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Your guide to the Great Exhibition of the North 2018

Artist's impression of 80-metre water sculpture on the River Tyne Photo: NGI / GEOTN

The Biggest Event in England in 2018 Great Exhibition of the North

WHAT IS IT? 80 days of exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation and new artworks. The exhibition will tell the story of the north of England and how its innovators, businesses, artists and designers have shaped our present and are inspiring our future.

DATES: A three-month celebration which starts on Friday 22 June and finishes on the weekend of the Great North Run, Sunday 9 September 2018.

TIMINGS: Daily, 10am – 6pm (times may vary at selected venues) *On 22 June, the hubs, trails and venues will open for the first time from 13:00 – 21:00, culminating in an opening event taking place on NewcastleGateshead Quayside that night.

LOCATION: The Exhibition will be hosted in NewcastleGateshead, on behalf of northern England. Visitors will begin their journey at one of three iconic venues – Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead – before joining three trails through 30 venues and public spaces on either side of the River Tyne that celebrate great northern ART and CULTURE, DESIGN, and INNOVATION.

WHO: There will be events to suit all interests and ages.

COST: Free to attend *pre-booking is required for selected free events and ticket fees may apply for selected associate events*

The programme is ambitious and varied, but to give you a taste of what's to come, watch Gregg Easteal's report on the UK's largest water sculpture, coming to the Tyne, as part of the Great Exhibition of the North:

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Also being showcased at the exhibition is the Hyperloop, a revolutionary new travel system that could propel you from Newcastle to Manchester in just 20 minutes. Watch Tom Sheldrick's report:

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If that's whetted your appetite, here's a look at the different events taking place right across NewcastleGateshead.

Map showing where all the events are taking place. Credit: NGI/GEOTN

The Get North Innovation Trail

The ideal starting point is the Great North Museum – one of the three dedicated exhibition hubs. Once you’ve explored the bold Which Way North exhibition and come face to face with the ground-breaking innovations of the north, it’s time to see some of the places where the magic happens.

From medical breakthroughs at Newcastle University and the Centre for Life to solutions of tomorrow’s Smart Cities at Newcastle Helix, you’ll see where boundaries are broken and problems are solved.

Visit the spots where history was made, including Stephenson's Quarter, where the Rocket was designed and built, and the Mining Institute, witness to many engineering world firsts. You can even marvel at Rocket itself on a visit to Discovery Museum.

For full details on this trail, click here

Watch Gregg Easteal's report on the Rocket:

Get North Design Trail

Again the best starting point is the Great North Museum – one of the three dedicated exhibition hubs. Step into a world shaped by the best of northern design. You’ll also learn of a special design challenge, called the Northern Design Quest, which will lead you through idea generation, research, storyboarding and prototyping, developing the brand and finally showcasing your idea at Northern Design Centre.

Follow the Get North Design Trail and you’ll explore the design campus at Northumbria University – whose famous alumni include Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple.

Immerse yourself in the world of children’s literature at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books and call in at the Biscuit Factory – Britain’s biggest commercial gallery – housed in a former Victorian warehouse.

Cross the majestic Gateshead Millennium Bridge to pay a visit to the Northern Design Centre, home to a new generation of entrepreneurs exporting design and digital gaming content to the world.

For more information on this trail, click here

John Lennon's iconic Record Plant piano will be on display. Credit: NGI/GEOTN

Get North Art Trail

If you love art, begin your journey at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. The whole gallery and outdoor spaces are packed with the very best in Northern visual arts.

Then call in to visit its impressive neighbour Sage Gateshead, where you’ll discover a whole world of wonderful sound. Iconic pieces of Northern art, including George Stubbs world-famous painting of the Yorkshire racehorse Whistlejacket will be on display at Great North Museum.

Follow the trail across the majestic Gateshead Millennium Bridge and check out elegant and historic cultural spots including Theatre Royal and Laing Art Gallery. The iconic Angel of the North is well worth venturing a little further afield to visit – be sure to wish it a happy 20th birthday when you do!

For more details on this trail, click here

Maximo Park will be providing music for the water sculpture display. Credit: Steve Gullick

Opening event 22 June

Day time – Free and all welcome

Launching at 1pm with the sound of Teesdale-based artist Steve Messam’s Whistle which will resound across the city, the Great Exhibition of the North trails and venues will be officially open for you to start exploring.

Visitors will be able to experience for the very first time each of the three hub venues, all 30 locations along the trails, pop-up events and much more.

Venues will remain open until dusk falls and as the evening draws in, live music from bands and choirs, dance, animation and performances will spill onto the streets as visitors arrive at to the quayside for a special evening event revealing major Great Exhibition of the North pieces.

Evening – free but ticketed (all tickets have now been allocated)

Audiences will line the quayside to witness the first dramatic display of the UK's largest water sculptures on the River Tyne. But if you are not at the evening event, the water sculpture will perform every day throughout the 80 days of the exhibition.

The 80 metre-long fountain will perform to a soundtrack of three specially commissioned music compositions by Maximo Park and Kate Rusby with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Darkstar.

Mercury prize-nominated northern rock band, Maximo Park, will be performing live from the River Tyne. A new anthem for the north will be unveiled and performed live by renowned writer, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay.

For more information on the opening event and opening weekend, click here

For information on road closures, click here

Lauren Laverne

Event Hubs

Sage Gateshead

Lauren Laverne’s Great Northern Soundtrack (22 June – 1 July) Indulge in some of the best musical talent to come from the North in a week of gigs curated by Sunderland-born Lauren Laverne.

There will also be a Young People's Programme, performances of the opera, The Marriage of Figaro, and Folk on the Tyne, headlining The Unthanks, The Wilsons and The Young’uns.

For the full programme of events at the Sage click here

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts

Artists exhibiting at the BALTIC include:

Turner Prize- winning artist Lubaina Himid, who uses colourful kanga cloth – traditionally worn in East Africa – as a recurring motif throughout her work.

Turner Prize-nominated Michael Dean, a native of the north east, known for his immersive sculptural installations which give writing a physical form.

Ryan Gander's enormous charm bracelet, outsized as if belonging to the child of a giant, will be on display at Baltic Square.

For the full programme at the BALTIC click here

Great North Museum

Which Way North is a visually bold, theatrical takeover of the Great North Museum which will take you on a journey to experience the revolutionary north under one roof.

This museum-wide exhibition is inspired by ‘The Blazing World’, one of the earliest works of Science Fiction published in 1668 by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle.

For full details on this event, click here

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