Imagination, more than any other capacity, breaks through the ‘inertia of habit.’ (John Dewey, 1934)
Building strongly on the success of previous years, we are delighted to say that Fire Starter Festival is back with a bang and will run from 28th January to 8th February 2019.
From testing out the festival back in 2016 – where we only had five events in Edinburgh – it has progressed considerably year on year.
Over 70 events were held in 2018 taking place right across Scotland, with 2,000 people registering to attend and over 30 organisations and collaboratives hosting events.
Wonderfully, the sparks have even reached colleagues in Birmingham, Manchester, Wales and Ireland, who are all thinking about hosting their own celebrations.
This year, the theme for Fire Starter Festival is ‘Disruption by Design’ – how we can create opportunities to break existing patterns, think imaginatively, work collaboratively and test out new ideas through action.
The events that are already registered reflect the creativity and adventurous nature of those working across Scotland. They include ‘Brainwash Proofing our Education’ in Edinburgh, ‘Young People Co-designing’ in Oban, to ‘Cheers! Slainte! Cheers!’ in Argyll.
I am also excited to announce that we will be kicking off the festival with the V&A Dundee.
In true Fire Starter style, our ‘Design Your Own’ launch will spark your curiosity, ignite your imagination, and give you the opportunity to come together with others to be a part of something truly magical. It will be a creative, innovative and interactive event, and with a range of inspiring speakers yet to be announced, you can sign up to reserve your space now so you don’t miss out.
For those who haven’t come across it before, the annual Fire Starter Festival is on for two weeks and offers a national platform to public services, including communities and charities, to highlight and celebrate innovation and creativity across Scottish public services.
With a particular focus on transformational change, the unique festival is co-produced and provides a creative space for people to showcase, share and explore the ways they are making a difference to Scotland.
This includes sharing innovative practices, telling stories about taking risks, or being creative in the design of a service. It also gives people the freedom to try something new and access learning and information that may not normally be available to them.
The festival also offers a space to hold a national conversation across silos and boundaries about big issues or questions.
What’s love got to do with it?
The refreshed National Performance Framework launched earlier this year – developed people across Scotland – outlines the kind of country that we want to live in. One of its 11 National Outcomes says that we’d like to ‘grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential.’
But what does being ‘loved’ mean in practice? How do we measure success and failure? Moreover, what would a Scotland where all young people grow up loved look like? And what does this mean for how we design public services? These are some of the questions that we will be exploring throughout the festival.
We know that we live in an era of austerity – budgets are tight and services are stretched. The festival also allows us all to learn from one another to maximize our collective resources. We know that in some communities there may be a challenge to find the resources to be able to hold an event.
I am truly thrilled that the ethos of Fire Starter Festival has caught the attention of, and inspired, so many people, and that the future is burning so bright. The festival will continue to strive to be bolder and braver as it progresses.
It will place imagination, creativity, humanity and love at its heart, encouraging everyone to share their small fires of change.
With the wintry weather coming in, I hope you’ll be able to join us for what will be a warm and heartening two weeks.
How you can get involved