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Interview with Sally Taylor, Director of Inside Out Festival

17 October 2013 Charlie Kenber

We spoke to Executive Director Sally Taylor ahead of the festival showcasing the contribution of London’s universities to the city’s cultural life…

London Calling: How did the Festival originally come about?

Sally Taylor: We wanted to highlight the contribution that our Universities make to the cultural and creative life of the capital.  Universities are increasingly opening their events to the general public, and the Inside Out Festival is very much at the heart of that.  It is part of an ongoing process to continue to reach out to show people what is available from Universities right on their doorsteps.

LC: What was the original motivation in setting it up?

ST: We believed that Universities could do more to engage with the public, and by showcasing this over a short period of time such as a Festival, we could celebrate the work that they are already doing, as well as the range of fantastic cultural institutions they work with in London, hence the range of famous venues taking part.

LC: What kind of people do you think it appeals to?

ST: We have more or less something for everyone – some of the events are going to be challenging and some of them will be fun and most of them are free. The festival presents a diverse range of walks, talks, screenings, workshops, events, exhibitions and performances across the capital, and we recommend people take a look at our programme and find something that stimulates and inspires them. There’s plenty there, we guarantee!

LC: How has the Festival changed/developed over the past four years?

ST: We have increased the breadth of what we programme to include walks and a huge number of exhibitions and partnerships. We also host a number of very accessible scientific events, such as the cult hit from New York - Story Collider, where people come together to tell stories about how science has influenced their daily lives. Also we do recommend checking out Professor Peter McOwan’s Maths and Computing Magic Show – it’s a wonderful show that uses magic tricks to show how the brain works.

LC: How do you go about programming the Festival? Are you still adding events?

ST: We take ideas from academics and a variety of cultural and creative organisations – as it happens, we have just completed the programme for this year and also just confirmed the 1st event for 2014!

LC: There are a huge number of higher education institutions in London. Do you think universities make enough of a contribution to London’s culture? Could they do more to reach out?

ST: Universities mostly run a great number of events that are open to the public (for example, Guildhall has a year round programme of events) and we hope the festival will make people more aware of this, and encourage them to discover more.

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Sally’s top picks for this year:

Inside Out Festival Opening Debate: Failure – What’s it good for?
Mon 21 October 2013, 6.30pm - 7.45pm

Bending Light (cover image)
Dan Shorten will be using digital animation to illuminate the façade of the king’s Building on the Strand Campus Quad, using a technique known as Project Mapping, the building will distort and transform in front of your eyes!
21st – 24th October

Philosophers on Failure Series
Leading philosophers from King’s College London will discuss aspects of failure in a series of informal and inclusive salons.
Wed 23 October 2013, 6.30pm for a 7pm start

Decline of the Theatre Director
A group of leading theatre directors and designers including Jenny Sealey (Graeae, and co-director of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony) David Gilmore (Executive Artistic Director,  St. James’s Theatre) and Tobias Hoheisel (Glyndebourne, National Theatre, English National Opera) and Mischa Twitchin, co-founder of Shunt will discuss the position of the theatre director in making modern theatre.
Tue 22 October 2013, 6pm - 7.30pm

Good For You? Branding Guinness
Dr Stella Moss, an expert on drinking cultures, with a particular interest in gender, takes a fresh look at the history of the iconic brand.
Wed 23 October 2013

The Middle East: News and Narratives
Professor Rosemary Hollis asks how we disentangle “news” from media reports that are framed in terms of one of other of the competing narratives about what’s happening in the Middle East.
Thu 24 October 2013, 7pm to 8.30pm

Story Collider
A cult hit arriving from New York, six people tell true, personal science stories from scientists and non-scientists alike, to show how science has ha an impact no their lives.
Thu 24 October 2013, 7pm to 8.45pm

’Til the Black Lady Sings: Indigenous Voices for Twenty-First Century Opera
A discussion and excerpts from Australia’s first indigenous opera, Pecan Summer, accompanied by Deborah Cheetham, the world’s first classically trained indigenous opera singer in Australia.
Fri 25 October 2013, 7.30–8.30pm

The Inside Out Festival runs from Monday 21st to Sunday 27th October. Most events are free, and booking is required for all. Further details available on the website.

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