Artists, Creatives and Dreamers – this is Liverpool Calling…

The first plans for a major cultural festival to take place alongside Eurovision have been announced and artists and creatives from all competing nations are encouraged to get involved. 

It’s just over six weeks since Liverpool was named as the 2023 host city for the Eurovision Song Contest, staging the global event on behalf of Ukraine.

Today, the internationally-renowned Culture Liverpool team has begun to make its winning bid a reality by issuing a call out to artists, creatives, makers, musicians and performers for ideas towards creating an inclusive, thought-provoking, entertaining, and diverse cultural festival in the lead up to May’s main event. 

The festival will include a series of commissions, events and installations which will celebrate UK music, Eurovision and most importantly, act as a platform for showcasing modern Ukraine – an ambitious, progressive country.

The commissioning call out is in three categories:

UK and Ukraine

These commissions will bring together Ukrainian and UK-based artists and producers to collaborate on creating new projects which capture the ambition and energy of modern Ukraine. Artists can come from any discipline, although there is a particular interest in large-scale outdoor works and installations.

Each commission must bring together a Ukrainian artist, creative or collective with a UK counterpart. Applications from Ukrainian nationals living in Ukraine or outside of the UK are welcome, and support will be given to match those individuals with a UK collaborator.

Music United

These commissions will celebrate the power of music to bring communities together. They will encapsulate the joy and congregation that music can bring across boundaries, ages and backgrounds.

Eurovision in Liverpool

These commissions will be a celebration of the joy, diversity of spirit, plurality of opinion and sheer fabulousness of Eurovision taking place in the heart of the UK’s most exciting city. They may draw on the history of the competition, or look to its future, or simply revel in what it stands for.

Anyone interested must:

  • Have a history of creating high-quality work of scale, ambition and accessibility.
  • Be willing to work in collaboration with other artists and producers.
  • Deliver breathtaking work in a short timeframe.

Applications are welcome from creatives who live in the nations competing in Eurovision 2023 and in particular from artists from Ukraine and from the Liverpool City Region. 

The deadline for expressions of interest is midday Monday 12 December 2022. Those successful in this first stage will be given an initial £2k funding to formally develop their proposal.  

The Cultural Festival has been made possible through support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and will include partners the Ukrainian Institute and British Council in the commissioning process.

For full details and information on how to apply, visit the Culture Liverpool  website.

Information about Liverpool’s plans for the Eurovision education and community programmes will be announced in the new year.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said, “It’s been a whirlwind six weeks since we found out that Liverpool has the honour of hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine.

“The cultural festival was one of the highlights of our bid. Liverpool’s track record of curating innovative, high-quality artistic events combined with our ambition and determination to pay tribute to our Ukrainian friends stood out to the judges. It demonstrated a real understanding of the importance of collaboration and what unforgettable moments can be created when we work together.

“Launching the culture commissions call-out is a huge milestone in our planning process.  This is a city that thrives on creativity and is willing to push boundaries, so we are excited to unleash the potential of artists from across the world.

“We’re excited to see what ideas are submitted in what we’re predicting will be a competitive, thrilling and highly sought-after process. And what’s more exciting is we’re just getting started!”

Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew said, “Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest is about bringing Ukrainian culture to the world and showcasing the power of music to bring people together.

“We are supporting Liverpool’s Eurovision Cultural Festival to generate a wave of exciting arts projects and installations across the city as it prepares to become host city and leave a legacy that will endure long after the contest ends. I encourage fantastic artists from all the nations competing to get involved.” 

Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General, Ukrainian Institute said, “The Cultural Festival to take place alongside Eurovision in Liverpool is a major opportunity to showcase Ukrainian culture to UK and global audiences. I hope the commissions will reflect the resilience, creativity, hope, and diversity of today’s Ukraine and the powerful voices of its artists and creatives. I would like to thank our UK partners for standing with Ukraine in these challenging times and for hosting the contest on our behalf.”

Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan CBE, said, “These commissions will fulfil our promise to Ukraine and also enable artists to engage in Eurovision in a completely new way. We always wanted to do more than what you see on screen and this free festival will give thousands of people the opportunity to engage with brilliance from artists around the world.”

Martin Green, BBC Managing Director, Eurovision Song Contest 2023 said, “The city of Liverpool is set to come alive as people from around the world come together to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest. These commissions will reflect the very best of UK and Ukrainian culture in a world-class festival and we can’t wait to see what’s in store.”

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