Liverpool Biennial announces resignation of Director as it reveals impressive visitor figures for 2010

Oh no. Can’t imagine a Liverpool Biennial without Lewis Biggs at the helm. There’s a nice but not easy job for someone. We wish Lewis all the best in his future project(s). He should at least be elevated to the House of Lords.

Liverpool Biennial announces resignation of Director as it reveals impressive visitor figures for 2010

Liverpool Biennial has announced that its Director and Chief Executive, Lewis Biggs is leaving the Biennial after an outstandingly successful 10 years in the post.

The announcement comes as the results of the independent research, carried out on behalf of Liverpool Biennial by The Mersey Partnership’s England’s Northwest Research Service demonstrate that the UK’s leading international festival of contemporary art has continued to attract high numbers of visitors to Liverpool Biennial 2010.

628,000 visitors made 834,000 visits to Biennial exhibitions, and spent a total of £27.2m.  Although slightly lower than the figures produced during Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008, visitors have increased more than 50% from 2006 and the total economic benefit has more than trebled to £27.2m.


Coupled with the release of stunning visitor figures, Liverpool Biennial is delighted to be in a position from which it can plan its activities over the coming eighteen months in preparation for the 7th Liverpool Biennial.  While the public funding situation means that Liverpool Biennial’s regeneration and tourism funding has been significantly reduced, our major public funders, including Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England, have confirmed their ongoing support. Arts Council England have also confirmed that Liverpool Biennial will be part of their National Portfolio with a real terms uplift from its current funding in the period of 2012-15.

Paula Ridley, Chair of Liverpool Biennial said: “These exceptional figures, combined with confirmation of key funding sources, provide a huge confirmation of the outstanding success of Liverpool Biennial under Lewis’s leadership. In each of its six Festivals Liverpool Biennial has attracted visitors from across the globe by offering exhibitions of an ever-growing quality and scale.  The Board, staff, artists, partners and volunteers of the Festival are all passionate about both the visual arts and Liverpool.  We are delighted in the number of our visitors and the economic impact they produce.

We are extremely sad that Lewis is leaving as his contribution as founding director of the Biennial has been key to this success and to the benefit it has produced for Liverpool. The Biennial’s popularity, impact, experienced management team and support from partners underlines the fact that Lewis Biggs leaves the organisation in a position of strength.  A challenging economic environment means the resources available to the next Biennial will be reduced, but our commitment to the best quality art has not.”

Lewis Biggs said: “In little more than a decade, Liverpool Biennial has become one the best reviewed and attended arts events in Britain.  I am proud to have led the Biennial as it has grown and developed its artistic reputation and audience. Liverpool Biennial 2012 will have the scale and quality to involve and delight visitors, and will inspire the next generation through commissioning new work from the world’s leading artists. We have a clear direction for the next Festival, and although research and development is advancing well, there is still time for my successor as artistic director to set their mark on it. Liverpool Biennial is delivered by a team of committed staff and partners, and this team remains ready once again to fill one of the world’s most exciting cities with art and visitors.  I am looking forward to the next phase of the Biennial and to a raft of new personal challenges.”

Sheldon Phillips, Head of Regional Major Events at NWDA, said: “Liverpool Biennial has been a pillar of the regional major events programme and the latest research is testimony to the Biennial’s growth and contribution to the region’s economy. We wish the Biennial every success in the future as it enters a new era of its development and offer our best wishes to Lewis Biggs in his new ventures.”

The recruitment process for Lewis’ successor begins immediately and will be led by Paula Ridley.