RISE Liverpool – #RISEwithUS

On International Women’s Day, Liverpool announces details of events to celebrate inspirational women.

RISE Liverpool – #RISEwithUS

by Culture Liverpool

Liverpool ‘RISE’s to the occasion celebrating extraordinary women.

In the year which sees the city host the Netball World Cup, the RISE programme will pay homage to extraordinary women from Liverpool and from around the world with the aim to inspire, educate and empower others – regardless of their age or gender.

It features a series of brand new artistic commissions, world-firsts, exhibitions and performances by leading female artists, thinkers and leaders, with the majority of activities being free to attend.



Liverpool Cathedral

8-28 March


A moving showcase by renowned Colombian artist Erika Diettes, the exhibition features 20 large-scale, black and white shrouds, emblazoned with photographs of women who have been forced to witness the murder of, or violence towards, their loved ones. Diettes’ work shines a spotlight on the survivors, and acknowledges not only their suffering, but their continued faith in humanity. A collective of local artists called Mother’s Day Project will work with a group of refugee women and Erika Diettes on a response performance to Sudarios which will take place later this year.

The Female Gaze: Women Depicting Women

Dot-art Castle Street
8 March- 4 May

This new exhibition showcases the work of three women artists, Liz Jeary, Mia Cathcart and Rebecca Atherton. Each artist depicts women in their work, capturing and exploring identity and the complex representations of women in art through diverse art forms.

 Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett

29 March-16 June

Bringing together the work of two filmmakers which spans more than 40 years, technology is used to subvert classic elements of fairy tale storytelling, and their works stand as a refusal to yield to patriarchal societies which exist to control, conform and conquer.


Open Eye Gallery
29 April-30 June

Kinship looks at how women are using photography to reflect upon their sense of kin. The projects collected together seek to uncover the ways people build close relationships amongst each other that feel like family. The exhibition features Pixy Liao, Momo Okabe, Margaret Mitchell, Lydia Goldblatt, Jenny Lewis, and Johanna Heldebro

Shanghai Sacred

Victoria Gallery (University of Liverpool)
1 May – 1 September

Award-winning photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley explores religious rituals and their social contexts in Shanghai – a city she spent three years exploring and analysing its spiritual landscape. The work will be displayed using a Chinese freestanding bamboo structure made by artist Chen Hangfeng.


Pier Head
31 May to 28 June

In a brand new commission for both RISE and River Festival Liverpool, the Pier Head will become a canvas for in-demand artist Jola Kudela. Her speciality is working in public spaces and engaging with communities to recreate scenes from classic paintings, giving it a 21st century twist. Jola uses contemporary models to feature in her art, and creates huge collages which are then pasted on to unusual backdrops, often on to derelict abandoned buildings, so the composition itself becomes part of the urban landscape.

 First Women Exhibition

St George’s Hall
18 June – 27 August

This exhibition comprises of a unique collection of 100 portraits capturing women in the UK who were “first” in their field of achievement. Taken by internationally acclaimed photographer Anita Corbin, they aim to provide inspiration and insight for a new generation of women seeking an understanding of their own roles in a rapidly changing world in which equality is still an issue.

A Portrait Of…

Open Eye Gallery
15 July – 30 September

This work looks at how we see each other through photography, something that most of us use to communicate every day. The projects on show share new perspectives on youth, disability and age.

April Ashley Archive

Liverpool Central Library
28 July – 28 August

Liverpool City Council has been given exclusive permission to exhibit a small selection from the archive of April Ashley MBE, the trans-pioneer, model and actress. It will include artefacts recording April’s time from Pitt Street to the glamour of the Carousel Club in Paris and appearances in Vogue magazine. There will also be letters and photographs of the Liverpool woman and icon who helped change the legal and social representation of gender.

How to be a…

How to be a Songwriter

Tuesday 12 March
All places already allocated

The powerhouse behind tracks on Beyoncé’s critically revered Lemonade as well as other global hits by Britney Spears and Craig David – Carla Marie Williams – will be giving an intimate masterclass aimed at aspiring young females. The session will see Carla give advice on how women can break into the male-dominated music industry.

How to be a Spy

St George’s Hall
Tuesday 18 June

Dame Stella Rimington – the first female Director General of MI5 – will talk about her various roles in the security service. After leaving MI5, Dame Stella has become a celebrated author, with her ‘insider knowledge’ making her spy novels a must-read. Tickets will be on sale in the coming weeks.

How to be a Sports Journalist and Broadcaster

July (Date TBC)
Liverpool ONE

Presenter, writer and broadcaster Clare Balding will take part in a special Q&A talking about her award-winning career, its highlights and any advice she would give to both men and women who are looking to follow in her footsteps.


 SisBis Presents International Women’s Day

24 Kitchen Street
Friday 8 March 6pm-4am
£5 after 10pm

All-women music collective SisBis mark International Women’s Day and their RISE involvement with a free arts, music and crafts event from 6-10pm, with drop-in workshops throughout the evening. This will be followed by a live performance from the Refugee Women Connect choir. After this there will be DJ sets from Manara, a BBC Asian Network Resident and Giovanna, who is part of SisBis, an NTS resident, and one of Liverpool’s fastest rising stars. All proceeds go to Refugee Women Connect.

Bangin’ Pans Project

Liverpool Central Library
Saturday 9 March – 2-3pm

This music project supports and encourages girls and young women living in Liverpool to get involved in all aspects of the music industry – as musicians, technicians, photographers, film makers, designers, bloggers and event designers. The group has been working together for the past few months and this will be their first public performance. Watch out for more to come including Saturday March 30 at Threshold and as part of BBC Music Week in June.


24 Kitchen Street
Friday 29 March
Tickets from £8.50  

Discwoman is a leading global music collective and New York-based booking agency which exclusively represents women and LGBTQ+ artists. This special club night will cover the electro, house, jungle and techno genres and will feature Volvox, Ciel and Juana who are forces to be reckoned with on the DJ scene.


Children’s Festival of Reading

June and July
Venues across Liverpool

A celebration of books for children and young people will see a mixture of schools events, community and family workshops and author readings. As part of RISE, the festival will feature amazing female authors such as Lorraine Gregory and Gabrielle Kent. The event has been organised by the Liverpool Learning Partnership.

Disco Classical with Special Guest Sister Sledge featuring Kathy Sledge

Liverpool International Music Festival
Sefton Park, Sunday 21 July

The first act to be announced for LIMF 2019 is the unmissable live experience: Disco Classical featuring Sister Sledge with Kathy Sledge. The show will feature a 35-piece orchestra and a carefully curated selection of much-loved disco hits as part of an explosive performance featuring a host of collaborators.


Details TBC

This month of film screenings will aim for 58% of the films it shows being either made by women or about women.

RISE Response

Ten female Liverpool writers will take up residence and write in response to Rise festival as it unfolds throughout 2019.  Their poems, songs, stories and plays-in-miniature will pop up throughout the festival year, in film, print, online and in performance.  The writers include Lizzie Nunnery (Winner of Best New Play at UK Theatre awards 2017), acclaimed poets Helen Tookey (Best British Poetry 2014, Salt) and Jennifer Lee Tsai (Ten: Poets of the New Generation, Bloodaxe 2017), playwright Lindsay Rodden (The Story Giant), Yemeni-Scouse performance poet Amina Atiq (BBC6 Music Festival), short story writer Stephanie Jane Gray (Writing on the Wall) and acclaimed novelist and playwright Deborah Morgan (Disappearing Home).

More announcements will be made over the coming months which will include details of the Netball World Cup opening ceremony, Feminist Book Fortnight, a very special ‘How to be a…’ session which will be out of this world and two brand new public art commissions.

Tickets and latest information for all events can be found by visiting, following @Rise_Liverpool on Twitter and Instagram and using #RISEwithUS.

Any artist, cultural organisation or group across the city staging events or activities this year which celebrate women are encouraged to head to and fill in the online form and the event could be promoted on the website as part of the RISE season.

Although RISE officially launches today, a number of preview events have taken place, including the ambitious free, 209 Women exhibition – an all-female exhibit at Open Eye Gallery which features new portraits of women MPs from across the country, shot entirely by women photographers. It runs until Sunday 14 April.

RISE has been curated by Liverpool City Council and funded by Arts Council England. Other partners include University of Liverpool, The Women’s Organisation, Blackburne House, Northern Power Women, Merseyside Women of the Year, The Girls Network and the Mayoral Club.

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