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Cultural Attaché Visit to Liverpool, September 2010

Coinciding with the opening two days of the Liverpool Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art, Visiting Arts organised a visit to Liverpool by a group of nine cultural attachés on 18 – 20 September.

Our thanks are due to you – the Biennial has become such a great collaborative venture, but it would be very modest without all the support and goodwill of VA and all the other people who contribute to making it a fun event” – Lewis Biggs, Director, Liverpool Biennial

Thank you Sioned for the wonderful trip and the way you looked after us! This was most delightful” – Cord Meier-Klodt Head of Culture and Education German Embassy London

Thanks for organising a fantastic programme in Liverpool! The biennial is really worthwhile to go back.” –Geert DE PROOST, Representative of the Flemish Government in the UK, Embassy of Belgium/Flanders House

The group in attendance were Pascal Grégoire of the Embassy of Belgium; Daiva Parulskiene of the Lithuanian Embassy in the UK; Geert de Proost of the Belgian Embassy/Flanders House; Ramona Mitrica of the Raitu Foundation UK / Romanian Cultural Centre (RCC) in London; Sharron Harnoy of the Israeli Embassy; Raija Koli and Hanna Harris of the Finnish Institute in London; Cord Meier-Klodt of the German Embassy in London; and Hye-jung Jeon of the Korean Cultural Centre.

The visit formed part of Visiting Arts’ ongoing programme of briefings and visits developed for cultural attachés and those in the diplomatic community based in the UK, with funding from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). Designed to familiarise cultural attachés with current policies, strategic landmarks and new developments within the UK arts sector; the programme also provides opportunities for cultural attachés to familiarise themselves with different areas of the UK, as well as offering opportunities for contact making with arts organisations and cultural operators. Festivals, seasons of work and artistic collaborations have resulted from these visits in the past.

The visit began with attendance at the reception to celebrate the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s support of the Gulbenkian European Commissions within Liverpool Biennial and was followed by an opportunity to view the John Moores Prize exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery. The group were then invited to attend the Touched (the Biennial’s international exhibition) dinner at the Anglican Cathedral. The following morning, visits to galleries taking part in Independents – the independent strand of Liverpool Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art took place, with visits to Ceri Hand Gallery, The Royal Standard and Metal at Edge Hill Station. A walking tour was organised to see some of the work in the public realm, also ensuring a visit to CityStates at the Contemporary Urban Centre.

Following the Official Civic Launch at St Georges Hall, the delegation were able to attend all the official Touched private views at 48 – 84 Renshaw Street (the former Rapid Hardware), FACT, Open Eye Gallery, the Bluecoat, Tate Liverpool and A Foundation Liverpool.

The following morning a private tour of the John Moores Prize exhibition took place with Bev Byetheway, Artistic Director at the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, and Angela Samata of National Museums Liverpool. The visit concluded with an opportunity to attend the Touched Conference.