Museums at night - the bigger picture

UK’s Leading Contemporary Artists Yinka Shonibare, Gillian Wearing & Luke Jerram To Take Part in Museums at Night October Festival


Museums at Night- the UK’s annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage- will be taking place twice this year.  The second Museums at Night festival kicks off over Halloween weekend, Friday and Saturday October 30 and 31, during which time museums, galleries and historic spaces all over the UK will be opening up late to put on a dazzling array of special night-time events.

Some of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, including Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing, Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE, installation artist Luke Jerram, street artist Pure Evil, multidisciplinary artist duo Davy and Kristin McGuire  and artist Alinah Azadeh will be working with museums and galleries around the UK to create a series of truly unique participatory events for Museums at Night.

The events in detail:

Gillian Wearing: The Shy Convention, The Backlit, Nottingham.
Saturday October 31.

Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing’s work draws on theatrical techniques, private fantasies and psychological trauma. She explores how public personas and private lives intersect, in an investigation of the way in which we present ourselves to the external world. Her confessional photos and films have influenced modern day culture from Big Brother to current advertising campaigns.

Notoriously shy herself; Wearing will be creating The Shy Convention. Join Gillian at The Backlit in Nottingham for an afternoon of creative sessions exploring confidence and creative language and ways to present and perform publically. In the evening members of the public will be invited to create spoken word performance reflecting personal stories about their own lives based on the theme of love.  There will also be spoken word from the Mouthy Poets.

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Inventive Factory -24 hour Art All-Nighter, The Novium, Chichester.
Friday 30 October - Saturday 31 October.

Shonibare’s work explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and film. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His trademark material is the brightly coloured ‘African’ batik fabric he buys at Brixton market. Shonibare was a Turner prize nominee in 2004, and was also awarded the MBE, a title he has added to his professional name.

Yinka Shonibare MBE will be hosting a 24-hour Art All-Nighter for Museums at Night. The event will feature artists responses to the museum’s collection on the theme of Inventive Factory.  The idea for the event was inspired by local inventor Colin Pullinger. His studio, called the Inventive Factory, was where he invented the first humane mousetrap. The event was further inspired by Guest Projects, an initiative by the Shonibare studio, which offers the opportunity for artists of any discipline to have access to free project space for a month.

Shonibare will also create a unique participatory experience to contribute to the round-the-clock activity filling every nook and cranny of the museum with artists, students, community groups and kids evoking an atmosphere reminiscent of Warhol’s creative hub.

Luke Jerram: Harrison’s Garden, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Devon.
Friday 30 and Saturday 31 October.

Luke Jerram is known worldwide for his interactive large-scale public live art projects. Most recently Park and Slide saw a giant water slide being installed on Bristol’s Park Street, while his celebrated street pianos installation Play Me, I’m Yours has been presented in over 46 cities across the world.

Luke Jerram will be creating a unique new installation called Harrison’s Garden for Museums at Night (John Harrison was an 18th century clock designer who solved the problem of determining longitude at sea). The “garden of time” will feature 1000 clocks donated by members of the public, along with their individual stories. The clocks will be placed in a space where notions of time or time passing are significant to help people think about our past, present and future.  There will also be activities, workshops and a talk from Luke Jerram.

Pure Evil; Halloween at the High Mill, Verdant Works, Dundee
Saturday 31 October

Pure Evil is the name by which Charles Uzzel-Edwards, direct descendent of Sir Thomas More, is known in the contemporary art and street graffiti world. His art is heavily inspired by skate culture and graffiti artists from the west coast of America and includes the trademark ‘Evil Bunny’ tag.  Pure Evil has exhibited globally and also owns and runs the Pure Evil gallery in Shoreditch, London from which he’s produced over 50 exhibitions for other artists.

For one night only, Pure Evil will be creating an improvisational event where art, music and culture collide -transforming a new gallery space at the Verdant Works museum, a former Jute mill in Dundee, with experimental soundscapes, light and projected sculpture inspired by the politically active mill community. Members of the public can work with this celebrated street artist on street printing, tag tool drop in workshops and DIY graffiti wall stenciling. Pure Evil will also be dj’ing on the night.

Booking essential £6.

Davy and Kristin McGuire: Perfect? Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Birkenhead.
Friday October 30

Davy and Kristin McGuire design unique visual experiences through art installations and theatrical projects. Their hybrid art works are delicate filigree fantasies that are momentarily brought to life through projection mapping and storytelling. Winners of The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2013, their work has included theatre productions such as The Icebook and the atmospheric stage adaptation of popular fantasy novel, Howl’s Moving Castle. Their award winning theatre show The Paper Architect premiered in July 2013 at the Barbican London and their Hitchcock Trilogy is currently on show at The Cambridge Film Festival.

For Museums at Night, the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum have commissioned a new McGuires artwork called Starkers. The site-specific piece will explore the idea of perfection and the female form. Using projection, voice and music, the artists will be bringing Pauline, one of the gallery’s classic Italian marble statues, to life. The installation will be accompanied by an exhibition of nudes from the Williamson's collection
and private views for two new exhibitions inspired by the work of the McGuires. Expect an alternative evening with dj’s, creative food from Supper Club @the Nook, craft beer and a 360o bar. Tickets £16

Alinah Azadeh: All About The Gift, The Freud Museum, London
Friday October 30

Alinah Azadeh is a British artist working across media. Her works are rooted in the living and disclosure of personal experiences - which act as a bridge into the work for others to take. Involving the public in acts of gift, ritual and playful exchange, her work creates dialogue around the nature of loss, longing and our social identities. Alinah’s current project is Burning the Books. Based on her own personal experience of debt, this national touring project uses metaphor and story to explore debt and the deep moral power it seems to exert on individuals and society in general.

For Museums at Night, Alinah Azadeh and The Freud Museum will be creating a very special evening of events and activities based on the theme of gift and generosity, debt and gratitude. The night will include the chance to talk with Alinah on Freud’s famous couch, a Q & A with the artist and the first public screening of Alinah’s film of The Burning the Books.

Halloween Themed Events.
There are a whole host of Halloween themed events on offer at Museums at Night this October including a Day of the Dead Fiesta at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, a Ghost Walk at Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes, a Halloween night at Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, a night of pumpkin carving at the Manchester Art Gallery, murder mystery at the Powell-Cotton museum in Kent, a screening of silent German expressionist classic Nosferatu (1927) (based on the story Dracula) with accompaniment from Dmytro Morykit at The Guildhall in Leicester, ghost train rides on the Kempton and Hampton Steam Railway in Feltham, a new scary re-enactment of plague-ridden Medieval England in The Canterbury Tales in Canterbury, the opportunity to sleep in one of the National Trust's haunted houses, Dinefwr in Llandeilo,  a daring night evading zombies at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, a spooky evening with fire-breathers, storytelling and frightening fancy dress at Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire, an eerie evening exploring the shadowy corridors of the ss Great Britain brought to life by performers from Made in Britain and a night of Tarot, mediums and Victorian séances at Preston Manor in Brighton, on the spookiest night of the year!

Other highlights of Museums at Night October festival include:

Spirited London: Gin and the City at London Transport Museum - Journey through the long and chequered history of gin, from its medicinal roots and up to today’s gin resurgence. Sit back and enjoy talks from Nicholas Cook of The Gin Guild and Tom Hills, Distiller at The East London Liquor Company, as they guide you through tasting eight gins that each define moments in its history. Remember to make time to enjoy a delicious gin cocktail or two from our bar.

An Evening With Andy McNab at The Tank Museum, Dorset - Former SAS soldier and best-selling author Andy McNab returns to the Tank Museum in October, sharing his experiences of commanding Bravo Two Zero during the Gulf War, and also talking about his latest Nick Stone release: ‘Detonator’ (due for release on 22nd October 2015 and available to buy from the Museum shop on the night). There will be an opportunity for signing memorabilia and a curry meal in the restaurant before the talk (vegetarian option will be available).

Banknotes and Bullion at Bank of England Museum - A rare opportunity to visit the Bank of England Museum out of hours. Throughout the night there will be presentations on banknotes, with some of the Bank's experts demonstrating easy ways to check that your banknotes are genuine, and talking about the upcoming launch of polymer banknotes.

Craven Street Bones at Benjamin Franklin House, London - In 1997, a chance discovery during conservation sparked an investigation at Benjamin Franklin House: how did human skeletal remains of up to 10 individuals come to be buried under the basement floor?  Operations Manager, Braena Sykes, will explore the answer to this question and reveal the darker side of the 18th century’s pursuit of knowledge. Not suitable for children.

Wild @ White's Sleepover! at Gilbert White's House and Garden and The Oates Collection, Hampshire - An exciting natural history themed sleepover for families with an evening packed full of activities that explore local wildlife and a bat walk and campfire before going to sleep inside the 16th century barn.

Full listings of all events, many of which are free, can be found at