Liverpool arts programme set to celebrate extraordinary women

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Liverpool arts programme set to celebrate extraordinary women

Just like the MWOTY team, its sponsors and supporters, Liverpool is preparing to celebrate inspirational women that have made a difference. The RISE season will shine a light on women who have made an impact on their community, in their home city or town and even globally.

Launching on International Women’s Day on March 8 and running until the end of the year, the season of arts and cultural events will span the worlds of arts, science, business, sport and politics and include brand new artistic commissions, exhibitions, performances and world-firsts.

Ahead of the official launch on March 8, three fantastic preview events are set to take place. Punk in the Picton, In Conversation with Tracey Thorn and photography exhibition 209 Women (full details below).

As well as the already-curated events the Culture Liverpool team behind the RISE programme is calling out to any artist, cultural organisation or group across the city that will be staging events or activities this year which celebrate women. You can head to and fill in the online form and the event could be promoted on the website as part of the RISE season.

Speaking about the RISE season, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Liverpool is a city that uses its events programme to push boundaries and provoke debate, this year’s RISE season will do just that.

In a year which will see this city host the Netball World Cup, we felt it was important to shine the spotlight on exceptional women across the arts, sciences, business, sport and politics.

The curators are working on a programme which educates, inspires and empowers, and will get people asking who really runs the world?

The events taking place this month are a wonderful introduction to what we can expect throughout the year, and I encourage groups and organisations across the city to get involved and be part of this remarkable campaign.”

MWOTY founders Ellen Kerr and Jean Gadsby added: “After 16 years of finding and rewarding Merseyside’s unsung heroines, we know better than most of the entrepreneurship, talent, brilliance, kindness and compassion that lies hidden across the region.

“The RISE season is a truly wonderful way to put pioneering women in the spotlight and we can’t wait to visit the preview events. We also encourage the wonderful women and their supporters from our own network to share details of their work, events and activities with Culture Liverpool’s RISE team.”


Preview Events

Punk in the Picton

Liverpool Central Library

Thursday 21 February

Tickets from £6.60

As part of Liverpool Central Library’s punk exhibition, artist Emma Harrison will chat about her time documenting performances by punk band the Slits, in what was at the time, a very male-dominated field. She will also talk about her part in the early graffiti movement in New York and her work on pop videos for acts including Boy George and Duran Duran. Tickets start from £6.60 and can be purchased here


Tracey Thorn in Conversation

Liverpool Central Library

Monday 25 February

Tickets from £4.40

The singer-songwriter and bestselling author will head to Liverpool’s Central Library to talk about the female inspirations she had growing up and how they shaped the person she has become today. She will be reading extracts from her new book Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia and answering questions from the audience. The event is ticketed, with prices starting from £4.40. Head to for more information.

Speaking of the upcoming event, Tracey Thorn said: “I’m delighted to be coming up to Liverpool to talk about my new book Another Planet – a memoir of 1970s suburbia. The book talks in detail about the specific experience of being a girl at that time, about my relationship with my mother, and about my feminist heroines, so I’m especially pleased that the event will be part of the RISE programme.”


209 Women

Open Eye Gallery

1 March to 14 April – Every day (except Mondays)


This ambitious all-female exhibition from Open Eye Gallery features new portraits of women MPs from across the country, shot entirely by women photographers. The exhibition was first shown at the Houses of Parliament on 14 December 2018, 100 years to the day since the first general election in which women could vote. In Liverpool, the full set will be shown for the first time, including images of Sinn Fein MPs who refused to have their images shown in Parliament. It both makes and marks history – showing the progress that has been made towards gender parity in politics, while also highlighting the work that is still to be done.

Director of Development and Partnerships at Open Eye Gallery, Tracy Marshall, said: “Photography has become one of the primary ways that we reflect and communicate our vision of the world. Through images, we gain a sense not only of how things are, but also how things could be. The 209 Women project carries so much potential in communicating our vision of gender parity in the corridors of power, pointing to a society where policy is made with people of all genders in mind. That’s why everyone at Open Eye Gallery is behind this national collaboration of artists and politicians, all the way: to light up the way to a future where gender is no obstacle — in art, in business, in politics and in every other pursuit.”

RISE has been curated by Culture Liverpool and funded by Arts Council England. Other partners include Open Eye Gallery, Kitchen Street, Sisbis, Abandon Normal Devices, Liverpool Central Library, LIPA, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Cathedral, Scalarama and Mayoral Club.


Image credits: Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, by Hannah Starkey. Tracey Thorn by Edward Bishop.

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