Duo's priceless experience at Venice Biennale

Young Liverpool artists will be rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite thanks to an amazing opportunity via Liverpool John Moores University.

PhD's students Anna Smith and Anna Jane Houghton will each spend a month at the Venice Biennale, Europe’s leading art festival, which runs from next week – April 20 to November, and exhibits to hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The opportunity was set up by Liverpool School of Art & Design which successfully put the pair forward for the prestigious British Council Venice Fellowships Programme, designed to support future leaders in art and design.

The two researchers along with other UK ‘Fellows’ will work with the British ‘entry’ to the Biennale, led by Sir John Akomfrah, the respected artist and filmmaker, known for juxtaposing stories from the past and present to explore race, colonialism, migration and British history.

Anna Jane and Anna, from Liverpool and Greater Manchester respectively, have undergone training to invigilate in the British Pavilion and contribute to making it a great experience for visitors with different levels of art expertise and who may not speak their language.

They have also met with Sir John and British Pavilion curator, Tarini Malik, to delve into the core themes of the exhibition and the many ways the viewers might respond.

The pair also get the chance to work on their own projects in the Pavilion. Houghton, who is passionate about sonic art said her ideas included recording underwater with hydrophones to “initiate a dialogue with the architecture of the British Pavilion and the matter that is responsible for transporting all the bodies that come to inhabit it” – i.e. Venice’s famous canals.

Smith, meanwhile, who has a background working in museums, plans to use an asset mapping tool to create a map which celebrates the collaborators of Akomfrah and uncovers how these collaborators connect to wider works and groups which have engaged with the Venice Biennale.

The LJMU Venice Biennale Fellowship were bid for by Dr Emma Roberts, Associate Dean for Global Engagement in the Faculty of Arts, Professional & Social Studies and Joasia Krysa, Professor of Exhibition Research at LJMU.


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