Utopia Now!


Sat 06 July -
Sat 06 July

Starting time

10am-1pm webBreak 2-6pm

Running time

3 hours


The Grand Hall webBreak The Whitworth, Oxford Road, M15 6ER

Unreserved Seating

Price range

£8 webBreak £2 transaction fee per order (no per ticket fee)


Access information

Utopia Now!
Saturday 6 July, 10am–1pm, 2-6pm.

The first of our three Interdependence Saturday Summits is about the scale of the transformation needed at this critical moment in human history.

The problems we face are global – and often, as individuals, it’s easy to feel hopeless. When bold utopian visions are offered, from a society without work to a ‘green new deal’, they’re often dismissed as fantasies. So are we dreaming too big or too small?

Responding to the theme of utopian thinking that has inspired Rimini Protokoll’s Utopolis Manchester  at MIF19, we’re welcoming radical thinkers and inspirational doers for a day of practical everyday advice on how to completely change the world – from rebooting democracy to ending inequality and averting climate catastrophe.

Morning session – 10am–1pm
In the morning session, hosted by VICE’s Zing Tsjeng, we look at radical ideas for changing our politics and our society. Girl Gang Manchester, a collective of female artists, activists and party instigators who pride themselves on oiling the wheels of social change, will help bring you into the conversation.

How do we fix democracy?
Brett Hennig, author of The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy, argues we need to replace politicians with randomly selected members of the public

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, makes the case for politicians that represent the unborn

Rimini Protokoll, German theatre-makers behind Utopolis Manchester at MIF19, discuss testing utopian ideals through artistic practice

How do we fix inequality?
The Advocacy Academy, a programme for young leaders from marginalised communities, shows how to give the disenfranchised tools to help them become change-makers

Dr Johnna Montgomerie, author of Should We Abolish Household Debts?, talks about how we could end unfairness in society with one new law

Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray, New York-based dancer-choreographer, and spoken word collective Young Identity, respectively the choreographer and writers of Alphabus at MIF19

How do we fix our histories?
Kwame Kwei-Armah, co-creator (with Idris Elba) of Tree for MIF19, talks to Kemang Wa Lehulere, artist in residence at MIF19, about South Africa as muse and the concept of ‘utopia’ in relation to personal and collective histories

Afternoon session – 2–6pm
In the afternoon, Zing Tsjeng will be joined by a wide variety of contributors to look at our communities, our culture and our ecology – and reclaiming our world for us.

How do we reclaim our planet?
Mary Robinson, former Irish President and climate justice and human rights pioneer, and Tessa Khan, climate change lawyer, on the feasibility of solving climate change

How do we reclaim our culture?
John Harris, Guardian journalist, Agata Pyzik, journalist and author of Poor But Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West, and Dave Haslam, legendary Manchester party-starter, on the politics of raving and how to recover a sense of optimism in the ‘age of anxiety’

Ibrahim Mahama, visual artist and the creator of Parliament of Ghosts at MIF19, on building spaces for radical expression

How do we reclaim our communities?
Homebaked, award-winning bakery and community land trust, on how to transform your high street

Something & Son design collective on how to build your own tower block

The Advocacy Academy’s housing team on how they secured a £5.1m piece of land for free – and how you can do the same

How do we reclaim our humanity?
Baljeet Sandhu, knowledge equity pioneer and the LEx Elders launch the UK Lived Experience Movement (LEx Move), a growing network of social leaders who are driving positive social change in the UK and beyond; co-presented with Gemma Mortensen, co-founder of More in Common and New Constellations

Tania Bruguera, artist and the creator of School of Integration at MIF19

Produced by Manchester International Festival in partnership with New Constellations and Goethe-Institut London, and in association with The Whitworth. 

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