Wiltshire Creative brings together Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse


Wiltshire Creative brings together Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse. In 2020 Wiltshire Creative joined Culture Declares Emergency in declaring a climate and ecological emergency.

SHIFT is a commitment from Wiltshire Creative to engage, listen and respond to the voices of young people in the region.

Launched in 2021 as a vehicle for change that recognises the need to champion the voices of young people, SHIFT serves as a platform for exciting and new ideas around our futures by placing young people at the heart of the decision-making and creative process.

SHIFT sets out to broadcast these voices throughout the community, bringing them to new and broader audiences and fostering a rich and powerful cross-generational, cross-sectoral dialogue that is always open, curious, challenging and creative. 

Relationships include Wiltshire Climate Alliance,  Transition City Salisbury, Salisbury City Council and Wiltshire Council. ( NB. Wiltshire Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is now rated the fifth best unitary authority for climate change strategies. Its new Leader Richard Clewer has been named co-president of the UK’s only local authority climate network. He is a great supporter of the arts and their role in activating change)

Over the past year, one leading issue emerged through SHIFT’s work with young people,  including “Off Your Chest” – the climate and ecological emergency. Responding to the voices of young people, SHIFT is currently focussing on this through their programme for the Salisbury International Festival 2022.

Wiltshire Creative is a member of the Wiltshire and Swindon Educational Partnership that aims to improve educational, cultural and social outcomes for children and young people through broadening effective interaction between Cultural Organisations (including libraries, arts and heritage) and Schools in places where it is most needed. SHIFT hopes that resources created through this year’s programme can be used for educational purposes, including lesson plans.


As part of the Salisbury International Arts Festival this year, SHIFT has created a programme of events focussing on the climate and ecological emergency.

Devised by two young SHIFT Associate Artists from the South West, visual artists Ed Scott and theatre director Roisin McKay Hines, and working with Wiltshire Creative’s Young Ambassadors, the weekend includes live music, and exhibitions, performances, creative workshops, talks and film screenings.

Kitchen Island Conversations

Central to the SHIFT Salisbury International Arts Festival programme is Kitchen Island Conversations,  a platform for conversations around the concerns of young people, with a particular focus on the climate crisis but also encompassing mental health, wellbeing, equality and inclusivity.

A portable kitchen island is touring Salisbury during the event, with young people inviting members of the public to participate in conversations about the climate crisis and how they feel about the future. It also has an online presence to capture as many voices as possible.

The main Kitchen Island Conversations event takes place at Salisbury Arts Centre over the weekend of  June 11/12. It includes a series of panel discussions with young artists and activists around the power of culture to contribute to a more regenerative future, alongside creative workshops which offer the opportunity to continue the dialogue over a creative activity.

24-hour plays – a quick-fire response

A team of young writers and dramaturgs will respond to the public’s comments as well as the weekend discussions and workshops by writing, rehearsing and presenting over 24 hours a collection of plays that will be performed the following evening during hour 23 of the project,  a quick-fire response to the themes and actions emerging from the SHIFT project.

Hot Mess is a work in progress created from the previous SHIFT ‘Off Your Chest’ project; it has an ambitious longer-term objective to make a play with a flexible,  responsive and participatory structure   – a model that can be used by youth groups nationally and internationally. Very much in its early stages, the project has the endorsement and support of Caryl Churchill.

Waste Archipelago

boat oil sinking
Gayle Chong Kwan, Crysanthi South Africa 2019, Oil Spill Islands (series), 2021

Internationally recognised artist and winner of the 2019 Sustainable Art Prize from Ca’Foscari University, Venice, Gayle Chong explores societal and bodily relationships to waste, food, trade and travel. Gayle has been working with a group of young artists to facilitate a collaborative extension of her 2019 work Waste Archipelago as part of the Island Life Exhibition at the Arts Centre. An exhibition in Salisbury featuring this work is planned for the Autumn.


The discussions will be audio recorded and podcasts made available. A short film has also been commissioned with highlights from the programme, and this complements excerpts of a movie created by SHIFT in 2021 by a range of South West-based youth arts companies.

The Future

Wiltshire Creative is committed to continuing the work of SHIFT, and the outcomes of the Festival events will dictate the subsequent development. It is an evolutionary process, led by the SHIFT participants and taking into account the response to the work and its impact to date. Young artists always lead SHIFT under 25 in consultation with young community members.

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