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Announcing The Out of Many Festival

Jeff ‘Skully Roots’ Walwyn in 1979 – one of the images that will feature in the Out of Many Festival’s Rebellion to Romance Exhibition. Photograph © Syd Shelton

The Jamaica Society Leeds has been awarded major National Lottery funding to deliver a cultural festival celebrating 60 years of Jamaican Independence.

The Society has received a £250,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund   grant and an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant of £100,000 for the Out of Many Festival, it was announced today.

The Out of Many Festival will:

  • illuminate how the cultural heritage of the small Caribbean island has impacted culture nationally, internationally and in the city of Leeds.
  • See high-profile national and international artists and collaborations alongside grass-roots community events

The full Out of Many Festival programme will be announced in May, with festival activity peaking from August to November. As well as panel events, heritage events for children and opportunities for volunteers to get involved, festival highlights will include;

  • Rebellion to Romance – a major exhibition at Leeds Central Library and stage production of the same name at Leeds Playhouse which will showcase how Jamaican culture, style and music was woven into the everyday lives and activism of second-generation West Indians in 1970s and 80s Leeds.
  • Out of Many Lit – a five-day literature festival featuring local and international award-winning authors and poets of Jamaican and wider African and Caribbean heritage.
  • Heritage tours to Leeds locations significant to the city’s Jamaican and West Indian community’s history
  • A Jamaica film season

Chair of the Jamaica Society, Reverend Dorothy Stewart said:

“We are delighted to receive this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Out of Many Festival will both celebrate and champion the preservation and heritage of Jamaican culture.

We are proud to be able to highlight our rich cultural history particularly in this year which marks both 60 years of Jamaican Independence and the Society’s 45th anniversary.”

We are also proud to highlight Leeds and look forward to sharing details of all our partners, funders and sponsors whose support for the Out of Many Festival we are grateful for.”

Jamaica Society Leeds Chair, Rev Dorothy Stewart. Photo: Joanne Crawford

The festival programme was developed in response to two years of audience consultations and conversations with partners and artists. Its name reflects Jamaica’s national motto Out of Many, One People which was formally adopted on April 3 1962 ahead of independence from Britain ushered in on August 6 1962 after 307 years of British colonial rule.

Building on the Society’s acclaimed 2019 Eulogy Project which focused on first-generation Jamaicans during the 1940s to 60s, the Out of Many Festival will also explore the lives of the city’s second-generation West Indian community in the 70s and 80s.

Festival director Susan Pitter said: “The Out of Many Festival builds on the Society’s work to illuminate the lives of first-generation Jamaicans. It will showcase the cultural heritage they took with them when they settled in countries across the world and which has become the global phenomenon we know today. It is an honour to be a part of Out of Many’s exciting programme of events illuminating Jamaica’s huge cultural influence and appeal through music, theatre, film, literature, exhibitions and more.”

Out of Many Festival Director Susan Pitter. Photo: Joanne Crawford

Members of the public who are interested in sharing photos and other keepsakes for the festival’s Rebellion to Romance Exhibition are invited to bring them to the Jamaica Society Leeds at Jamaica House, 277 Chapeltown Road, Leeds LS7 3HA on Saturday, May 14 and Saturday, May 21 from 11.30am – 5pm.

For Out of Many Festival news and updates:

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @jamaicasocietyleeds or Twitter @JamaicaLeeds using #JamaicaLeeds #OutofManyFest

Email: outofmany@jamaicasocietyleeds.co.uk

For press queries please contact:

SAMANTHA WALKER samwalkernews@hotmail.co.uk or call 07824 667362