Great Exhibition of the North, 2018
The Great Exhibition of the North, held in NewcastleGateshead, ran from the 22nd of June to the 9th of September, 2018. There were a wide range of events, exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation, and new artworks. "NewcastleGateshead welcomed more than four million visitors over the summer. Visitor surveys conducted during this period showed that 32% cited the Exhibition as the primary reason for their visit, and 75% engaged with the Exhibition’s content whilst they were there." (Event Website).
The Great Exhibition of the North was a two-month exhibition, celebrating art, culture, and design in the North of England, held in Newcastle and Gateshead between 22 June and 9 September 2018.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey described the event as "a fantastic opportunity to promote the very best of Northern art, culture and design", adding that "Investment in our arts and culture not only benefits these sectors but, as we have seen from Hull being named UK City of Culture 2017, can drive regeneration of whole towns and cities."
The competition to host the exhibition was launched in April 2016, and bids were taken from the North of England (defined as Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, and the North East). Nine bids were received, including Halifax, Harrogate, Scunthorpe, St Helens and Whitehaven with Blackpool, Bradford, Newcastle and Gateshead and Sheffield selected as the shortlist.
Newcastle and Gateshead were chosen to host the event, with Great Exhibition Board chairman Gary Verity saying "Newcastle and Gateshead put forward an exciting and innovative bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North. Their ambitious plans will showcase fantastic venues across the city and highlight their unique heritage, culture and design. People from across the country can expect an amazing show in summer 2018".
On 1 March 2018, prior to the exhibition's launch, the organisers announced that the arms manufacturer BAE Systems would be one of the three key sponsors; this led to a widespread outcry by the artistic community. Following a high-profile campaign under the banner "Art not Arms", led by artists such as Jill Gibbon and Emily Hessewho withdrew her work from the exhibition in protestBAE Systems announced the withdrawal of its financial support on 7 March 2018.