Unlikely connections for social change

The Unusual Suspects Festival is all about conversations that connect across our differences. More than ever, we need conversations that nurture empathy and understanding. The Festival provides a safe space for unlikely suspects to come together to discuss, reflect, exchange ideas and challenge each other.

The Unusual Suspects Festival started from a conversation between three organisations. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), Collaborate and SIX saw the need to facilitate serendipity between organisations and people, who would otherwise remain unconnected. The three partners came up with the idea of The Unusual Suspects Festival, a unique set of collaborative events, hosted by different organisations from a variety of sectors, across different venues in a city. The first Unusual Suspects Festival 2014 took place in London bringing together diverse organisations and people to work on shared challenges through collaboration.

Since then, the Festival has grown and spread to different cities in the UK. We brought the Festival to Glasgow in October 2015 with the support of Nesta, Big Lottery Fund Scotland and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In 2016, we hosted the Festival in Northern Ireland with our partners, Building Change Trust. In 2017, we hosted the London edition to explore what connects us as human beings and in 2018, we took the Festival model abroad to Seoul City.