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Celebrating Freedom

CELEBRATING FREEDOM

“Freedom is good because you get fresh air.” – Amelie, Aged 6

Celebrating Freedom was an 18 month lottery funded project, which involved us running a series of workshops, which focused on activities to break down barriers and transcend gender, ethnicity, age and religion. We hosted 11 separate events and reached over 700 people. It included talks by the Mayor of Kingston, local councillor Dennis Doe and the Head of Kingston Race & Equality Council, John Azar.

What we did

We ran a series of workshops, described below, which focused on activities to break down barriers and transcend gender, ethnicity, age and religion. We wanted to deliver these workshops to the community so we partnered up with Kingston Council to deliver many of them through the Royal Borough of Kingston’s 2012 cultural programme, designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity. The workshops consisted of the following activities:

  • Percussion workshops – Music is a ‘leveller’ and it brings people together as they have to rely on each other to create a harmony.
  • Dance workshops – Dance has been through time a form of communication and a cultural response to historic discrimination, we used it to bring people closer together.
  • Capoeira – The dance was created as a fight for freedom so we ran workshops to teach people about its history and the different aspects of the game as well as of freedom.

At each event people were also asked to express what freedom meant to them by

  • “Having a voice!” – They were filmed saying what freedom meant to them and why it was
    so important;
  • “Let’s build together” – Using Lego, they built what freedom meant, each piece building on
    the persons before;
    “Freedom is…” – They wrote, what freedom meant following on from the person before.

Alongside these workshops we hosted a Freedom Festival, which sought to inspire the local community and draw them together as they considered what freedom meant. More than 250 people passed through this final step of our celebration, embarking on a freedom journey made up of five unique destinations all of which represented a different face of freedom and its integral place in our lives and communities. Each of these people were challenged to consider both their
good and bad sides. They were told that they were free to choose and to remember what they had seen; what they community built; what they had said and pass it on.

“Only when one is able to present oneself to the world without fear of judgement is one free. Freedom is the essence of the soul.” – Kingston University student

“Freedom is living without a fear of harassment from authority, people or any group.”
– A refugee of Eastern Europe living in the UK for 30 years

Project Highlights

  • We hosted 11 separate events during the course of the project and our freedom exhibition toured around 10 additional organisations;
  • 700 people were impacted by our freedom exhibition – 323 people wrote comments about freedom and 163 more built a model of freedom;
  • Our freedom exhibition was exhibited in the Rose Theatre for almost 3 months;
  • Hundreds of people took part in our workshops and activities, joining together to create a performance;
  • The varied, considered and thoughtful answers to the question “Freedom is…?” and the imaginative models of freedom built with lego;
  • A Freedom Festival that was a real celebration of the project with speeches about freedom by local councillor, the deputy mayor and prominent members of the community.
  • The networking opportunities and strong relationships that have been built with the community.

We were present at …

Global Week event at University, Dragon Boat Race event, Aviation Festival, Kingston Regatta, Olympic Torch relay, Kingston Carnival and the University Fresher’s Fair

Our Supporters

The Celebrating Freedom project was funded from a variety of different streams, including:

  • The National Lottery grant scheme – Awards for All
  • O2 Think Big programme
  • Business Funding from Carillion
  • Donations from Turner Lovell & Renaissance and Las Iguanas

Our Impact

Our objective was to get people to stop, think and consider what freedom meant to them. More than 1,000 people were directly impacted by our project. More than 300 people took the time to consider the concept of freedom and write down their own freedom quote and a further 170 people took pieces of lego and created their own model of freedom. We were able to access a wide cross section of the community through the lego tour and in particular via the exhibition
displayed at the Rose Theatre.

Models of freedom as described by our participants

‘A white square – Freedom is a shape that can expand to any extent!’ – Anonymous

‘A Diving Board – Diving into the water off a high board – scary, into the unknown but liberating. Perhaps this is freedom!’ Vicar, Kingston

‘A Bridge – I built a bridge to connect people’ – Anoushka, aged 14