Urban Heat is a project developed by the Festivals in Transition (FIT) network of 13 international festival partners, supported by Creative Europe, which enables artists to engage with the invisible communities within cities. The four year project supports artists to develop and create daring and extraordinary work that connects with the world outside the arts by addressing urgent political and social issues, and by working with audiences and communities affected by those issues.

The canvas for Urban Heat is cities. They are the physical framework of our society, the generator of civil values, the engine of our economy and the heart of much of our culture. But in the era of late capitalism they also feel increasingly unsustainable: economic migration has created an almost invisible underclass; poverty is pushing people to the edges; and issues ranging from mobility to the rise of faith-based communities are seeing cultures and communities becoming more segregated and less permeable.

Urban Heat participants are 22 artists working in performance, theatre, dance and interdisciplinary who are open to experiment with the role of arts in the development of contemporary cities and to re-imagine how art could evoke change and support sustainability in the cities. Through a series of Academies and City Labs, which bring together artists, academics, faith leaders, political scientists and technologists, Urban Heat enables artists to develop their understanding of fundamental issues and challenges facing cities and their knowledge and skills in how to tackle them engaging in new forms of participatory arts practice and projects in response.

Subsequent to these City Labs each partner festival will commission at least one participating artist to create a new work based on the themes of the programme. These works will engage a specific audience or community within each of the festival’s own locations and will be developed through close collaboration between the artist and partner festivals. The new works will be commissioned for presentation in the city art programmes at all participating festivals throughout 2016 and 2017.



Alex Neidert
+44 (0) 20 7968 6800

LIFT festival
Toynbee Studios 
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB