LICAF 2022: Lakes Festival reinvents itself by shore of Bowness-On-Windermere

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The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, celebrating its tenth year in 2022, is an event that has found itself constantly in a state of evolution and development in the face of a shifting comics industry, new talent and approaches and, of course, the pandemic.

Over the years, fans have seen the development of Little LICAF, the Virtual Clock Tower and the online edition of Lakes Festival Live last year, along with burgeoning relationships with some of the biggest and most influential arts festivals around the globe. Well, next year, attendees will see the biggest change yet as Lakes Festival picks up its tent from the city of Kendal and moves to an entirely new locale.

Bowness-On-Windermere, on the shore of Lake Windermere, is located approximately ten miles west of Kendal and the Festival hopes to not only centralise its efforts – while still maintaining its core Angoulême Festival-style vibe – but also attract guests and attendees to the ‘UK’s Lake Como’, a stunning and picturesque part of the world.

From the release we’ve been sent, it looks like Festival Director Julie Tait is also looking to embrace the exciting future of comic art, with developing spotlights on ‘digital art, animation, film, gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality’ – perhaps inspired by the roaring success of the virtual Lakes Festival Live in 2020 which saw some elements carry over to the return to IRL this past October.

There’s also going to be continued efforts to marry art and ecology as Lakes will be providing more platforms to spread the message of devastating climate change and how we can all do our bit, something that was showcased at Lakes 2021.

No guests announced yet – bit too early for that, easy tiger… – but we’ve got word on the home base location, which will be the Windermere Jetty Museum, right on the east banks of Lake Windermere. We’ve also been shared some of the partner festivals for next year so expect to get the chance to meet and greet luminaries from Europe, Beiruit, Canada and more.

When the tickets get released and more info gets announced, of course, we’ll let you know – we’re fans of the Lakes Festival and something tells us this is going to raise that already-considerably high bar they set for the show. Oh, and as someone who has DJed their fair share of weddings and functions in the very pretty Lake Windermere neck of the woods, you may want to flatten a few memory cards – your camera is going to get quite the workout.

Read more in the release, below:


Putting the Lake into the Lakes International Comic Art Festival…

We’re excited to announce a dynamic, year-round programme of international comic art activity, and a new location for our annual Festival in October 2022, in Bowness-on-Windermere, within the heart of the Lake District National Park.

We’re planning to offering a re-energised format for the Festival, and we’re on a mission to use comic art to change the world!

The dates for the Festival in Bowness-on-Windermere will be Friday 14th – Sunday 16th October 2022, supported by major partners who include Arts Council England, the Lake District National Park Authority, South Lakeland District Council and Lancaster University.

Since its inception in 2013, the annual Festival has been held in Kendal, but for its tenth year, the core of the Festival will take over multiple venues within Bowness-on-Windermere, on the east banks of Lake Windermere.

The new Festival will bring the best artists and creators to the Lake District and explore the potential and power of comics as a force for good and creative endeavour, in the UK, and through continued international partnerships with organisations such as Comic Art Europe, and many others.

The Windermere Jetty Museum – one of the venues for next year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Hosting a comic art Festival in Bowness-on-Windermere presents an incredible opportunity to bring the wonder of comics to new audiences within an iconic, world-heritage landscape.

“This isn’t about moving the existing Festival from Kendal to Bowness-on-Windermere, this is about re-imagining the Festival for a new era,” says our Festival Director, Julie Tait. “The world of comics is continually changing, and we want to reflect this in a new Festival that unlocks the power of comics to change the world.

“We are already looking forward to welcoming our regular Festival visitors and new audiences to LICAF 2022.”

Lakes Arts Festivals will continue to run comic art activity in many other cities and towns throughout the UK, including Kendal, along with an extensive international programme.

We look forward to seeing you next year!

What We’re Planning in 2022

Lake Windermere. Photo: John Hodgson

The 2022 programme of comic art activity will include:

  • A series of pilot projects exploring how comics can improve literacy, health and wellbeing
  • An ongoing programme of creating online resources to introduce teachers to comics and showcase how to use them in the classroom
  • Using the comics medium to explore mental health and promoting resources to secondary school students in conjunction with Lancaster University
  • Forming long-term relationships with Special Schools across the UK, to explore the positive impact of comics in the school environment
  • Supporting the UK Comics Laureate to promote the transformational power of comics to educators, librarians and policymakers, as well as the young people directly
  • Working with the neurodiverse community and specifically those on the autistic spectrum and undertaking research with the University of Cambridge with a new Autism Comics & Cartooning Project
  • Supporting independent creators through our Virtual Comics Clock Tower online marketplace and providing professional development opportunities through our webinars programme, exploring topics such as crowdfunding, pitching to publishers and fundraising
  • Providing a range of opportunities for year-round artist residencies and cultural exchanges in the UK and internationally, through programmes such as Comic Art Europe
  • Exploring and celebrating how comics intersect with new and emerging art forms including digital art, animation, film, gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality – this will result in new partnerships with international creators at the forefront of new technologies
  • Continuing to offer an annual Festival programme in October that features a wide range of British and international guests with the eye on the eclectic, exciting and entertaining, alongside workshops for aspiring creators, children’s events through Little LICAF and much more

The Festival is also commissioning new comic work in collaboration with the Lake District National Park Authority to bring comic art experiences to family audiences within an outdoor environment.

The climate crisis, flood risk and sustainability will continue as themes throughout 2022 with new comic artwork being commissioned, alongside the further development of our ‘10 Years to Save the World’ project and website.

The Festival’s international partnerships continue to flourish with projects underway with the Finnish Institute, the Belgian Embassy, Quebec BD Festival, the French Institute, the Czech Literary Centre, the Italian Institute, the Philippines Comic Art Festival, Lyon BD Festival, Beirut Comic Art Festival, the Bilili BD Festival (the Congo) and NCSFest (USA).

The full programme for 2022 along with details of the 10th Lakes International Comic Art Festival will be available in January 2022. This will include our initial guest announcements, and detailed visitor and transport information for Bowness-on-Windermere, which is only a 20 minute rail journey from the mainline Oxenholme Lake District station.

The Festival is also working to ensure local Festival weekend transport availability, such as shuttle buses between Kendal and Bowness.

Find out more at the official links below:

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