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The art of a culture of hope


Photo by the vacuum cleaner
2017 – 2018

It is difficult to look into the future without fear. 

The artist J&J (Jessica Huber and James Leadbitter aka the vacuum cleaner) refuse to be governed by the politics of fear. Therefore, in 2016, they launched a long-term investigation of our system of values. They initiated a dialogue about fear, hope and the future, asking “Where is the hope?” and “Where in our society is there ‘space for potential’?” 

Through this dialogue they created three forms: a performance evening Tender Provocation of Hope and Fear, a series of workshops Space for Hope and an Archive of Hope and Fear

A Space for Hope

We need a bit of ‘space’ and a lot of hope – a Space for Hope! We also need space for fear, to talk about it and understand what it does to us. These workshops are a process of speaking and listening to experiences of hope, fear and what they both can do. Through a process of informal workshops J&J ask groups and individuals to engage in dialogue and exchange to consider questions such has ‘What does hope smell like?’, ‘What does fear taste like?’, ‘What cause your fear?’ and end with the task ‘Create an article for your constitution that is hopeful or confronts fear in your society.’

A Sharing

A sharing of the ideas and process behind the art of a culture of hope project in an informal performance lecture style. Jessica and James talk about how the project developed and share questions, stories and experiences that have emerged out of the Space for Hope workshops in each place that the project has travelled, with a particular focus on the stories that have emerged in that particular site (if combined with Space for Hope workshops). It begins with a sharing ritual (for example, a silent walk) and an ending ritual (usually a collectively made fire). This welcomes the audience into a certain state of calm, creating an environment that feels like a place to stay and talk, and an experience that is shared.

Tender Provocations of Hope and Fear

An evening of informal sharing and exchange that is part theatre, part cabaret, part lecture provocations and part concert. In each location, J&J curate a specific set of artist/thinkers/doers who make work about hope and fear today, or who have close personal experience with the subject (aiming for a mix of international and local). Presented in a non-traditional environment the evening creates a unique atmosphere that supports a caring, critical and activating approach. Previous artists have included Kim Noble, Reverend Janet Ashton, Jeremy Wade, Tourettes Hero and Sarah Vanhee. The performances end with music, drinks and soup.

For more information on this project download the touring pack or contact Mary Osborn at

Date Title Venue City
2–3 November 2018 The art of a culture of hope Politik im Freien Theater Munich
7–11 September 2018 The art of a culture of hope Short Theatre Rome
3–15 June 2018 the art of a culture of hope: Archive of Hope and Fear Gessnerallee Zurich
25 April 2018 the art of a culture of hope Théâtre Vidy Lausanne
21–25 November 2017 the art of a culture of hope Vooruit, Dr Guislain Hospital Ghent
7–11 November 2017 the art of a culture of hope No Limits Festival, HAU Berlin
28–30 September 2017 The Art of a Culture of Hope Steirischer Herbst Graz
8 September 2017 the art of a culture of hope HOMO NOVUS Riga
10–14 August 2017 The Art of a Culture of Hope: A Sharing Far Festival Nyon
15–17 June 2017 The Art of a Culture of Hope B-Sides Festival Lucerne
2 June 2017 The Art of a Culture of Hope Roxy Theater Basel
10 May 2017 The Art of a Culture of Hope Gessnerallee Zurich
Photo by the vacuum cleaner