though, is revealed when the forum theatre kicks in and we begin to suggest alternative ways a scene could be played out. In this way, the difficulties of escaping the cycle that global capitalism has set in motion is rendered crystal clear. It is frightening, and it stays with you long after the performance has finished. (...) Hotel Europa lays bares the truth – we’re trapped in something we didn't all choose.
Louise Rodgers 5***** TheThreeWeeks 'Equilibrium' | Drake Music Scotland Little did I realise, when I stepped into St John’s Church, that I would see the most innovative music show so far, but that’s what happened tonight. Traditional Scottish music ensemble Equilibrium’s members are a mixture of able-bodied and disabled musicians on equal terms – conductor Rhona Smith uses technology linked to the other members’ monitors to overcome limited physical movement.
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Just Festival’s activities between October 2015 and September 2016 were funded from the Scottish Government’s Promoting Equalities and Social Cohesion Fund; donations from the Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together, the Scottish Episcopal Church Fund, the Church of Scotland Fund and other donations. Just Festival’s August activities generated 11% of total income. Just Festival aims to create affordable pathways to  participation in the Festival for individuals, organisations and performers whose activities raise awareness of social justice matters. We also support two nominated charities each year. Each charity receives 50% of the 50p surcharge on each ticket sold in the Festival. In 2016, St John's Church and Mercy Corps were the nominated beneficiaries. The 2016 Just Festival edition proved to be very successful, making 159% of the sales target owing to the great success of many sold-out and well-attended shows and events. In addition to the events programming and hosting activities, the Festival managed a social inclusion programme entitled 'Just For All' that enabled marginalised communities to participate at no charge in the Festival events. The project was funded from the Craignish Trust’s and Hugh Fraser Foundation’s donations amounting to £2,500. Finally, Staged for Life, employability and skills project, implemented under the auspices of Just Festival, was awarded £45,249 in total from Young Start, Ernest Cook Trust and Dr Guthrie's Foundation towards its 2016 and 2017 activities.
Finance                                           Thank you!
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page
We would like to thank all Just Festival's supporters for enabling us to continue our work in raising awareness surrounding social justice matters and engaging people in projects, events and activities that have an impact on their perceptions and participation in civic life.
2016 JUST FESTIVAL REPORT
Just Festival’s activities between October 2015 and September 2016 were funded from the Scottish Government’s Promoting Equalities and Social Cohesion Fund; donations from the Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together, the Scottish Episcopal Church Fund, the Church of Scotland Fund and other donations. Just Festival’s August activities generated 11% of total income. Just Festival aims to create affordable pathways to  participation in the Festival for individuals, organisations and performers whose activities raise awareness of social justice matters. We also support two nominated charities each year. Each charity receives 50% of the 50p surcharge on each ticket sold in the Festival. In 2016, St John's Church and Mercy Corps were the nominated beneficiaries. The 2016 Just Festival edition proved to be very successful, making 159% of the sales target owing to the great success of many sold-out and well-attended shows and events. In addition to the events programming and hosting activities, the Festival managed a social inclusion programme entitled 'Just For All' that enabled marginalised communities to participate at no charge in the Festival events. The project was funded from the Craignish Trust’s and Hugh Fraser Foundation’s donations amounting to £2,500. Finally, Staged for Life, employability and skills project, implemented under the auspices of Just Festival, was awarded £45,249 in total from Young Start, Ernest Cook Trust and Dr Guthrie's Foundation towards its 2016 and 2017 activities.
Finance
Just Festival | 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN | t. 0131 225 6470 | [email protected] | www.just-festival.org Scottish Registered Charity SC042638 | A company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No: 399201 @justFestival | facebook.com/justfestival.page