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Contemporary art connects the local and global

Liverpool Biennial 2018 brings the world to Liverpool and Liverpool to the world

​Liverpool Biennial is one of the UK’s most significant celebrations of contemporary art. Taking place every two years across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online, the Biennial commissions international artists to make and present work in the context of Liverpool.

Earlier this week our evaluation of Liverpool Biennial 2018 was published. This is our third piece of evaluation work for the organisation exploring its social, economic and cultural impact and the development of these impacts over time and changing activities.

Our key findings:

  • Visitors from outside the UK increased significantly, with 86% agreeing that the Biennial was the main or partial reason for visiting the city
  • Local and global are well balanced our interviews with partners, stakeholders, and peers recognised the Biennial’s appeal to local audiences and city residents; its presentation of the world’s leading contemporary artists to international audiences; and its essential contribution to the international biennial scene
  • It was praised for prioritising its social and civic role and those we spoke to suggested it could go even further and establish more diverse partnerships to really push the boundaries of what the Biennial occasion can do for the city and its residents
  • Audiences were more diverse and younger – 34% described their ethnicity as non-White British and 38% of visitors were aged under 30
  • It had a significant economic impact, contributing around £7.1 million to the local economy.

Achieving a balance between local engagement and international appeal is not easy. Based on these findings, the Liverpool Biennial is in a strong position to continue to influence its peers in the UK and around the world by providing a vital programme that attracts, engages and represents local and global populations.

Full report here.

For more on BOP’s impact evaluations see here and here.

Douglas Lonie, Senior Consultant

Photo credit: Liverpool Biennial / Pete Carr, 2018