Glasgow International, one of the UK’s largest and most influential visual art festivals, will take place across the city from 11 – 27 June 2021.
Originally scheduled to open in April 2020, the Festival was postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Festival will showcase the city as a centre for the production and display of innovative contemporary art, and will comprise a Director’s Programme of larger-scale commissions and exhibitions, in collaboration with partners and venues, as well as Across the City, a wider programme of exhibitions and projects, selected from proposals by artists, curators and producers who live and work in Glasgow. Further details about the programme of exhibitions will be released in early 2021.
An online edition of the Festival, launched in April 2020 to coincide with the dates of its physical iteration, had it not been postponed, featured new online commissions by artists Alberta Whittle, Jenkin van Zyl, Yuko Mohri and Liv Fontaine, and existing work by Georgina Starr, Urara Tsuchiya and Sarah Forrest. Additional programming included an audio introduction to the festival by Director Richard Parry; and a recorded panel discussion which explored the ways in which the resonance of the festival’s theme of attention had changed in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Glasgow International would like to thank the Scottish Government for its recent emergency relief support which will enable the Festival to take place in 2021. The money granted through this emergency relief support will be much needed income for the many freelance practitioners who make the festival happen, including artists, designers, curators, producers and others involved in developing and presenting work, as well as towards the myriad of behind the scenes operations that go into the festival next June.
Core funders and major programme supporters for Glasgow International 2021 are Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Creative Scotland and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and Art Fund.
Richard Parry, Director of Glasgow International said: “Going without the festival this year has shown just how vital it is in our lives. The festival is a connector; it brings audiences to artworks, it connects different parts of the city, it connects artists with other artists and arts professionals. It connects Glasgow with the rest of the world and above all it connects us with what really matters – human expression. We’re thrilled to have the festival as a live event back on our horizons and to be once again opening up Glasgow’s energy as a place of imagination and making with those looking to share in its magic.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Glasgow International is a critical platform on which to present our incredibly talented artists who live and study in Scotland, and is a vital pipeline for interaction and for showcasing work across the world.
“Like so many people, I was saddened when it had to be cancel this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but took heart in the swift action Glasgow International took to deliver a fantastic digital version of their 2020 edition.
“In these uncertain times, it is welcome news that plans are underway to develop a safe version of the festival next year to resume showcasing the city as a centre for the production and display of innovative contemporary art. These plans will be developed with up to £150,000 of funding support from the Scottish Government.”
Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow is recognised around the world as a leading centre for visual artists creating new work and developing the form in exciting and diverse ways. It brings us huge kudos as well as financial benefits, and is vital for the city’s proud identity. Therefore, it is important and fantastic news that Glasgow International will hold a festival in 2021 both to retain that profile internationally but also to support our many freelance artists and curators in this challenging time, and ensure the cultural ecology of the city remains vital.”
Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland said: “It’s very encouraging to be looking forward into 2021 and confirming dates for GI.
“Recognised as a critical, public platform for the work of artists based in Scotland and also a significant opportunity for international artists to stage new work, GI 2021 opens up opportunities for us all to experience some of the very best art being made in these uncertain times.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Scotland’s events and festivals have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, so it is encouraging to see the green shoots of recovery with the announcement of the dates for Glasgow International next summer.
“The Festival contributes significantly to Glasgow’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading cities for contemporary art by providing a platform for local and international artists to showcase their work. This platform will be more important than ever as we build our recovery from COVID-19 as events play a key role in our communities by helping sustaining livelihoods as well as bringing social and economic change.”