For almost three decades The Big Issue has fought tirelessly to create opportunities for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our society.
It all started with the magazine, helping the homeless get back on their feet with our ethos of working, not begging.
And as The Big Issue continues to campaign for the welfare of society’s most vulnerable, we continue to forge partnerships and initiatives that put us at the forefront of social change.
Today, we are happy to announce a new partnership with Culture24, a groundbreaking arts and heritage charity, on its Emerge festival.
Emerge will be a one-of-its-kind festival of nighttime events and lates in London’s museums, galleries, historic houses, and visual arts venues. Taking place over one weekend across Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September, Emerge will see an all-star creative cast of DJs, debates, musicians, poets and performers. Their stage? 50 of the capital’s icons, from Tower Bridge to The Old Operating Theatre.
We are affordable, accessible and, above all, adventurous.
“We want to inspire a generation to claim museums as their own by showcasing emerging young talent within these iconic places. Emerge is imagined by the young, for the young, but open to everyone,” said Nick Stockman, Emerge festival director.
“We are affordable, accessible and, above all, adventurous. With this festival, we are helping to pioneer a revolution by transforming preconceptions of what museums are like and who they are for. We will showcase historic spaces and young creatives for what they are, a vital part of London’s night-time stage.”
The vision for Emerge is to inspire new generations to fall in love with museums by turning audiences’ expectations of what museums are like and who they are for upside-down, creating new social value for audiences, communities and venues.
Where does The Big Issue come in? Our work with Emerge coalesces around our investment with a cracking organisation called Collage Arts.
Collage Arts is a leading arts development, training and creative regeneration charity based in the heart of Haringey’s Cultural Quarter. It runs an array of programmes aimed at improving employability and creating access to the arts and creative industries for people who have challenges to overcome, including young people who are unemployed, BAME women, care-leavers and people with health problems-among others.
Big Issue Invest first invested in Collage Arts in 2013 and helped the organisation manage cash flow when working on multiple contracts. The two organisations maintained close ties and when Collage Arts expanded into Chocolate Factory 3, Invest was a natural choice for financing the refurbishment costs. In early 2018 Invest invested in Collage Arts a third time, on this occasion to support a new opportunity to take over a disused post office, repurposing it with a project focusing on career opportunities for local BAME women.
A number of musical acts that have spun out of Collage Arts will be performing at Emerge festival, opening up their creativity to a wider audience and helping nurture talent from backgrounds that wouldn’t traditional be given the same opportunities as artists from more affluent backgrounds. We are championing them.
One of those artists is among | bright | lights. They’re an electronica duo, comprised of Robert Kalintas and Jaden Stone, both of whom are involved with creative courses with Collage Arts.
Their distinctive sound is rooted in bedroom electronics blended with elements of hip-hop, ambient, post-rock and pop. Influenced by misunderstood and misrepresented issues affecting their generation. among | bright | lights engage with observations of drug abuse and addiction, mental illness and contemporary social issues affecting Britain today.
They are the epitome of why The Big Issue invests in a project like Collage Arts; empowering the next generation to be changemakers, equipping them with tools they wouldn’t normally get. Through courses at Collage Arts, Robert and Jaden have been able to develop their creative skills in animation, videography, music performance, and other visual arts.
“What Collage Arts do in terms of the projects are all related to social issues. We’re going to be working on a video about refugees who are essentially kept in detention centres,” says Jaden. “It’s about having a musical collaboration with people who have been kept in detention centres.
“The main thing appealing to us about Collage Arts is how the projects are always related to social issues. Our whole ethos is to help as much as we can with the platform we have.
“We’ve seen a lot of stuff and experienced a lot of stuff from the background that we’ve come from. We’re blessed to be alive. Some people don’t have a home. It’s more to help other people, and then, it’s getting to the point where we can financially help back.”
With the help of Collage Arts and Emerge, artists like among | bright | lights will be shot into the limelight. We will applaud them.
The Big Issue is excited to announce that our readers are eligible for early-bird tickets to this fantastic festival. With these low-cost tickets, we are committed to ensuring no matter your financial background, Emerge is open to everyone.