A major new Sussex-wide arts festival from Chichester Cathedral and Sussex Newspapers aims to capture the spirit of togetherness which has seen us through the 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
#SussexTogether invites people across the county to showcase their creative efforts, whether that be in visual arts, creative writing, poetry or music - in celebration of the way our communities negotiated and survived the darkest days. The Festival will also rejoice in the way our communities moved into the renewed optimism of early summer as significant areas of the lockdown started to ease.
If social distancing permits, the most inspiring artistic contributions will be showcased in a two-week Festival at Chichester Cathedral in the first two weeks of November. People can also exhibit online during and following the lockdown, posting their creations on social media using the hashtag #sussextogetherfest or tagging @sussextogether on Twitter and Instagram.
The Cathedral’s Chancellor, The Reverend Canon Daniel Inman, said:
“The aim of the #SussexTogether Festival is to encourage people across Sussex to get creative during the lockdown and the subsequent easing – painting, sculpting, photographing, writing prose, poetry and drama, and composing – around the theme of #SussexTogether, however people wish to interpret it.”
November would be particularly appropriate as a time when – in the Church calendar - we naturally ponder those whom we have loved and lost, but it’s also as a time of hopeful expectation. I think the exhibition could be a powerful testimony to both honouring those we’ve lost but also looking with hope to our future.”
Phil Hewitt, Group Arts Editor with Sussex Newspapers, said:
“We have been through the most extraordinary few months and as we start to rebuild our lives, it is so important that we reflect on what really matters. And the arts matter hugely. Our arts calendar was wiped out – ironically at a time when we had never needed the arts more. The result was a remarkable outpouring of creativity on social media. We want to harness that now across Sussex and turn it into a celebration of all that makes Sussex special.
“Our newspapers cover all of Sussex, and the Diocese of Chichester is pretty much co-terminus with Sussex. That means the Cathedral, as the Mother Church of the Diocese, and our papers are brilliantly positioned to lead this celebration. Obviously, we don’t know yet what stage we will have reached. It seems fairly clear this will never be completely over. But we want to start the planning now.”
Bestselling novelist and playwright Kate Mosse, who lives in Chichester, is one of the Festival’s Patrons, along with The Bishop of Chichester, The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner.
“As a Chi girl born and bred, it's a great pleasure to be a patron for this unique Festival designed to celebrate and honour the creativity, imagination, inspiration and determination of the people of this wonderful county of ours.
The importance of the arts to transform, to entertain, to bring hope and perspective and joy, to foster community spirit and purpose, cannot be underestimated. This festival, championing the best of Sussex, is an excellent way to mark these strange times through which we've been living.”
Submissions to the Cathedral exhibition and performances will be judged by panels made up of leading local artists, writers and musicians.”
How to submit
There are five categories:
- Visual Arts (photography, ceramics, painting, sculpture), with the best work judged by a panel of Sussex senior artists and invited to be exhibited in Chichester Cathedral in early November. Jury-awarded prizes (details tbc). Submit here: https://forms.gle/5sv5xUjUb7K2sPGx9
- A poetry competition, to feature in an evening of poetry at Chichester Cathedral in November. Submit here: https://forms.gle/7Dg192wmnE7pkQ3S9
- A short-story competition, with finalists to feature in Sussex Newspapers. Submit here: https://forms.gle/S9Yxv1mNqejARW6H6
- Performing Arts (music, dance, theatre): https://forms.gle/nMDLG6rWnzyeFW6JA
- A choral composition competition for the Choir of Chichester Cathedral: https://forms.gle/DJrsFYSfJha6Zu3BA
You can keep up-to-date with #SussexTogether on the Festival's website.