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A Year of Culture in Liverpool 2018

The city marks its 10-year anniversary of being European Capital of Culture

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It’s been 10 years since Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture for the year of 2008, and to celebrate, there is to be a year-long programme of events in the city. In 2008, Liverpool hosted the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Gustav Klimt paintings and an enormous 50ft mechanical spider as part of the celebrations. In addition to the 10 year anniversary, the Liverpool Biennial, the largest festival of contemporary art in the UK, will mark its 20th anniversary. This year’s Biennial is entitled ‘Beautiful world, where are you?’ and will run from 14 July – 28 October 2018.


What’s On in Liverpool in 2018?

To mark 10 years since the ‘game changing’ culture celebration, there is a programme of events planned for the milestone. Mayor Joe Anderson says there will be some ‘incredibly special moments’ this year, with an Irish culture festival and a ‘cardboard castles’ weekend amongst the plans.

The Feis, a new annual festival of Irish culture, will be launched this year, while French artist Olivier Grossetete will recreate ‘lost castles from across the city region in the exact places they once stood’ from cardboard.

The planned themes will include a focus on the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum, centenary celebrations around the end of WWI and women being given the vote, as well as this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

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Additional funding will be made available for the city’s existing programme of festivals, to make them more inspirational than ever.

‘Capital of Culture marked the start of something special, the last 10 years have been an amazing success story. The next 12 months will recognise the extraordinary cultural scene which takes place in this city day in and day out.’ Mayor Joe Anderson

Smash the Keys

The ‘Smash the Keys’ season will be a celebration of the piano. Throughout the year, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic will celebrate piano music with their Art of the Piano programme, coming to a crescendo with the Smash the Keys festival from 20-30 September. This music festival will focus on the piano, with performances from artists across jazz, pop, classical, grime, hip-hop and swing.

‘Without doubt, Liverpool is the most exciting city in the UK and in 2018 it’s the place to be if you want to experience something special. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Arts Council for their support, making a number of the 2018 projects possible.’ Claire McColgan MBE, Director of Culture speaking to The Guide, Liverpool.

The 20th Liverpool Biennial

Over 40 artists from 22 countries will present work that responds to the call, ‘Beautiful world, where are you?’ The city of Liverpool provides the setting with its public spaces, galleries, museums and civic buildings.

We’re particularly excited to see internationally acclaimed artist Ryan Gander collaborates with Knotty Ash Primary School as well as the first UK work of Oscar nominee Agnès Varda.

Agnes Varda Portrait

Agnes Varda

Visitors to the Biennial can expect large-scale public sculpture by the likes of Holly Hendry, commissioned for Exchange Flags. Artist Ari Benjamin Meyers will also explore Liverpool’s musical history with a new film at Playhouse theatre. A first time for an exhibition at Tate Liverpool, pioneering artists from the world’s Indigenous communities will go on show.

Ari Benjamin Meyers, The Art, 2016

Ari Benjamin Meyers, The Art, 2016

Beautiful world, where are you? is presented in locations across Liverpool including public spaces and the city’s leading art venues, such as Bluecoat, St George’s Hall, Victoria Gallery & Museum, RIBA North, and Blackburne House.

To find out more, visit Biennial.

What’s on this week in the town? And in the country? Check out our culture diaries before you fill in yours.