Programme revealed for Great Exhibition of the North

Details unveiled for England's biggest event of the year


Almost three months of events will take place in Newcastle Gateshead this summer to celebrate great art, culture, design and innovation from across the North.

The Great Exhibition of the North will start on 22 June and run until 9 September 2018 and will bring the best of Northern creativity to an expected audience of three million people.

A Great Northern Soundtrack curated by broadcaster, Lauren Laverne; the return of Stephenson’s Rocket, complete with virtual reality experience; and a new solo exhibition from Turner Prize 2017 winner, Lubaina Himid, are just some of the highlights of the 80-day exhibition.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The North is a hotbed of creativity, with a proud history of innovators, businesses and artists that have shaped how we live today.

“Not only will the Exhibition showcase this incredible diversity, it will also boost tourism and deliver growth to the region. It will celebrate what makes the North such a fantastic place to live, visit, and invest in.”

The exhibition will be the biggest event in England this year and will tell the inspiring story of the North of England and how its innovators, businesses, artists and designers have shaped our present and are inspiring our future.

Art in many forms, from pop art pioneer Richard Hamilton to world-renowned sculptor and creator of the Angel of the North Antony Gormley will be celebrated in venues across the city, and there will be live performances from artists such as Roisin Murphy and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Visitors will also have the chance to see the original character models of Postman Pat, the story of Graphene told through next generation lighting and the world’s most high-tech little black dress, and much, much more.

More than one million people from across the UK and overseas are expected to visit the region for the exhibition which is predicted to bring a £184 million boost to the North East economy.

Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, said: “The Great Exhibition of the North in June will showcase the very best in Northern art, culture, industry and innovation not just to the UK but to the whole world.

“The spirit of the Northern innovators, makers and disruptors who led this great nation through the heights of the industrial revolution is being seen again in the modern businesses, artists and trend-setters at the forefront of today’s Northern Powerhouse.

“As we look to the Global Britain of the future, let’s celebrate all that the North has achieved and will continue to achieve as a global economic and cultural trailblazer.”

The Exhibition will open on 22 June with an opening ceremony featuring the UK’s largest water sculpture from the Quayside, a brand new film about a journey across the North of England, performances from Kaiser Chiefs and a live presentation by Lemn Sissay of his newly created anthem for the North.

Our three iconic arts venues – Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead – will lead a summer of events along with 30 other world-class venues on both sides of the Tyne that celebrate the North’s achievements in art and culture, design, and innovation.

The Great North Museum will open its doors with ‘Which Way North’, a visual experience which introduces the wider Exhibition and a display of iconic Northern objects.

BALTIC will display artist Ryan Gander’s pared down sculptures depicting objects that symbolise innovation born in the North of England; commissions from artists such as Jane and Louise Wilson, Michael Dean and Tim Etchells; and a maquette of Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North.

Sage Gateshead will curate a great Northern summer of music, filled with concerts, festivals and family activity featuring cutting-edge artists such as Nightmares on Wax and classical concerts from Royal Northern Sinfonia.

On 9 September, the world’s largest half marathon, the Great North Run, will form the centrepiece of the closing weekend.

Sir Gary Verity, Chairman of Great Exhibition of the North, said:“As well as being a showcase for some of the best creative and inspiring talent from the North of England, our diverse programme tells a pioneering story and one that will help change the way the world views the North.

“Whether you have a love of arts and design, cutting-edge culture, history and innovation, inspired technology or vibrant street performance – there is something in this programme to intrigue and excite those of all ages and from all backgrounds.”

The Great Exhibition of the North is free to attend and details of the programme can be found here:

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