The art of a culture of hope


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 promoters: download the touring pack.

For more information on this project, please contact Mary Osborn at


Politik im Freien Theater
MUNICH Germany
Short Theatre
ROME Italy
ZURICH Switzerland
Théâtre Vidy
LAUSANNE Switzerland
Vooruit, Dr Guislain Hospital
GHENT Belgium
No Limits Festival, HAU
BERLIN Germany
Steirischer Herbst
GRAZ Austria
RIGA Latvia
Far Festival
NYON Switzerland
B-Sides Festival
LUCERNE Switzerland
Roxy Theater
BASEL Switzerland
ZURICH Switzerland
Photo by the vacuum cleaner

Photo by the vacuum cleaner

Photo by Jessica Huber

Photo by Jessica Huber

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