26 and Bloomsbury Festival

About Bloomsbury Festival

Established in 2006, Bloomsbury Festival is a creative explosion of arts, culture and science.  For ten days each October, the streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories and public and private buildings of this vibrant cultural quarter play host up to 130 events which attract a significant audience from across London and beyond.

With a unique blend of academic institutions, businesses, cultural organisations and diverse communities, Bloomsbury has been a catalyst for ideas that have had impact across the world for hundreds of years.  Bloomsbury Festival celebrates contemporary Bloomsbury; a hotbed of creativity and pioneering development which has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the country.

The Festival works with many large and small partners to create and deliver its annual programme.  More than simply a showcase for the area, instead Bloomsbury Festival acts as a catalyst bringing together artists and academics, scientists and dancers, musicians, publishers and school pupils to make new projects and to inspire and learn from each other.

26 & Bloomsbury Festival

26 has partnered with the festival since 2019 to host writers in residence and to run 26 projects based in the area.

Writers in residence

Members from 26 attended festival events daily to write creatively, engagingly and objectively about everything they see going on around them. A writer observes events of their choice each day, to think and write, to provide a personal viewpoint on what is happening day by day. They write on the day, and file their entry by 10pm; it then goes live on the Bloomsbury Festival website the next morning.

Read the resulting pieces by year:

Festival projects

2022 partnership with Foundling Museum

26 Orphans was an exhibition inspired by the Foundling Museum and the poet Lemn Sissay, himself an orphan.

Lemn thought of fictional characters who were orphaned or fostered in childhood, and their names appear on the walls of the museum.

In this special exhibition, part of the 2022 Bloomsbury Festival, writers from 26 drew on and added to that list. In 26 Orphans the writers have chosen their own favourite fictional characters – from books, film, drama and folk tale. They have each written from the viewpoint of that character in a form called the sestude – exactly 62 words.

Read the pieces here.

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