Lonely Planet Writer

Newcastle and Gateshead to host big-budget Great Exhibition in the North

Newcastle and Gateshead have been chosen to host a huge new exhibition in summer 2018, The Great Exhibition in the North is a £5 million, two-month long extravaganza that aims to showcase art and design in the north of England.

According to The Guardian, the forthcoming exhibition draws on the heritage of the 1851 Great Exhibition, which attracted over six million visitors from across Britain, was instrumental in the creation of London’s museum quarter  and inspired events across Europe and North America. The twin cities of Newcastle and Gateshead beat Sheffield, Bradford and Blackpool to host the exhibition. “Inspired by the trailblazers of the north,” said their bid, “the exhibition will have several cross-cutting themes for all to respond to, showing how the north’s fires of invention continue to transform our world. Crucially, we will connect artists with scientists and inventors to work closely together, to create new artworks and respond to the great innovations of our time. Arts will meet industry in powerful and memorable ways.”

A view of the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, taken from Gateshead.
A view of the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, taken from Gateshead. Image by Getty Images

Major exhibitions at art galleries, three walking circuits and a “summer camp” in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park are all planned, alongside a “bridge of illuminated drones” and a fiery artwork on the Tyne. Iain Watson, the director of the region’s museums, told ITV that “I’m absolutely delighted that Newcastle Gateshead has won this bid on behalf of the north east. I’m literally jumping for joy, it’s great news.

What you’ll see is an exhibition that’s spread across nearly 40 venues – state of the art technology alongside fantastic objects borrowed from partner museums across the country.”
A total of £15 million of additional legacy funding will be spread across the whole of Northeast England.