Art in Liverpool Magazine: Issue #8, 2018 – Editorial

Cover image: The Last Days of ROAD © Tony Knox

Our final Independents Biennial issue is here. In November, we’re back to normal, returning to routine. But that, in no way, means things are going quiet. On the 18th of this month we’ll be in George Henry Lee’s launching a book by our Writers-in-Residence, and there are still more than 20 exhibitions yet to open their doors for the festival.

Art in Liverpool usually writes very outwardly, reflecting on the highs and lows of what’s going on around us, so the upcoming book has been a fascinating opportunity to self-reflect, often very critically of the festival, and its context.

Working with eight of Liverpool’s most exciting writers, the book includes work from Richard Billing, Jessica Fenna, Joanie Magill, Bernadette McBride, Paul McDermott, Marjorie Morgan and Callan Waldron-Hall.

What’s come out of it are a series of realisations that while we’ve produced a festival we’re proud of, and have achieved something that hasn’t been done in a very long time, there are hurdles yet to be crossed.

Examining the profiles of Independents Biennial artists is incredibly eye opening. We’re nowhere near diverse enough as a festival on the inside. Our audiences have been wonderful – half way through writing this, a school group from Salisbury turned up, followed by a class of English as a Foreign Language students – but the artists we represent don’t cover the diverse map of voices and experience in the city.

The book gives an insight into the stories behind work, and the voice of those who made it speaking truthfully about some of the most impactful work of IB18.

We’ll be carrying forward what we learned into 2020, when the Independents Biennial will return having worked with artists and organisations to create something that makes an even bigger impact on the region than it has in 2018.

But until then, in the two years we have to reflect, we’ll be building up this newspaper, and the website that goes with it, to create a more accessible, more open platform for artists and their audiences to thrive. Our day-to-day returns with a new clarity on the mission of Art in Liverpool – a community that grows together in the creative kaleidoscope of Merseyside.

We’ll be announcing the full details of the book launch (18th October – save the date) on www.artinliverpool.com really soon, so keep an eye out, or join the mailing list to get the info straight to your inbox (www.artinliverpool.com/subscribe).

Thank you all for picking this up as often as you do, and thank you for helping, visiting, exhibiting, reading about or engaging with Independents Biennial 2018 in whatever way you did. Our doors close on the 28th October, just as November’s issue hits the press. It’s been fun, and it’s been a challenge.