Local artists come together for The Embassy of Utopia

9 June 2024 - News

Over 80 artists from across Greater Manchester will come together to share their vision of utopia in this collective performance during the Festival of Libraries 2024.

Artists David Hartley and Henri Hütt have created a space for dreamers, poets, activists, architects, community groups to share ideas that are too important to leave unspoken. We’re thrilled that so many talented Greater Manchester’s artists have enthusiastically taken up the cause to stand up for utopia.

The Universe (Which Others Call ‘The Library’)
The Embassy of Utopia is a space for all our futures.
A place for positive thinking and hopeful visions.
But it cannot open without dreamers at its door.
Join hosts David Hartley & Henri Hütt as they create a pathway from Reality to
Utopia, before cutting the ribbon that holds us away from the future.
Bring nothing but a mind in need of better thoughts.
Bring nothing but yourselves, and your future selves.
Bring your own utopia.

Starting at 10am on Friday 14th June and running until 4pm that day, then 11am-4pm on Saturday 15th, this collective pledge will take place at Manchester Central Library in the performance space. You do not need to book a ticket, but it’s a good idea to do so to let us know so we can plan for audience numbers in advance and to keep you up to date of any potential changes in plans.

At 10am on Friday we will begin outside Manchester Central Library with the opening ceremony, this will be a chance to share your own vision for utopia and to hear more about the unique concept that was devised by Estonian artists Jan Teevet and Oliver Issak as part of the 2023 Prima Vista Literature Festival in Tartu. This is its UK premiere, so come along to find out what Manchester has got to say!

There are two performances from event ambassadors taking place, details of which you’ll find below, plus additional performances on the day include Slamovision Winner 2023 Esther Koch, Multilingual City Poet Ali Al-Jamri, Isabelle Kenyon of Fly On The Wall Press, Comedian Fat Roland, Hayley Flynn of Skyliner, Poets from Young Identity, Musician James Holt, local writers Kate Feld and Lisa O’Hare, plus artists from our Festival of Libraries exhibition Collectives for Change and many, many more!


Ambassador Performance: Friday 14th June 1pm at The Embassy of Utopia
The Book Participates
Tomes will applaud and words will escape. Spines will shiver and pages will flutter. A curious collaboration will emerge; strange new tales of remixed literature from David Hartley, and orchestral movements of books from Henri Hütt. Bring your own books, large and small, and let us explore them together, these artefacts of utopia. ‘The book participates in the creation of you’ – Ursula K. Le Guin.

Embassy of Utopia Ambassador David Hartley, Manchester UK
The Embassy of Utopia Ambassador Henri Hütt, Tartu, Estonia


Ambassador Performance: Saturday 15th June 1pm at The Embassy of Utopia
Mires and Mirrors of Time 
Poets Maarja Pärtna and Penny Boxall join together in their interest in wetlands, how we recover the past, and what we conserve for the future. Maarja’s poetic essay “Utopian Mires” talks about two utopian ideas that have shaped human connection to mires, and the poetics of connecting with wetlands. Penny will read a selection of “Future Folktales”, imagining how our relationship with land and tradition might develop through the stories told in five hundred years’ time. They will be joined by percussionist Jane Boxall.

The Embassy of Utopia Ambassador, Maarja Pärtna, Tartu, Estonia
The Embassy of Utopia Ambassador, Penny Boxhall, Norwich, UK