An Ambitious Trip Through 13.8 Billion Years of History Starts at Paisley Abbey 

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UKhas launched About Us, a spectacular, free open-air event created by 59 Productions, The Poetry Society and Stemettes exploring 13.8 billion years of history through the infinite ways in which humans are connected to the cosmos, nature and to one another.

Opening at Paisley Abbey, Scotland, About Uswill also be presented in Derry-Londonderry, Caernarfon, Luton and Hull and combines multimedia installations and live performance to immerse audiences in the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. At dusk, local landmarks are transformed into vast canvases combining awe-inspiring live projection-mapped animation with poetry, music, and live choirs, including a new score by Nitin Sawhney CBE and poetry by Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, Jen Hadfield, Jason Allen-Paisant, Khairani Barokka, Grug Muse and Stephen Sexton.

By day, LED video installations will showcase the creativity of children and young people from schools across the UK through poems and Scratch animations. In Scotland, audiences can congregate in the open air at Paisley Abbey with the 25-minute show presented through the evening from 7pm to 9.15pm until 6 March.

Central to UNBOXED are extensive learning and public participation opportunities, reaching thousands of schoolchildren, young people and communities. These opportunities include invitations to be a part of UNBOXED through school trips, lessons, competitions, community workshops and citizen science projects. There is a suite of resources for teachers and continuing professional development as well as new employment and skills development opportunities for diverse young creatives and freelancers. There are also partnerships with the BBC, the British Council and the RSA to further global conversations about the importance of creativity and collaboration to shape better futures for people and planet.

Scottish Government Culture Minister Neil Gray said, “Scotland is a destination for world class cultural events, and it is great that the Unboxed celebration of creativity is launching its programme at Paisley Abbey with the multi-media spectacular, About Us.

The Scottish commission, Dandelion, will begin in April with a series of activities rolled out across the country as community groups come together to showcase the best of Scottish music and innovation.”

Projects presented in Scotland are About Us (Paisley), Dandelion (Scotland-wide), Dreamachine (Edinburgh), Green Space Dark Skies (Scotland-wide), PoliNations (Edinburgh) and StoryTrails (Dundee and Dumfries).  The others from other parts of the UK are GALWAD: A Story from our Future, commissioned by CreativeWales; Our Place in Space, commissioned by Belfast City Council; SEE MONSTER, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform in Weston-super-Mare transformed into one of the UK’s largest public artworks and Tour de Moon, a festival of nightlife travelling in convoy around England.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the four governments whose projects open throughout the year with activity taking place across the UK until October 2022.

Irene Brown

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