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RISE up to celebrate inspirational women in 2019

Liverpool is staging a season of events during 2019 which celebrate inspirational women.

The RISE programme of world-firsts, artists’ commissions, performances, exhibitions and talks aims to pay homage to extraordinary women from Liverpool and around the world with the aim of inspiring, educatin and empowering others – regardless of their age or gender.

The programme was officially launched today – International Women’s Day.

And organisers say the majority of events and activities, which will involve high-profile female figures, will be free to attend.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said today: “RISE is a programme curated by women, inspired by women and produced by women, so it’s more than fitting that it is launched on International Women’s Day.

“It’s a strong, diverse programme with some impressive world-firsts, thought-provoking exhibitions as well as the opportunity to have a fascinating insight into the lives of women who have made their mark on their chosen field.

“With more events still to be announced, it’s going to be a real celebration of women with the aim of inspiring future generations and encouraging them to aim high and never put a limit to what they are capable of achieving.”

Broadcaster Clare Balding, who will take part in a special Q&A, added: “I’m delighted and excited to be part of Liverpool’s RISE programme and look forward to sharing my experiences, and encourage and motivate more young women to think about a career in sport.

“With Liverpool hosting the Netball World Cup, it’s the perfect opportunity to see brilliantly passionate teams of women at the top of their game, and we can use this to kick-start a conversation about what can be achieved by women from every sector of society, and every part of the country.”

Here are some of the highlights of RISE.


Sudarios - Liverpool Cathedral

March 8-28

A moving showcase by renowned Colombian artist Erika Diettes, the exhibition features 20 large-scale, black and white shrouds, emblazoned with photographs of women who have been forced to witness the murder of, or violence towards, their loved ones.

A collective of local artists called Mother’s Day Project will work with a group of refugee women and Erika Diettes on a response performance to Sudarios which will take place later this year.

The Female Gaze: Women Depicting Women, dot-art Gallery, Queen Arcade off Castle Street

March 8-May 4

This new exhibition showcases the work of three women artists, Liz Jeary, Mia Cathcart and Rebecca Atherton.

Each artist depicts women in their work, capturing and exploring identity and the complex representations of women in art through diverse art forms.

Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett - FACT

March 29-June 16

Bringing together the work of two filmmakers which spans more than 40 years, technology is used to subvert classic elements of fairy tale storytelling, and their works stand as a refusal to yield to patriarchal societies which exist to control, conform and conquer.

Read more about the exhibition HERE

Kinship - Open Eye Gallery

April 29-June 30

Kinship looks at how women are using photography to reflect upon their sense of kin.

The projects collected together seek to uncover the ways people build close relationships among each other that feel like family.

The exhibition features Pixy Liao, Momo Okabe, Margaret Mitchell, Lydia Goldblatt, Jenny Lewis, and Johanna Heldebro.

Shanghai Sacred - Victoria Gallery and Museum

May 1–September 1

Award-winning photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley looks at religious rituals and their social contexts in Shanghai – a city she spent three years exploring and analysing its spiritual landscape.

The work will be displayed using a Chinese freestanding bamboo structure made by artist Chen Hangfeng.

Yolart - Pier Head

May 31-June 28

In a new commission for both RISE and River Festival Liverpool, the Pier Head will become a canvas for artist Jola Kudela.

Her speciality is working in public spaces and engaging with communities to recreate scenes from classic paintings, giving it a 21st century twist.

First Women Exhibition - St George’s Hall

June 18–August 27

A unique collection of 100 portraits capturing women in the UK who were “first” in their field of achievement.

The pictures, taken by internationally-acclaimed photographer Anita Corbin, aim to provide inspiration and insight for a new generation of women seeking an understanding of their own roles in a rapidly changing world in which equality is still an issue.

A Portrait Of…- Open Eye Gallery

July 15–September 30

This work looks at how we see each other through photography, something that most of us use to communicate every day. The projects on show share new perspectives on youth, disability and age.

April Ashley Archive - Liverpool Central Library

July 28–August 28

Liverpool City Council has been given exclusive permission to exhibit a small selection from the archive of April Ashley MBE, the trans-pioneer, model and actress.

The show will include artefacts recording Ashley’s time from Pitt Street to the glamour of the Carousel Club in Paris and appearances in Vogue magazine, along with letters and photographs of the Liverpool woman and icon who helped change the legal and social representation of gender.

How to be a…

How to be a Spy - St George’s Hall

Tuesday, June 18, ticketed

Dame Stella Rimington - the first female Director General of MI5 – will talk about her various roles in the security service. After leaving MI5, Dame Stella has become a celebrated author, with her ‘insider knowledge’ making her spy novels a must-read.

Tickets will be on sale in the coming weeks.

How to be a Sports Journalist and Broadcaster - Liverpool ONE


Presenter, writer and broadcaster Clare Balding will take part in a special Q&A talking about her award-winning career, its highlights and any advice she would give to both men and women who are looking to follow in her footsteps.


SisBis Presents International Women’s Day - Kitchen Street

March 8, 6pm-4am, £5 after 10pm

All-women music collective SisBis mark International Women’s Day with a free arts, music and crafts event from 6-10pm, with drop-in workshops throughout the evening. This will be followed by a live performance from the Refugee Women Connect choir.

After this there will be DJ sets from Manara, a BBC Asian Network Resident and Giovanna, who is part of SisBis, an NTS resident, and one of Liverpool’s fastest rising stars.

All proceeds go to Refugee Women Connect.

Bangin’ Pans Project - Liverpool Central Library

March 9, 2-3pm

This music project supports and encourages girls and young women living in Liverpool to get involved in all aspects of the music industry – as musicians, technicians, photographers, film makers, designers, bloggers and event designers.

This will be their first public performance. Watch out for more to come including March 30 at Threshold and as part of BBC Music Week in June.

Discwoman - Kitchen Street

March 29, tickets from £8.50

Discwoman is a leading global music collective and New York-based booking agency which exclusively represents women and LGBTQ+ artists.

This special club night will cover the electro, house, jungle and techno genres and will feature Volvox, Ciel and Juana who are forces to be reckoned with on the DJ scene.


Children’s Festival of Reading - venues across Liverpool


A celebration of books for children and young people will see a mixture of schools’ events, community and family workshops and author readings.

As part of RISE, the festival will feature female authors such as Lorraine Gregory and Gabrielle Kent. The event has been organised by the Liverpool Learning Partnership.

Disco Classical with Special Guest Sister Sledge featuring Kathy Sledge at LIMF - Sefton Park

July 21

The night (pictured above) will feature a 35-piece orchestra and a carefully curated selection of much-loved disco hits as part of an explosive performance featuring a host of collaborators.

Read more HERE

RISE Response

Ten female Liverpool writers – including Lizzie Nunnery, Lindsay Rodden, Helen Tookey and Amina Atiq - will take up residence and write in response to Rise festival as it unfolds throughout 2019.

Their poems, songs, stories and plays-in-miniature will pop up throughout the festival year, in film, print, online and in performance.

For more information about RISE visit the website HERE

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