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Southbank Centre opens Festival of the World for Diamond Jubilee weekend

  • Date: 1 June 2012
  • Area: London

Today Southbank Centre opens its site-wide Festival of the World which runs until 9 September 2012. 

The festival, a celebration of the power of art to transform lives, opens for the Diamond Jubilee weekend with the unveiling of an outdoor landscape.

From robots climbing the Hayward Gallery and giant children's blocks revealing hidden messages, to a huge baobab tree sculpture and the lush Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, the festival transforms Southbank Centre's 21-acre site with an array of installations, each with its own unique story.

Highlights from the festival landscape include a new social space - the Festival Village - where artists, participants and partners can meet each other and exchange ideas; and the Festival of the World Museum, located in the Royal Festival Hall.

Through a series of immersive and interactive environments, the museum presents exhibits about educational visionaries including Pierre de Coubertin, the McMillan sisters and Arnold J.Toynbee; offers insights into inspirational projects from around the world, including Venezuela's El Sistema; as well as giving context to festival's outdoor art installations.

During the summer more than 4,000 artists, poets, writers and performers from 195 countries will take part in hundreds of Festival of the World events, many of which are free, and each with an international flavour.

Programme highlights include Poetry Parnassus (26 June - 1 July), a world record breaking gathering of poets from around the world; and Africa Utopia (3 - 28 July), a month-long festival showing what Africa has to offer the world through music, dance, literature and debates. Both of these are part of the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: 'Our festival champions the idea that art holds the key to unlocking the imagination and can be a powerful agent for social change by highlighting projects that are transforming lives.

'From across all continents, we are bringing together thousands of artists involved in working with and inspiring communities in a vastly eclectic range of projects, activities, performances and exhibitions.'

For more information visit the Southbank Centre website.