Your Local Arena – George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Writing on the Wall presents: Film Screening and Panel Talk

Your Local Arena: George Orwell (Part V)

George Orwell said about his classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe that something resembling it could arrive.’ This event, produced in partnership between WoWFEST: FAHRENHEIT 2024 and Your Local Arena, asks: just how close are we to Orwell’s vision — or are we already there?

In 1984, BBC’s Arena ran a series of programmes about the life of George Orwell. Part V begins with the tragic death of his wife Eileen in March 1945. Overcome with grief and despairing of the future, Orwell retreated to Jura, a remote Hebridean island. Here, crippled with tuberculosis and isolated from the world, Orwell wrote his last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, a nightmare vision of a totalitarian future. Orwell explained that ‘The scene of the book is laid in Britain in order to emphasise that the English-speaking races are not innately better than anyone else and that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere.’ So, are we awake, resisting or sleepwalking into the darkness once again, as imagined by Orwell?

Come and watch this classic film about one of the country’s finest writers and listen to a talk afterwards about how near we are to a nineteen eighty-four-type world. Speakers: Dolan Cummings, Director of the Manifesto Club; Director of English PEN Daniel Gorman; and freedom of speech expert Sara Whyatt. The event will also include a new poem inspired by the film by Francesca Beard.

Francesca Beard is also hosting a workshop exploring the themes from 1984, in which attendees will stand up to Big Brother through creative expression. The workshop facilitates connection through spoken word poetry and making a nonsense of doublespeak by playing with language and improvisational story-telling techniques. It will take place on Friday 17th May, 11am – 1pm at Toxteth Library.

Your Local Arena is a Lucy Hannah & Speaking Volumes co-production featuring BBC Arena’s film archive. Funded by Arts Council England.

Your Local Arena is a unique project featuring iconic films from the archives of BBC TV’s Arena, the pioneering cultural documentary series. It includes new poems inspired by the Arena films and panel talks to explore the continuing relevance of the Arena archives today. The Your Local Arena concept was developed by Lucy Hannah and Speaking Volumes, with Arena’s award-winning director/editor Anthony Wall as creative consultant, and funded by Arts Council England.

Dolan Cummings is a director of the Manifesto Club, a civil liberties group that defends freedom in public spaces and civic life. In particular, the club challenges the growing control of public spaces and informal life by state officials and private management companies. Dolan is also a novelist and essayist; his latest book is The Pictish Princess.. and other stories from before there was a Scotland. Born and raised in Glasgow, he now lives in Kendal, Cumbria. More about his work can be found at www.dolancummings.com.

 

Daniel Gorman is the Director of English PEN, one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations, championing the freedom to write and the freedom to read around the world. Prior to English PEN, Daniel was Executive Director of Shubbak, Europe’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture. Daniel is also a co-founder of Highlight Arts, who have organised UK-based international arts festivals and events since 2007, including projects working with writers in Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, and was director of Firefly International. Daniel has written for the Guardian, Irish Times, N+1 and many others.

Sara Whyatt is a campaigner and researcher on freedom of artistic expression around the world. She headed PEN International’s freedom of expression programme for over twenty years before becoming a freelance consultant in 2013. For over ten years she has been providing her expertise to organisations including UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the Swedish Arts Council, and advises smaller local and national groups on promoting creative freedom. She is currently heading the research programme for Oslo-based Freemuse which monitors and campaigns on attacks against artists, cultural workers and the censorship of the arts worldwide.

Francesca Beard is a poet who has worked in over twenty-three countries through her work with the British Council. She facilitates creative projects with a range of age groups, from babies and their carers in libraries to people living with dementia in care homes. Recent commissions include poems for The British Geological Survey, Wiki Media and Wellcome. She has been artist in residence with B3 Media at The Banff Centre, Canada and The Mixed Reality Lab, Nottingham University. Her solo shows, Chinese Whispers, How to Survive A Post-Truth Apocalypse and Confabulation, were made in conversation with scientists and researchers, supported by Arts Council England. She comes from Malaysia and lives in London.


Video Odyssey, Toxteth TV Studios, 37-45 Windsor St, Liverpool L8 1XE 

Thursday 16th May, 7pm  

£5

*These are difficult times. We know some people may struggle to afford full price tickets. If you would like to attend this event but can’t afford to, please contact info@writingonthewall.org.ukAll queries will be treated in confidence.   

If you would like to purchase a gifted ticket for someone who can’t afford it, please buy directly from the event page and we will offer your ticket out.    

Event Details

Date: May 16, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm

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