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Our Fragile Home
12 April 2019

Rebecca Johnson - Greenham Common peace campaigner and co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the 2017 Nobel Peace prize - has curated a new festival for Salisbury.

The Festival of Ideas, Our Fragile Home, is a weekend of discussion, debate, film, poetry and music considering the fragility of our planet. It runs from Friday 31 May until Sunday 2 June as part of the wider 2019 Salisbury International Arts Festival.

Starting the weekend on Friday 31 May is a conversation between Rebecca Johnson and Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, who played a key role in organising the Vienna International Conference on Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons that set the scene for the UN to hold negotiations in 2016/17, and Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security at Chatham House. They will discuss how growing nuclear and climate risks and humanitarian concerns fed into the United Nations’ multilateral negotiations on a ground-breaking new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

On Saturday 1 June, Rebecca Johnson talks about her extraordinary career including the five years she spent opposing Cruise missile deployments at Greenham Common and how her work to raise awareness about nuclear threats around the world contributed to the formation of ICAN.

Also on Saturday 1 June, Salisbury Playhouse hosts a debate entitled Sixteen which asks how a lowering of the voting age to 16 would affect parliament and key campaign issues. Leading the debate will be Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party.

On Sunday 2 June, poet Antony Owen, singer-songwriter Grace Petrie and film-maker Pete Bishop will discuss the galvanising power of music and words while also performing examples from their own repertoire.

Also on Sunday 2 June, Iain Harvey producer of When The Wind Blows will join director Lizzie Minnion (Stranger on the Bridge) and Yves Degryse, artistic leader of Zvizdal, to discuss the ability film has to engage emotion and affect political and social debate.

Other previously announced events which will form part of the Festival of Ideas include Collisions, a virtual reality journey into the homeland of a remote tribe in Western Australia whose first experience of the developed world was witnessing an atomic test in the 1960s; Zvizdal, a multimedia performance about a real life couple who refused to leave Chernobyl; films When The Wind Blows and Threads and talks by climatologist Chris Rapley and author Tim Marshall.

Rebecca Johnson said: “I feel so honoured to contribute to Salisbury’s Festival of Ideas.  Seeing the first pictures of the blue-green Earth from space when I was a teenager made me very conscious that we must take care of our beautiful, precious home. I want to bring people together to hear the thinkers and artists who are informing and inspiring everyone to stop climate destruction and the deadly weapons and wars that blight the Earth. It's not just about the problems, but about finding the solutions. By engaging hearts and minds together, I hope we'll be able to take the necessary steps to protect this amazing and fragile home we all share.”

Click here to download the full Festival  of Ideas programme.

Tickets are on sale now and can be booked by calling Ticket Sales on 01722 320333 or by visiting www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk.  


For press enquiries please contact Lucy Rouse, PR & Communications Officer, on 01722 345166 or press@wiltshirecreative.co.uk.

Notes to Editors:

Salisbury International Arts Festival blazed into life in 1973 with a thrilling artistic programme that captured the hearts and minds of Salisbury. Since then, successive inspirational Festival Directors have built upon that original offer ensuring that, for two weeks every year, the buildings, streets and open spaces of the city have been alive with creativity and artistic excellence.

In 2019 the Festival enters a new stage in its evolution as part of Wiltshire Creative. As part of that evolution, Jonathan Dove, one of Britain’s finest contemporary composers, is Guest Festival Director.