VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival

VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival

20th February – 5th March 2016

Liverpool Air Quality Festival launches on Saturday 20th February, with a fortnight programme of free artistic interventions and public forums to raise awareness of Liverpool’s air quality, which organisers describe as ‘an invisible public health emergency’.

Five Liverpool-based artists – Julieann O’Malley, Tristan Brady-Jacobs, Pamela Sullivan, Tomo and Charlotte Weatherstone, have been commissioned to deliver new cultural products or public art works that engage with the public about air quality. Each new work responds to the issue, its causes, the impact of long-term exposure to microscopic man-made pollution and the solutions that are in our hands.

The artists were each paired with one of a core team of scientists to develop their new art work, including Andy Morse, Professor of Climate Impacts at the University of Liverpool.

Andy said ‘Liverpool is not as polluted as either London or Paris, but it remains one of the poorest cities in Europe, and deprivation brings with it a number of health challenges. Liverpool has very high rates of lung cancer and coronary heart disease, and air pollution is a known risk factor in both of these illnesses.

Government research showed that in 2010 some 239 deaths in Liverpool were attributable to air pollution and 2440 life years lost. That equates to nearly 35 lives of 70 years that is more than half a double decker bus.”

The festival is the culmination of the Liverpool Air Project, which has been initiated and managed by Engage Liverpool CIC, a social enterprise that runs projects that make a positive contribution to the liveability of the City Centre and Waterfront.

Gerry Proctor of Engage Liverpool said ‘Poor air quality in Liverpool is not receiving the profile it deserves as it is a serious public health issue that other cities are facing up to. We want to reach as many people as possible so that we all achieve a level of awareness that leads to positive change in how we live and also how we organise our city. It is wonderful that artists and scientists have worked together to bring the VENT! Arts Festival to the city’.

Julieann O’Malley: Occlusion
Sat 20 Feb, 3.30pm – 5.30pm, Bluecoat, School Lane L1 9BZ

Occlusion is a durational performance installation, incorporating video work, soundscapes and photography that provokes questions and conversation about the real effects of the ‘invisible intruder’ – microscopic man-made pollution.
Audiences will see O’Malley test the limits of her body as she cycles through a cloud of air pollution made visible.

VENT! Public Forum
Sat 20 Feb, 6pm, Bluecoat, School Lane L1 9BZ

A panel of participating artists, scientist and academics discuss the public health emergency that is air quality in Liverpool. Speakers will present the research undertaken as part the Liverpool Air Project and will discuss the art works that have been produced in response to that research. Followed by Q & A.

The panel participants are.

Dr Andy Morse, University of Liverpool Professor of Climate Impacts
Paul Farrell, Environmental Protection Operations Manager Liverpool City Council
Dr Tuheen Huda, an Intensive Care medic, theatre producer, writer and artist
Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts
Plus a number of our VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival artists
Discussion Chaired by Gerry Proctor, Chair of Engage Liverpool CIC

Charlotte Weatherstone: Iris
From Thu 3 March, Jamaica Street Skatepark, Baltic Triangle

Iris is a living breathing installation, a visual promotion of green inner city spaces. Living in the Baltic Triangle Iris, an air spirit, watches over Liverpool. Breathing fresh air her swirling hair is living moss and lichens, she offers her opinion on alternative modes of transport to keep the air quality pure, the buildings clean and people of her city healthy. She also offers a home to wildlife and brightens up an old building with her wildflowers.
Mosses and lichens are ideal for monitoring trends in the deposition of pollutants over time and across difference places, as they are sensitive to increased levels of nitrogen and will notably deteriorate if air quality is poor.

Tomo: Clean Air Vehicle
Thu 3 March, Baltic Triangle

A pop-up installation – the artist presents ‘what might have been’, reflecting on his scheme to customise a small number of Liverpool City Bikes.

Pamela Sullivan: A Warning
From Fri 26 Feb

A Warning is an installation of 50 cocooned skeletons that will be installed around Liverpool City Centre, the Royal Liverpool Hospital and Jamaica Street. The skeletons are constructed from wire and plastic waste materials then cocooned in a soil and sand mixture. They will be installed/hung from tree branches. The rain will slowly wash away the soil cocoon to reveal the enclosed skeleton.
The piece serves as a warning, if we do not take drastic action now to save our planet all that will be left will be skeletons and waste.

Tristan Brady-Jacobs: Liverpool Glorms
Liverpool Glorms Workshop – Sat 20 February, 1pm to 4pm
Bluecoat, School Lane L1 9BZ
Liverpool Glorms street art exhibition – from Fri 26 February

The Liverpool Glorms are ordinary folk made monstrous by their desire to obtain immortality. They retreat behind facades and filters in a world of invisible threats. Using a range of Gasmasks, HOBO will create portraits of Liverpool people, which will then be applied to the walls and surfaces of the city. The portraits will appear in the areas of greatest pollution around the city centre.
Become your own Glorm on 20 February at Bluecoat. HOBO will be running workshops taking portraits with gas masks for his exhibition. Each successful Glorm will receive an A0 version of their baleful self! Come along and haunt yourself.

VENT! Public Forum
Sat 5 March, 4.30pm

Coffee & Fandisha, 5 Brick St, L1 0BL

A panel of participating artists, scientist and academics discuss the public health emergency that is air quality in Liverpool. Speakers will present the research undertaken as part the Liverpool Air Project and will discuss the art works that have been produced in response to that research. Followed by Q & A.
For more information and a list of panelists, go to:

More info:

Engage Liverpool Facebook:
Engage Liverpool Twitter:
Engage Liverpool Air Project:
Engage Liverpool VENT! Event:

Tickets from:

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