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    Fairtrade Connections arts festival

    Wednesday, 16 December 2020  |  Joanna

    Fairtrade Connections arts festival

    Last March I met Rosine, a cocoa farmer from Cote d'Ivoire, when she came to visit York as part of a UK tour organised by the Fairtrade Foundation. Shortly after, the country went into lockdown, meaning that Rosine is one of the last people I hugged. 

    Fairtrade Fortnight is the most important time of the fair trade campaigners' calendar, and while there's great news about vaccines, it's become clear that we can expect the virus to still be around until at least Easter. That means Fairtrade Fortnight with its programme of stalls, fairs, coffee mornings, religious services and "Meet the Producer" events has to be very different in 2021. 

    But I'm not one to be deterred, and flush with the success of the Fairtrade Yorkshire virtual conference, and with lots of new friends made during the campaign to keep KitKat Fairtrade, I had an idea to thank and inspire all the amazing fair trade supporters and campaigners who supported the campaign and have been promoting and supporting Fairtrade for many years. I wanted to organise a programme of online events that everyone would be invited to share in, a community arts festival.

    I spoke to lots of groups from Scotland, Wales, London and the South West as well as national campaign groups, BAFTS members and the Fairtrade Foundation and the plan started to form. The theme for the whole of Fairtrade Fortnight is "Choose The World You Want" and has a focus on climate change and the impact on Fairtrade farmers and workers in low income countries.

    The vision was of three main events - focused on visual arts, spoken word and music - and a number of "fringe" events which would be more interactive - craft and dance workshops, cook-alongs etc. 

    I have been blown away by the support I've had from groups and supporters and already - with around ten weeks to go - the festival is taking shape.

    Our confirmed events are:

    Festival Programme

    Monday 22 February - 4.30 - 6pm

    Caribbean chef Euten Lindsay will host a cook-along. Euten was caught up in the Windrush scandal

    Download Euten's recipes here:





    Wednesday 24 February 6-7pm

    Join acclaimed photographer Sean Hawkey as he shares some of the incredible images in his latest book, Faces of Fairtrade. Sean visited Fairtrade farmers across the world and his photos reflect their fascinating lives.

    You can read more about Sean's work on his website: Click here.


    Friday 26 February - 7-8pm

    Join young Ghanaian musician Richard Wiafe - who works at the Fairtrade fruit project Golden Exotics who will share his music and answer questions about his life. He's writing some brand new songs especially for the festival. Richard's university studies are funded through the Fairtrade Premium. Listen to Richard's song Welcome Fairtrade here.

    Watch video about Golden Exotics


    Saturday 27 February - 11-12am

    Fairtrade Taskmaster - Join us for a Saturday morning of Fairtrade themed silliness.

    This event will be fun for all the family. Compete against other families and win Fairtrade prizes.


    Monday 1 March 4.30-6pm

    Cook along with former Bake Off contestant Sandy Docherty

    Join Sandy who will share her recipe for Meat Balls in Spicy Tomato Sauce using ingredients from Fair Trade supplier JTS.


    Friday 5 March - 12 -1pm

    Fairtrade in a time of covid - Join Immaculate Ochieno and Kodzo Korkortsi, Shared Interest's local managers who deal direct with producers in East and West Africa to find out how Fairtrade is supporting women's empowerment and helping producers survive and thrive through covid.

    Book now via eventbrite

    Friday 5 March - 7-8pm

    Welsh poets Zoë Brigley Thompson and Kristian Evans, editors of "100 Poems to Save the Planet" will read from this life-afforming anthology which is due to be published in Spring 2021 by Seren Books.

    They'll be joined by Yorkshire based Clare Shaw, who'll read from her third Bloodaxe collection "Flood" on the themes of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight - "Choose The World You Want" and "Fairtrade, Climate and You".


    Saturday 6 March 11.30-1pm

    Get moving and learn Bollywood and Bhangra dancing with Avtar Panesar the host of our Indian dance workshop


    Donate to our crowdfunder

    All our events are open to everyone and free to attend via Zoom. While most of our participants are generously giving their time, we know that some, especially those from marginalised communities, can't afford to do so. For this reason we're crowdfunding £500 to put the festival on. We're around half way there and would be grateful for anything you are able to donate. If you donate £20 or more you can become an official sponsor, and if you donate £50 or more you can choose to sponsor an individual event.

    Donate here 

    Fair trade is all about making connections, growing support for and knowledge of Fairtrade and fair trade. The fair trade community is so welcoming and supportive, and such great fun that this festival is sure to be a fantastic way to bring us all together virtually even when we can't meet in person.

    I can't wait to see you!