Liverpool to 'RISE' to the occasion celebrating extraordinary women

To mark International Women’s Day, Liverpool is announcing a season of events which celebrate inspirational women. The RISE programme will pay homage to extraordinary women from Liverpool and from around the world. The aim is to inspire, educate and empower others – regardless of their age or gender. The programme features a series of brand new artistic commissions, world-firsts, exhibitions and performances by leading female artists, thinkers and leaders, with the majority of activities being free to attend.

Keep reading for a list of just some of the events taking place throughout 2019:

→ Exhibitions

Sudarios, Liverpool Cathedral, 8-28 March, FREE
Sudarios is 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. Diettes’ work shines a spotlight on the survivors, and acknowledges not only their suffering, but their continued faith in humanity. 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, 8 March- 4 May, Dot-art Castle Street, FREE
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, 29 March-16 June, FACT, FREE
Bringing together the work of two filmmakers which spans over 40 years, technology is used to subvert classic elements of fairy tale storytelling. Their works stand as a refusal to yield to patriarchal societies which exist to control, conform and conquer.

Kinship, Open Eye Gallery, 29 April-30 June, FREE
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 amongst 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 (University of Liverpool), 1 May – 1 September, FREE
Award-winning photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley explores religious rituals and their social contexts in Shanghai. Liz spent three years exploring in Shanghai and analysing its spiritual landscape. The work will be displayed using a Chinese freestanding bamboo structure made by artist Chen Hangfeng.

Yolart, Pier Head, 31 May to 28 June, FREE
In a commission for 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. Jola uses contemporary models to feature in her art, and creates collages which are then pasted on to unusual backdrops. Her art is often put on to derelict abandoned buildings, so the composition itself becomes part of the urban landscape.

First Women Exhibition, St George’s Hall, 18 June – 27 August, FREE
This exhibition comprises of a unique collection of 100 portraits capturing women in the UK who were “first” in their field of achievement. Taken by internationally acclaimed photographer Anita Corbin, they 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, 15 July – 30 September, FREE
This work looks at how we see eachother 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, 28 July – 28 August, FREE
Liverpool City Council has been given permission to exhibit a selection of April Ashley MBE, the trans-pioneer, model and actress. It will include artefacts recording April’s time from Pitt Street to the Carousel Club in Paris and appearances in Vogue. There will also be 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 Songwriter, LIPA, Tuesday 12 March, all places already allocated
The powerhouse behind tracks on Beyoncé’s critically revered Lemonade as well as other global hits by Britney Spears and Craig David – Carla Marie Williams – will be giving an intimate masterclass aimed at aspiring young females. The session will see Carla give advice on how women can break into the male-dominated music industry.

How to be a Spy, St George’s Hall, Tuesday 18 June, ticketed
Dame Stella Rimington – the first female Director General of MI5 – will talk about her 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, July, Liverpool ONE, FREE
Presenter, writer and broadcaster Clare Balding will take part in a Q&A talking about her award-winning career and its highlights. She will giving advice to both men and women who are looking to follow in her footsteps.

→ Music

SisBis Presents International Women’s Day, Kitchen Street, 6pm-4am Friday 8 March, £5 after 10pm
All-women music collective SisBis mark International Women’s Day and their RISE involvement 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, 2-3pm, Saturday 9 March, FREE
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. The group has been working together for the past few months and this will be their first public performance. Watch out for more to come including Saturday March 30 at Threshold and as part of BBC Music Week in June.

Discwoman, Kitchen Street, Friday 29 March, 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.

→ Festivals

Children’s Festival of Reading, June and July, 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 amazing 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 Liverpool International Music Festival, Sefton Park, Sunday 21 July
The first act to be announced for LIMF 2019 is the unmissable live experience: Disco Classical featuring Sister Sledge with Kathy Sledge. The show 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.

Scalarama, September, details TBC
This month of film screenings will aim for 58% of the films it shows being either made by women or about women.

→ RISE Response

Ten female Liverpool writers 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. The writers include Lizzie Nunnery (Winner of Best New Play at UK Theatre awards 2017), acclaimed poets Helen Tookey (Best British Poetry 2014, Salt) and Jennifer Lee Tsai (Ten: Poets of the New Generation, Bloodaxe 2017), playwright Lindsay Rodden (The Story Giant), Yemeni-Scouse performance poet Amina Atiq (BBC6 Music Festival), short story writer Stephanie Jane Gray (Writing on the Wall) and acclaimed novelist and playwright Deborah Morgan (Disappearing Home).

Tickets and latest information for all events can be found by visiting, following @Rise_Liverpool on Twitter and Instagram and using #RISEwithUS.

RISE has been curated by Liverpool City Council and funded by Arts Council England. Other partners include University of Liverpool, The Women’s Organisation, Blackburne House, Northern Power Women, Merseyside Women of the Year, The Girls Network and the Mayoral Club.

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