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Great Exhibition of the North programme announced

27th February 2018

A cultural extravaganza will take place in Newcastle and Gateshead this summer, with staff and students from Northumbria University supporting the festival through a wide variety of events and activities.

The full programme for this summer’s Great Exhibition of the North has been announced this morning. The free 80-day event, which takes place from 22 June to 9 September, will tell the story of how the North’s innovators, businesses, artists and designers have shaped our present and how they are inspiring our future.

It is the biggest event being held in England this year and Northumbria will be involved throughout, with a wide variety of events and exhibitions focusing on art, design and innovation and covering everything from healthy eating and nutrition to the lives of volunteers in conflicts and emergencies.

The University’s annual REVEAL exhibition will also play a key role in Northumbria’s involvement – showcasing the outstanding talent of graduates across a range of courses, including Animation, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Fashion, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interactive Media Design, 3D Design, Design for Industry and Interior Design.

Professor Steven Kyffin, Northumbria’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Business and Enterprise, is overseeing the University’s involvement in the Great Exhibition of the North. He said: “This is an ideal opportunity for Northumbria to tell our story within the context of arts, design and innovation as an international, academically-excellent, professional, business-focused university – and we definitely have a story to tell.

“Rather than the traditional industries of coal and shipbuilding, the festival will focus on the history of ideas and the future of ideas, through art, design and innovation, and how here in the North East we are doing new things in new ways.

“The focus for Northumbria will be showcasing our innovation, through our design graduates and start-ups, our computer science and gaming, our Business School, our nutrition projects and more. We hope to use this opportunity to share our research, attract future students and demonstrate how we are Taking on Tomorrow, becoming a creative, innovation engine for both the North, the UK and the world.”

The Great Exhibition of the North is a free event, hosted in NewcastleGateshead, on behalf of Northern England. It is expected to reach an audience of three million people, including more than one million visitors from across the UK and overseas.

Visitors will begin their journey at one of three iconic venues – Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead – before joining three interconnected trails through 30 world-class venues and public spaces, on either side of the River Tyne that celebrate the North’s achievements in art and culture, design, and innovation – including Northumbria University.

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 open on 22 June and will run under the headline theme ‘Get North’. As part of the opening event, visitors will experience 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. The inaugural evening will also bring together art, design, culture and innovation and will reveal content that will be present throughout the 80-day exhibition.

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

The Great Exhibition of the North is expected to bring a £184 million boost to the North East, showing how cultural investment can benefit and inspire entire communities.

Details of the Great Exhibition of the North programme can be found here:


Photo credit: Water Sculptures, Get North Opening Weekend - Imagery by EYELEVEL

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