Art Night festival heads to Dundee for first major event outside London - Museums Association

Art Night festival heads to Dundee for first major event outside London

Ten new commissions in public spaces across the city will be unveiled on 24 June
Art Festival
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, a live performance commissioned for Art Night 2019 in Walthamstow
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, a live performance commissioned for Art Night 2019 in Walthamstow Photo by Rachel Cherry, courtesy of Art Night

Dundee has been announced as the location for the internationally renowned contemporary art festival Art Night in June 2023, the first time the event has taken place outside London.

Scheduled for 24 June, the event will take place over one weekend and be home to 10 new commissions by both internationally established and emerging artists in public spaces across the city.

These commissions will include live events, installations and performances and will take place in well-known locations across the Scottish city. The festival hopes to bring “world-class cultural opportunities” to its audience and participants.

Art Night Dundee will be the organisation’s fifth festival, the first four having taken place in London from 2016 to 2019. The events have hosted celebrated artists including Barbara Kruger, Joan Jonas and Zadie Xa. The 2021 festival took place UK-wide and online due to the pandemic and included an outdoor installation by the Guerrilla Girls in Dundee. The piece was then showcased in other sites across Scotland, England and Wales.

Since 2019, Art Night has been curated by its artistic director Helen Nisbet, a Shetland and London based curator, as well as a team of local project workers and curators in Dundee. Ms Nisbet told Museums Journal that she was “thrilled that Art Night will be taking place in Dundee”.

“When I became artistic director in late 2018, I had an ambition to transition Art Night into a national, nomadic festival, and Dundee was always my preference for the first iteration,” she said.


“The city is host to some of the UK's most interesting curators and cultural leaders and the artist-led scene is inspiring. Hosting the festival in Dundee also allows us to appoint a local team of curators, producers, technicians and others, allowing us to support the local creative economy.”

The festival is set to take place around Dundee’s city centre, with many commissions produced in partnership with local communities as well as co-commissions with local, national and international partners. Some of these will remain in situ for longer than the scheduled event, so that they can be viewed throughout the summer of 2023. One of these pieces will then be gifted to a local collection with the aim of creating a legacy for the festival.

The festival will be free to attend and Art Night says it is making an effort to ensure it is as public as possible, exhibiting past work in spaces like libraries, places of worship and car parks. The organisation has also been working with the charity Attitude is Everything to develop accessibility policies and new measures such as having BSL interpreters at its events.

Nisbet added: “Dundee's rich history means we will present spectacular contemporary art projects in partnership with brilliant heritage partners in the city – artists will be able to research world-leading collections and host projects in beautiful, historically significant venues.”

Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “I am delighted that Dundee will be the first venue outside London to host the unveiling of so many ambitious live events, installations and performances developed in partnership with local communities.

“The city’s reputation as a visitor attraction of choice for its heritage and culture can only be cemented with the announcement of such a prestigious and creative event happening here.”

The artist line up will be revealed later in 2023.

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