Our programme will combine the accessible with the challenging, and explore the relationship between the arts and engineering – artists as engineers, engineers as artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to the work of contemporary artists.

The programme will focus on, reflect, or be inspired by five key themes:

  • The life and flying achievements of Amy Johnson
    Telling her story, key moments in her life, her personal struggles and achievements
  • Women’s equality and liberation
    Amy Johnson’s own campaign for women’s equality particularly at work, wider issues of women’s equality and liberation then and now, in the UK and in societies around the world (especially those with which we achieve cultural exchanges). A sub-theme of this is women in engineering and science, again, her notable role, the potential for her as a role model to introduce more young women to engineering and science.
  • The freedom of the skies – the growth and impact of aviation
    The role of aviation in international communications, in widening horizons, making the world a smaller and more accessible place for many more people. Aircraft engineering, the physics of flight.
  • The culture of the 1930s
    Music, fashions, literature, visual arts, architecture, domestic life – aspects of Thirties
  • World cultures – then and now
    Reflections on culture, society and politics in the countries and continents at the time of Amy’s flight in 1930, or on the situation today.

Programme elements will include:

  • Cultural exchanges with some of the locations where she landed to re-fuel on her record breaking solo flight from England to Australia – Vienna, Istanbul, Aleppo, Baghdad, Karachi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Surabaya, Singapore, Darwin, Brisbane. Exchanges could be two way, with artists from partner cities creating or presenting work in Hull and vice versa.
  • New and revived high calibre, events, performances, commissions and exhibitions, across all art forms linking to the main themes – ideas being explored include
  • a major site specific performance by Ensemble 52
  • an exhibition of contemporary British art of the period,
  • the opera ‘Amy’s Last Dive’ to be performed at Hull Truck,
  • a biographical exhibition – A Portrait of Amy – sourced from extensive Hull Daily Mail archives and beyond,
  • Flight Path – a commissioned suite of music and visual imagery reflecting the countries on her route to Australia,
  • ‘Engineered’ – a major exhibition of sculpture with Leonardo da Vinci ‘flying machines’ as the centrepiece augmented with work by contemporary artists for whom engineering is central to their practice.
  • Touring plays inspired by Amy’s life
  • Outdoor spectaculars linked Freedom Festival
  • Historic bi-plane flypast, kite festivals, drones and remote controlled aircraft displays
  • Artists in residence with engineering companies and educational and training institutions.
  • A Moth for Amy – a ‘multiples’ mass engagement public art project animating the streets of Hull and wider afield with artist decorated moths almost 1500mm wide. (see dedicated ‘A Moth for Amy’ webpage)
  • A rich education and cultural diversity programme for schools exploring the main festival themes across many curriculum areas but with a particular focus on enthusing young women about careers in engineering.