20.5 million audience for UNBOXED

Data released for UNBOXED: creativity in the UK

Publication date

Created by thousands, enjoyed by millions

Designed to be accessible and inclusive to all, UNBOXED has brought people together at live events throughout the UK, and through digital and broadcast content, achieving an audience of over 20.5 million.

SEE MONSTER at night with fireworks in background. Pic by @nodpics.

Last weekend, our live programme drew to a spectacular close and we’re now able to confirm how many people across the four nations have experienced and enjoyed UNBOXED over the last nine months.

  • 2.8 million people have come together at live events in 107 locations across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – many in towns, cities, rural and coastal areas less well served by major cultural investment.
  • 1.7 million children, young people and families have taken part in our learning and participation activities – from lesson plans, class challenges and school trips to tailor-made opportunities for teachers and special roadshows across the UK.
  • 13.5 million people have enjoyed UNBOXED programming specifically created for TV and online – a number that’s continuing to grow.

Many of the locations throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are towns, cities and rural areas less well served by major cultural programmes. The programme has explored important new ideas and possibilities for the future, from sustainability to the power of the human mind, to innovative new ways of storytelling.

A group of gardeners standing next to Dandelion Vertical Farm cube

The 10 UNBOXED commissions have placed creativity everywhere, from classrooms to national parks, the country to the city, the land to the sea, heritage spaces to the digital world. We’ve married science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths (STEAM) in unexpected new combinations and collaborations.

  • About Us brought 13.8 billion years of history to life
  • Dandelion invited people across Scotland to sow, grow and share food, music and ideas
  • Dreamachine explored the astonishing power of the human mind
  • GALWAD travelled 30 years into the future to spark conversations about climate change
  • Green Space Dark Skies created magical artworks and memorable television in stunning natural landscapes 
  • Our Place in Space recreated our solar system in epic style on Earth
  • PoliNations celebrated the beauty and diversity of the UK’s people and plant life
  • SEE MONSTER gave majestic new life to a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform
  • StoryTrails unearthed our towns and cities’ hidden histories
  • And Tour de Moon invested in young creative talent

UNBOXED has contributed to the UK’s creative landscape through investment in research and innovation and by supporting more than 6,000 employment and paid development opportunities. The programme has explored new ideas through a unique cross-sector collaborative approach to programming that featured funded research and development during the pandemic, supporting many creative organisations and freelancers through that period.

Children in a field holding lamps

Creatives from science, technology, engineering and the arts (STEAM) have been supported to design and deliver the programme from neuroscientists, astrophysicists, computer programmers and structural engineers to poets, musicians, artists and set designers to create pioneering projects. Young and emerging creatives have also been given access to training to develop their professional skills and gain valuable experience.

Still more to come…

The UNBOXED story isn’t over yet. You can continue to explore free apps, download free learning resources and watch films and other broadcast and digital content, including:

After a year that has seen our programme reach over 85 countries, our international partnerships will see further projects happening in 2023 as far afield as Vietnam, Sub-Saharan Africa and Malaysia, with more in the pipeline for Australia and the US.

a group of children crowded around the Mars installation

From the outset, UNBOXED has invested in new collaboration between organisations and individuals that drew on the creative innovation within science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as the arts.

— Phil Batty, Executive Director, UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK

The personal impact on the thousands of young people who have been involved in UNBOXED has been inspirational. UNBOXED is proud of the strong part it has played in the COVID recovery of the UK.

— Dame Vikki Heywood DBE, Chair of Board, UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK