The Fête of Britain - Thursday 22 February

Storytelling workshop at Aviva Studios

Accessibility features available for this event: Wheelchair Access

Join us for the first day of The Fête of Britain and get stuck into a programme full of talks, workshops and art asking the big questions of our time – plus experience a sound and visual installation from artist and musician Brian Eno.

From community to democracy to the historical figures we can take inspiration from, there are loads of talks and workshops to get involved with on day one of The Fête of Britain.

Why not pull up a seat and share in the conversation with Talking Tables? Their prompt cards will help you tackle all manner of questions... just be prepared to listen too! Fancy dabbling in politics? Have a go at being Prime Minister for a Day with the help of Manchester Street Poem. What would you change?

Need some time out? Soak up an installation from musician and artist Brian Eno. Pop into Camerados Public Living Room and just hang out (and enjoy some biccies) – you never know who you might end up talking to. Make a contribution to our giant marble run (yes, really!) then catch some of Manchester’s finest folk acts, poets and creative writers performing in the Social.

Continuing the folk theme, hear from some of the from some of the UK's leading artists and writers as they unpick the myths at the heart of British identity – with Jeremy Deller, John Higgs and Jay Griffiths.

Explore our bookable workshops and full schedule below!

Image: Priti Shikotra

Explore what's on

The Common Census

When? 10am–2pm

Where? The Social

What? Cast your votes in this highly researched and deeply statistical study of our shores. Come along, grab some stickers and help us to paint a true picture of our country in 2024. 

UNIBOSI TALK: Marble Awareness Roadshow

When? 12–12.30pm

Where? The Social

What? Hear from Mr Silly (yes, you read that right!) from the Bureau of Silly Ideas about The Fête of Britain marble run.

Staying Human in the Culture Wars with David Blower

When? 12–1.30pm

Where? The Social

What? What motivates us and our opponents? Explore the complex political energies in our lives today with David Blower.


When? 2–3.30pm

Where? The Social

What? Catch some of Manchester's finest folk musician, street performers and poets.

Placard Making with Jez Dolan

When? 2–5pm

Where? The Social

What? Make an instant visible statement – political or otherwise – by creating a placard installation with artist and musician Jez Dolan.

MMU Writing School Showcase

When? 4–4.50pm

Where? The Social

What? Come together and join Manchester's finest creative writing students as they perform new work on the Social stage.

A Revolution for the Imagination

When? 5–6pm

Where? The Social

What? Manchester and the UK's leading literary writers perform. With Jay Griffiths, Helen Mort, Rachel Genn, Monique Roffey, Joe Stretch, Sarah Butler and the Manchester Writing School.

Hot Poets

When? 6–6.30pm

Where? The Social

What? A live performance and creative exploration of how poetry and the arts are playing a crucial role in the climate change space, to inspire action and agency.

The Fête of Britain

A Union Jack flag made of purples, blues and greens – instead of the usual colours
A four-day celebration of collaboration and imagination in the face of the great challenges of our time.
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