The festival is the culmination of a two-year programme of community-led health and healing, working towards building structural justice and public health which asks:
“What is the potential of public health for all of us when it is determined by more of us? What are the conditions and capacities that we need to help us achieve this, and how can we do this now?”
Our title, Rehearsing Freedoms, is inspired by scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s work on abolition – “abolition is life in rehearsal”. In our use of the phrase, we seek to collectively envision and call in futures free from oppression by creating spaces to live them. This holistic programme aims to dismantle structures of violence and, in their place, build community-based structures of care. We want to create spaces that restore our agency and nourish our joy, while sustaining our movements as we build towards collective liberation.
Together, we are rehearsing radical public health rooted in safety, dignity, and belonging. This work enables us to respond to and disrupt intergenerational trauma and structural violence. Using art, organising and culture to encourage imagination, we are cultivating the exchange of critical ideas, knowledges and practices. We’re exploring what is, what could be, and the actions and infrastructure required to facilitate transformation. This will take the form of a month-long festival of art, community healing and movement building in Autumn 2023 as the starting point for building towards futures of radical, creative and dignifying public infrastructures.
Throughout the festival, we will ask each other:
How and where are we practising getting free?
How is this rehearsal a communal and collective practice?
How do these freedoms help us access health and healing through nurturing safety, dignity and belonging?