In the second half of the 20th century, a decline in the textile industry resulted in the towns along the Upper Calder Valley, Yorkshire, England suffering from neglect and failing local economies. JTP architects and community planners were commissioned by the then regional development agency Yorkshire Forward to run the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance process to work collaboratively with the community to co-create a new Vision for the valley and establish a Valley team. Fifteen years on, a revitalised and enterprising community has come together to organise the Incredible Festival of Ideas where community and practitioners will come together to learn from each other in a celebration of community, creatively and kindness.
Leading the Way with Kindness
By Alison Pilling
How do we live and bring in new ways of being in our communities? The Calder Valley would like to show you how. While Hebden Bridge has always been known for being a unique place, the Calder Valley, from Todmorden to Halifax, has many experiences to offer; experiences that invite you to see why people move there and love living there.
A “Pay as you Feel” event, The Incredible Festival of Ideas is 4 days celebrating the birth, 10 years ago, of Incredible Edible, which has influenced communities worldwide, not simply with food, but on how to live with kindness and independence at heart. Opening with a solstice celebratory picnic and philosophy walk and exhibition in grade 2 listed Todmorden Town Hall, the weekend invites you to be inspired.
The Incredible Festival of Ideas includes two conferences, one on Placemaking sharing local views with national thought leaders, and the second focusing on how to build Resilience in flood affected areas.
As well as Incredible Edible tours where you’ll see maverick flower and food growing beds and benches to overcome loneliness, there are two ‘foodie’ days with important themes about sustainability and combating poverty. Jarvis Cocker from Pulp will even be doing a set on the Saturday night.
There’s also a radical version of Ted Talks, aptly named “Tod Talks”, where the main themes are Sex, Death and Currency (kindness not crypto) and all the other stages in between. It’s an incredible mix of local people with radical ideas, including leading campaigners from Transparency International and a leading lawyer for clergy abused in the church.
“The Festival is showcasing a way to live and in a beautiful valley too. We’re talking about ideas that really matter about place, connection and support and a triumph of hope in everyday life. Join us and see what the fuss is about and be inspired with ideas to make your place home too. Rather than say ‘something must be done’ come and see how we do it.”
—Mary Clear, Incredible Edible Todmorden
The festival coincides with the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, the much-loved Handmade Parade and the Incredible Fabulous Feast at the iconic, Grade 1 listed Piece Hall Halifax – a Jo Cox Foundation Great Get Together Beacon Event – making it a ‘chock-a’ weekend worth visiting.
Underneath all this creativity, the local organisers, volunteers and conference speakers are giving their time for free. In joining together to make this happen, kindness, enjoyment and idealism bring us together.
Incredible Festival of Ideas
21 – 24 June 2018 in the Calder Valley
Various locations, many free events with Pay as you Feel where specified,
see website for details: incrediblefestival.org.uk