Gloucester’s thriving History Festival makes history of its own this year and announces some of its first ever programme of digital online events.


Following the most recent Covid-19 Government advice Festival managers have made the decision to deliver not only the City Voices element of the festival online, but the renowned Blackfriars talks programme as well.

Festival Manager Jacqui Grange said: “We believe with careful planning we will achieve same level of professionalism expected of the Festival with our online content. We are putting together an extraordinary programme of events which will not only encompass the City Voices programmes, but the Blackfriars talks too, with some elements of the Heritage Open Days programme also being available online.

The impressive and digital City Voices programme includes highlights such as:

Kingsholm Looking Up by artist Ellie Shipman; an illustrated guide to the people and places of Kingsholm where people will be able to visit the area, follow a walking trail map and ‘look up’ to see vinyl illustrations in the windows across the route.

Take it to the Cleaners by artist Hanna Thomson; celebrating the unsung heroes of heritage and ensuring they are recognised for the invaluable work they do. At this online event, audiences will hear about their favourite objects or parts of the heritage sites they clean as well as their own experiences and stories

You called: we came! by Diverse-city; a project that works across the whole festival resulting in an interactive map which people can follow that raises the profile of BAME heritage across the city. This projects also includes a film about the All Nations Community Centre

Gloucester Firsts by Rider Shafique and Tarsier Films; who present two short documentaries which explore Black History through telling the stories of firsts. The first Mosque and first Black Business. The films will include interviews with key community members and will look at the importance and influence of heritage and how people connected to these venues and businesses have continued to support the BAME community today

BSL tour of Gloucester by Deaf artist Olivier Jamin and Christina Wheeler; who present a unique and engaging response to 2-3 sites across the city in BSL with subtitles for hearing audiences

Tales from the Cross by Jarek Adams; who presents an interactive audio experience designed to stimulate individuals into thinking about their city, its past, present and future and their part in its story.

We See Gloucester (Do you see us?): The city through the lens of black photographers; Rider Shafique poignantly explores identity, culture and heritage through face coverings in a series of photographs of Gloucester people taken during lockdown.

This City Voices content will be available on the Festival website ( for festival goers online from the launch of the Festival on Saturday 5 – Sunday 20 September. The new website is expected to launch by mid-August.

Festival Managers are still finalising details of the now online programme of Blackfriars events; details of which will be announced shortly.

The festival will begin as usual with Gloucester Day, masterminded as always by Town Crier Alan Myatt on Saturday 5 September, and the Heritage Open Days programme, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year will still continue in a socially distanced manner.

Despite the consequences of Covid-19 this 10th year of Gloucester History Festival promises to be the best and most innovative year yet. 

Gloucester History Festival celebrates stories of the past that are told around the world, in a way that is relevant to people today, but it is a festival very much rooted in Gloucester. Telling the stories of people from the City, who continue to make it such a vibrant, interesting, colourful and special place to live and work is equally important.

Gloucester History Festival is supported by Gloucester City Council and Historic England.

Notes to Editors

For more information, further images and to book interviews contact Beckie Smith:

The theme of this year’s festival will be Voyagers and Visionaries to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America in September 1620. Telling stories of discovery, migration, identity and discovery it reveals how journeys near and far have shaped our past.

Gloucester History Festival is doing everything it can to deliver some elements of a live programme across the 2 week festival which runs from Saturday September 5 to Sunday September 20 this year, but inevitably, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be much changed with significant online and digital contributions for the first time. A new website (www.gloucester will be launched soon, and people are encouraged to check it regularly as content will be added on a rolling basis.

As part of the City Voices element of the festival, Historic England has made a grant to the city to inspire a citywide heritage response to COVID-19.  Entitled ‘Gloucester Looking Up’ it will encourage communities to look up at the buildings, look up online, look up their heritage and ensure that Gloucester’s built and lived heritage is part of a shared recovery.