Freedom Festival

(UN)COMMON SPACES 2020-2024 Partner, member of IN SITU since 2016

Freedom Festival celebrates, through artistic and cultural expression, the city of Hull’s independent spirit and its contribution to causes of freedom

Freedom Festival is Hull’s award-winning international arts festival. From epic spectaculars unfolding in the city centre to intimate moments where audiences and artists meet, we present thought-provoking, playful, and powerful performances that address the world we live in.


We bring thousands of people together through our annual festival and year-round artistic and creative programme of performances, installations, talent development programmes and targeted participatory work to excite, inspire, challenge, empower and provoke.


We are also increasingly developing new projects and events that can take place outside of the annual festival period, for example The Hull Vigil by Joanne Leighton and company WLDN.


We celebrate Hull’s independent spirit and extraordinary heritage working closely with artists, creative organisations, the private sector, academic partners, third sector organisations, families, individuals, and community groups to deliver year-round creative activity and a world-class annual arts festival.


We are an organisation which generates and nurtures new ideas, is passionate about supporting artists to develop ideas and reinvent art forms. We believe in supporting people from all walks of life to explore the arts as we believe that the arts are central to the wellbeing of our society.


We are confident and resilient, central to the cultural ecology in Hull and increasingly well positioned and influential in the wider arts sector nationally and internationally.


We are globally connected, outward looking, and committed to learning from our international partners.

Artistic Director: Mikey Martins

Projects in 2021 and artists currently supported by and in partnership with the IN SITU network include:

WLDN and Freedom Festival — The Hull Vigil (3 May 2021 – 3 May 2022)

Hull is the first UK city to host this timely, thought-provoking, large-scale monumental work by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from Paris-based WLDN. Over the past eight years, The Vigil has been running continuously in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.  At sunrise and sunset each day for a full year a Vigil will stand and watch over the City of Hull for an hour from inside a bespoke wood and glass structure placed atop Hull College without their phone or other distraction. 

600 HIGHWAYMEN — A Thousand Ways (Part One)

A Telephone Call (Friday 20-Saturday 28 August 2021).  Pick up the phone. Someone is on the line. You don’t know their name, and you still won’t when the hour is over. A Thousand Ways explores the line between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity, and how the most intimate assembly can become profoundly radical. 


Company New Heroes — In Search of Democracy 3.0 (3-5 September 2021) 

Company New Heroes set off on a journey through Europe to investigate today’s democracies, with all its challenges and solutions for the future. As part of Freedom Festival this year and held in the surroundings of the former Council Chamber at Hull’s Guildhall,  we joined them for a unique and dynamic performance where we were taken on a journey into the past, present and future of democracy, actively searching for new possibilities and ideas


Marco Barotti — The Woodpeckers. (28-30 August 2021)

Marco researched if he could create a robotic object as a form of creative detection of electromagnetic radiation. How could it react to people sending and receiving electromagnetic radiations through their smartphones? The Woodpeckers transform in real time the invisible radiation used for mobile communication and wireless technology into audible and visible drumming patterns. During Freedom Festival, The Woodpeckers appeared in various locations around the City Centre of Hull.

Yara+Davina: Arrivals + Departures (1-5 September 2021)

Arrivals + Departures is about birth, death and the journey in between. The public were invited to share the names of those who have arrived and departed, on live boards, as a way to acknowledge, celebrate and commemorate. Integral to the public artwork was the series of free events inviting people to sing, laugh, dance and maybe cry, including a Birth Café, Death Café and podcast.

Blast Theory — Rider Spoke (30 August – 4 September 2021)

Rider Spoke invites you on a ride in search of the perfect place to hide a secret. Think about the people in your life while you explore. Record messages and share them with strangers you will never meet. Ride on and the voices of strangers will draw you to new and unknown places. 

 Kaleider Studios — Associate artist (UN)COMMON SPACES 2020-2024

Kaleider Studios are Freedom Festival’s Associate Artist for the (Un)Common Spaces programme from 2020-2024, we are excited about developing new work with Seth Honor and the team from Kaleider Studios and also them working as mentors for emerging artists, producing excellent podcasts and digital content looking at art in public space and contributing to other areas of the programme.

JJ Tatten — Associate citizen (UN)COMMON SPACES 2020-2024

We will also be working closely with our associate citizen JJ Tatten from The Warren Youth Project here in Hull, who will bring his perspective and huge experience of working with young people, often having to challenge society’s notions of justice, empowerment and identity for young people. We hope that JJ’s presence in the network will also be of benefit to artists and partners who are interested in working with young people in their projects within the network and external to it.