The Information Stage has been an essential element of the Downs Festival from the outset.
Providing a forum for speakers and the audience to discuss, debate and share knowledge, the programme of speakers, exhibitors and panel discussions is wide-ranging, inspirational, enlightening and at times, potentially controversial. This year compelling issues such as climate change, transphobia, and BAME female empowerment will be at the heart of the Information Area.
Here’s five talks and exhibits not to miss.
Charlie Craggs – Nail Transphobia
Charlie Craggs is an award-winning trans activist and author dubbed “the voice of a community” by Vogue. She is perhaps best known for her campaign ‘Nail Transphobia’ where she travels around the UK with her pop up nail salon.
Charlie offers the public free manicures and the chance to sit down and have a chat with a trans person in a bid to humanise trans issues. She topped the Guardian’s New Radicals list of social innovators in Britain and wrote her first book, ‘To My Trans Sisters’ in 2017 and launched her own nail brand, Nail It, in 2018. A warm and witty speaker Charlie is one of the many working towards changing society’s preconceptions and attitudes.
Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinene – In conversation with Yomi & Elizabeth
Yomi and Elizabeth are the authors of the outstanding book ‘Slay In Your Lane; The Black Girl Bible’. The book is inspirational, provocative and honest in its celebration of the achievements and strides black women have made in recent years whilst providing practical advice for women who want to do the same and create a better future.
In addition to being authors, Yomi and Elizabeth are respectively a multi-award-winning journalist and award-winning rising star in the advertising and creative industries. Expect to be inspired and empowered and stick around for the discussion panel ‘Harnessing the Magic’ which also includes spoken word artist Desree, Dr Meena Fombo (Bristol Black Girls Convention) and chaired by polymath Ngaio Anya.
Professor Colin Davis – Heading away from extinction: A positive vision of the future
Colin Davis is a professor of psychology at the University of Bristol. His research interests include the psychology of language (especially reading), decision-making, social influence, environmental psychology, and how to talk about climate change. He has been active in Extinction Rebellion since November 2018, and has been arrested for engaging in civil disobedience twice (so far). He will also be on the Climate Change panel discussion along with Anneka Sutcliffe (Extinction Rebellion), Meena Rajput (Greenpeace UK) and Adam Corner.
Planning for Play – Discussion
This panel will explore the importance of play and how our ability to play is impacted by our environment. The Festival is bringing together play-workers, entertainers and experts in planning and policy to examine the ways in which play can broaden horizons and how, in the current climate, it is more important than ever that both children and adults are given the opportunity to play. Panellists include Rachel Davies (Ape Project / St Pauls Adventure Playground), Ash Perrin (The Flying Seagull Project), Dinah Bornat and Malcolm Hamilton (Multi Games).
And much more…
There will also be an exhibitors section within the area including Sleep Pods (a lifesaving shelter for rough sleepers), Pee Power (a system developed at UWE which turns organic matter into electricity) and NAOS an intercultural therapy centre based at The Old Fire Station in Bristol City centre. They are at The Downs to promote positive mental health and genuine support pathways for those in need. The St Paul’s Carnival photo pop-up featuring work by legendary photographer Martin Parr and photographers Latoyah McAllister-Jones, Anndeloris Chacon, Kevin Vincent and Esther Viva Afikiruweh is a must-see too.
The area opens at 1.00pm with an XR People’s Assembly and continues throughout the day until 6.15pm when it will feature superb bands curated by main stage artists IDLES.
Read More: Acts not to miss at The Downs 2019