About Elements

Elements is a brand-new festival celebrating age and diversity, with events in venues across Cumbria. Piloted in October 2016, the festival commissions and incorporates high-quality arts productions and programmes across Cumbria, involving local artists, organisations and communities as well as attracting visitors from around the UK.

Elements’ key values are:

  • Quality at the core of the programme;
  • Inclusive, of different genders, sexualities, ethnicities and abilities in the development and delivery of the festival;
  • Relevant to the local people of Cumbria as well as to the wider population in the UK;
  • Non-Political – although political events might be included, Elements is not a political event.

Why Elements

Elements started as a legacy for CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria – a project involving elder LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans*) people in and from Cumbria. From the research and consultation, we have found that LGBT groups are of tremendous value in supporting LGBT people; but there are also many, especially in the more mature age groups, who would just like to socialise or enjoy life in a relaxed, comfortable and inclusive environment.

While the LGBT and other minority groups are often tackling issues, campaigning for equality, and helping people through their hard times; Elements will be a festival celebrating the creativity, enjoyment and achievements.

For its pilot year, Elements sat within OutREACH Cumbria – the most established LGBT charity in Cumbria. The festival was delivered and managed by a small production team with support from the OutREACH Cumbria committee.

In the long term, Elements aims to:

  1. Benefit the social lives and wellbeing of older people in Cumbria and raise the awareness of diversity in the older population;
  2. Establish Cumbria as an exciting cultural destination for 50+ visitors from around the UK;
  3. Encourage locally-based artists and organisations to explore new ways of developing and producing work.

© images above courtesy of Lakes Culture: Jerwood Centre, Wordsworth Trust

Who is Behind This?

Tonia Lu – Producer

Tonia oversees the development and programming of Elements. Her experience and expertise lie in arts, cultural tourism and community development in rural places. Tonia has set up and worked on festivals and art projects, including the Environmental Art Festival Scotland, Spring Show Programme and socially-engaged artist in residence projects in Aberdeenshire and Dumfries & Galloway. She started working in Cumbria as the Project Coordinator for CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria project, and has been working between the cultural and voluntary sectors across the region.

Tonia was awarded a PhD in Cultural Policy from Glasgow University for her research in arts development & policy in rural Scotland. She is also a skilled web designer and online marketing manager specialising in the arts and cultural sectors.

Matthew Shelley – PR Manager

Matthew manages the festival’s PR and marketing campaigns. He is a communications and PR specialist working in the arts and cultural sectors. His clients have included many well-known organisations, festivals and events – including Historic Scotland, Spring Fling, Big Burns Supper and Wasps artists’ studios. The first half of Matthew’s 25-year career was spent in journalism and he has worked for many leading titles, including as a Scotsman news editor and as features editor of the Bristol Evening Post.

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