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D I G I T A L F E S T I V A L 2 0 2 0


Produced by The South Westminster Community Festival Charity


Dear Friends of the Festival, 2020 has been an unusual year thus far, for all of us. No one could have truly predicted the devastating impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic across the world and the long lasting implications it will have on our local communities. Between March and April 2020, as the impact of Covid 19 was starting to be fully understood in the UK, here at SouthWestFest the trustees and staff were having hard conversations about the future of the festival. With advice from Westminster City Council we made the difficult decision to cancel all physical events we had planned for 2020, which also resulted in a financial loss for the charity. However, we strongly felt that despite cancelling our plans for the physical festival, it was still very important for the charity to find a way to reach our local communities and support them during this difficult time. Our first plan of action was to utilise our audience reach via our social media platforms, to help promote our partner organisations and local groups highlighting the important emergency funding, services and resources available to people living in south Westminster. Our second plan was to consider how to develop the idea of producing SouthWestFest festival as a digital online event rather than a physical one, so we could continue our charitable mission to support people living in south Westminster and highlight and showcase the services of local charities, and 3rd sector organisations through our festival events. Due to the cancellation of our physical festival, we lost all our sponsorship income, and were unable to apply for funding to support some of the usual festival project costs, and funding we had already received for our 2020 physical events was put on hold until 2021. However, thanks to The Pimlico Million, a small pot of funding originally ring-fenced for a community event was converted into match funding to support the costs of producing a Digital Festival instead.

With this support, at the end of May 2020 we were able to forge ahead with the development of our first ever SouthWestFest Digital Festival. As with our physical festival, we planned a curated and commissioned programme of events (online) working with local partners and practitioners. These events acted as an exciting ‘hook’ to attract audiences to the festival programme. Alongside our curated programme, we also continued with our usual festival format by hosting an open access programme, where local partners, organisations and groups could join SouthWestFest by registering their own (online) events and activities as part of the festival. We also decided to keep the original 2020 festival theme of ‘Happiness’ as we wanted our Digital Festival to act as a positive force in the community, celebrating events, activities and people and places which make us happy, supporting positive wellbeing, mental and physical health. Despite the short time frame for development and delivery (May - July 2020) and working with a much reduced budget, we managed to produce a fantastic inaugural Digital Festival, involving 26 local partner organisations and groups, working with 8 practitioners and facilitators and 23 local artists. Our final Digital Festival programme featured an incredible 82 online events and activities which took place between the 6th and 12th of July. We also partnered with City Lion’s Digital Festival which was taking place simultaneously to copromote and feature special events aimed specifically at young people within the Westminster area. The Digital Festival reached an online audience of thousands of people from across Westminster and the wider area, through a blended delivery of online events, video classes and a socially distanced physical art trail in the Pimlico area. We are pleased that SouthWestFest this year has managed to continue to be a real testament to community collaboration and cultural celebration. We have learnt a lot through the process of delivering a Digital Festival and we plan to offer a blended delivery of both physical and digital events as part of future editions of SouthWestFest festival. Although SouthWestFest has faced huge challenges this year, our Digital Festival has provided us with a stepping stone towards bringing back our physical festival in the years to come. Joanna Hedges Festival Director



Each year SouthWestFest produces an open access festival programme that supports and encourages local organisations, groups and individuals to create their own special events, workshops and projects as part of the festival programme, this year was no different as we hosted an open acesss programme as part of our first ever Digital Festival. Our open access programme was a big success with 26 local organisations hosting a wide range of online events as part of the festival programme from Family First Aid to Virtual Tours of the National Gallery and live streamed concerts.

SouthWestFest also curates and commissions a programme of cultural, educational and wellbeing events, with this year's highlights including Pimlico's first ever Art Trail produced with cave, Make a Wish Upon a Star Origami workshop with world renowned artist Coco Sato as well as Instruction to Happiness, a 3 month project run with the community resulting in a video art installation to close the festival.

DIGITAL COMMISSIONSÂ SouthWestFest worked with local partners , facilitators and artists to deliver 11 commissioned special online events and digital projects.

Commissioned Onine Events & Workshops

93 online zoom event bookings

Grow - A - Story Storytelling workshops with Arkem Mark Walton Stand Up Comedy Workshop and Performance Comedy workshop for young people, followed by open performance co-presented with City Lion’s Digital Festival and run by StandUpComedy4Kids Move to Happy Fun Fitness Class to be done sitting down or standing up, for all ages run by Brian Socca Happy Body Fitness Fun Fitness Class for families to do together, run by Brian Socca Wish Upon A Star Origami Origami Star making workshop, led by awardwinning artist Coco Sato, aimed and adults and young people Social Sketch Up A fun and relaxed group portrait drawing class for adults led by Sketch Appeal Commissioned Online and Physical Art Trail Co-curated with cave, and was presented with 23 local artists, consisting of an Online Art Trail Exhibition, Onfoot Art Trail and Guided Tour

4500 online video views

Commissioned Videos Grow a Story Video Project Healthy Eat and Cook Class video with Community Champions Get Crafty 3 part video series with Pimlico Picassos Instruction to Happiness a durational community live art project Wish Upon a Star Origami Instruction video

25 physical attendees to guided tour

OPENACCESS PROGRAMME PARTNERS Sold Out Highlights included: Virtual Tour - A Wander Through the Abbey, Westminster Abbey Families & Monkey Music's FREE interactive online session for a magical musical trip to the seaside!

It was fantastic to see that partners old and new were still excited to take part in the festival in this new digital format. We saw an increase in partners from previous years, 3 more than 2019 and 6 more than 2018 with a total of 26 this year, a quarter of which were new. With thanks to the following partners for joining us in our first Digital Festival this year:

Abundance Arts | British Lung Foundation | Capella Silverangel (Artist) | Cave | Co-op | Dream Arts | Flamenco con Gusto | Green Opera | Heaven’s Gate Mission | In Love with London | In-Deep | London Early Years Foundation | Monkey Music Chelsea and Westminster | Henry ScottIrvine | Open Age | Pimlico Musical Foundation | St. Saviour’s Church | St. Vincent’s Family Project | Starling Arts | The Abbey Centre | Victoria Business Improvement District | Westminster Adult Education Service | Westminster City Council, City Lions | Westminster Abbey | Westminster City Libraries and Archives | Westminster School of Performing Arts

OPEN-ACCESS PROGRAMME PARTNERS FEEDBACK “I think given the time frame you put together an incredible event.”

“I just wanted to say thank you for doing a super job in such difficult times. Well done SouthWestFest, and we all look forward to seeing you next year!"

“We had a really good turn out and...We had a great time running the tours.”

"Thanks again for letting us be a small part of it, we managed to raise £500 and have had over 350 views so far.”

100% of those surveyed said they found our newly developed partners promotion pack useful when promoting their participation in the festival programme

85.7% of those surveyed said they would like to see us include online events listings as part of future festival open access registration alongside physical events

86% of partners surveyed were satisfied or very satisitfied with their experience in taking part in the digital festival

86% of those surveyed agreed that SouthWestFest provides an opportunity for charities, businesses and community organisations to reach out to a wider audience in their area

100% of participants surveyed were very satisfied with the quality of the online digital workshops and events they took part in

Interestingly when we asked participants if they prefer to attend digital events online or physical events in person 60% answered either, and 40% answered they preferred online

100% of participants polled during online events, said that they had learnt or improved on a skill whilst taking part

90% of participants surveyed said they would definitely like to attend a SouthWestFest event again

PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK “After three months of homeschooling I am really wishing the schools used methods like Arkem's to encourage storytelling. It was SO refreshing to have my child's imagination engaged.”

““It was a very good tutorial. Very good teacher and organiser. Thank you.”

“Thanks so much for last night’s fun! Had a great time with you lovely group of ladies, could have happily carried on for many more hours.”

“ I thought the workshop was wonderful, you created an encouraging, safe and accessible online space and I learnt loads about origami!"






Twitter reach

Facebook reach

Unique website visits

82 Linked Twitter posts by partners

#SWFestHappiness 32 uses

#SWFDigiFest 41 uses

122 Linked Facebook posts by partners


Thanks to the match funding offered by Pimlico Million, and the format in which our commissioned programme events took, this year's Digital Festival has created legacy projects and resources which will be hosted on our website ongoing. Grow-A-Story The Grow-A-Story workshop run with artist and storyteller Arkem Mark Walton, inspired many of the children taking part to continue writing their stories once the workshop had finished. On our Digital Festival Projects web page we have had the opportunity to host one video story, one 12 page written story, and two story pictures which were created by the children participating in the workshops. These are really incredible pieces of work and wonderful to read and listen to, you can find them below. Online Art Trail Gallery Although our on foot Art Trail of artist's work in windows and outside public spaces has now finished, we are still hosting an online gallery, exhibiting the Art Trail work ongoing. We have already had many requests from the artists involved in the Art Trail and the public to continue and build on the event for 2021, and look forward to working with the local artistic community to develop the idea. Wish Upon A Star Origami Instruction Video Our Wish Upon A Star Origami workshop with international and award-winning artist Coco Sato, was one of our most popular digital workshops during the festival. Coco kindly followed up the workshop with an instructional origami video so those who were unable to attend the workshop online event could still take part and learn how to make an origami star.


Healthy Cook and Eat Class We teamed up with the Community Health Champions and The Abbey Centre to create a fun online cookery class video, including a 3 course and refreshing fruit drink recipe, with tasty and nutritionally balanced food. As part of the video release we also held a competition encouraging participants to share their own creations! The cookery class recipe video will continue to be hosted online via our website so that it can be accessed as a resource for our festival audiences ongoing. Happiness Bunting Project Over the course of the festival, local family art group Pimlico Picassos created 3 art and craft’s videos for us, providing instructions on how to create happiness bunting which could be hung up in windows to brighten up the local neighborhoods.These videos are now hosted on our website, so that it can be accessed as a resource for our festival audiences ongoing. Instruction to Happiness IInstruction to Happiness was a 3 month digital live art project - a community based project created by Dodie Finamore and featuring people who live and work in the SW1 area. Dodie collaborated with local people to create an 'instruction manual’ on how to perform happiness via surveying of their experiences, and then worked more closely with 7 local participants on their responses to the instruction manual resulting in a 15 minute video installation. The final video was broadcast, closing our Digital Festival and the video remains hosted on our website showcasing this community collaboration.

Funded By

Produced by The South Westminster Community Festival Charity

Profile for SouthWestFest

SouthWestFest Digital Festival Impact Report  

SouthWestFest Digital Festival Impact Report  


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