27th February – 27th March 2016
Find out more on the AV Festival website
AV Festival is a leading international Festival of contemporary art, film and music, based in North East England. A biennial event, the Festival is thematically curated to engage audiences with current ideas across contemporary artistic practice and wider society.
The Festival commissions new work, and curates thematic strands of internationally significant existing work, presented in an imaginative new context. Our commissions provide the opportunity for artists to make ambitious and risk-taking new work, in a variety of site-specific locations and venues.
We work with established and emerging artists, who relate to each Festival theme in an engaging and critical way. We are committed to working with artists who are innovative and experimental in their approach to contemporary visual art, film, moving image, media art, music and sound.
AV Festival takes place simultaneously across the region in around 30 venues and public sites, primarily in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Since 2012 the Festival has been a month-long in duration, previously it was a ten-day event. Each Festival consists of around 15 new commissions, 50 film screenings, 20 exhibitions, 15 concerts plus seminars, talks and workshops; presenting the work of approx.140 artists.
2016 Programme: Meanwhile, What About Socialism?
Socialism was the most looked-up word in 2015. Largely attributable to the popularity of US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party, it reflects a year of political alternatives becoming reality.
George Orwell’s polemical book The Road to Wigan Pier is the thematic framework for the next two editions of AV Festival. Eighty-years ago in 1936, Orwell was commissioned by the Left Book Club to write on the depressed areas of the North of England and spent two months living in the industrial North. The book is his account of working-class life amidst growing social injustice, poverty, unemployment and class division. The experience clarified his ideas about socialism, concluding that the basis for a democratic socialism is equality and fairness.
Mirroring the structure of the book the 2016 edition of the Festival is Part One followed by Part Two in 2018, representing a new way of curating a biennial Festival. AV Festival 2016 initiates this approach, presenting work by artists and filmmakers who situate themselves in relation to historic and contemporary political struggle, revolution and social movements, creating new forms of resistance to neoliberal capitalism.