Celebrated poet Lemn Sissay is among the Greater Manchester artists, performers and institutions contributing to the Great Exhibition of the North, which takes place across Newcastle and Gateshead from 22 June to 9 September.

An opening day presentation of Lemn’s newly created anthem for the North is among the highlights of the 80-day celebration of the region’s creativity.

Events with a Greater Manchester flavour are listed below. A link to the Greater Exhibition of the North website – which contains the latest information for all events – is at the bottom of this post.

- The story of 2D wonder material graphene is a running theme throughout the Great Exhibition of the North – from the story of the lightbulb, in A Light Bulb Moment, to the Graphene Dress at intu’s Little Black Graphene Dress. Graphene was isolated by scientists working at the University of Manchester.

- Graphene is also the “star” of The Hexagon Project, six graphene-inspired events celebrating the North’s explosive creativity and revolutionary history, and shining a light on women in science, music and the arts. The Hexagon Project is produced by creative music charity Brighter Sound and the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester.

- Manchester music is represented in the form of PINS, who formed in Manchester, and singer Roisin Murphy, who spent part of her childhood in Manchester. Both are contributing to Lauren Laverne’s Great Northern Soundtrack - a week of gigs curated by the Sunderland-born singer and radio presenter. The line-up includes: Nightmares on Wax (22 June), Vessels (23 June), Nadine Shah (24 June), PINS (25 June), Roisin Murphy (29 June), Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening + Rachel Unthank & Paul Smith + Jim Ghedi (1 July).

- Part of the closing moments of 2017’s Manchester International Festival, Ceremony is the film made by Cheshire artist and Manchester University alumna, Phil Collins, about the return of Friedrich Engels to Manchester in the form of a Soviet-era statue. It was in Manchester that Engels wrote the key socialist texts that led to him co-authoring The Communist Manifesto with friend Karl Marx. Collins’ film follows the statue’s remarkable journey and Manchester’s response to its homecoming. Phil Collins, Ceremony (22 June – 30 September) BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

- An enormous charm bracelet, outsized as if belonging to the child of a giant, is waiting to be discovered at Baltic Square. It’s the playful work of conceptual artist Ryan Gander, who grew up in Chester and studied at Manchester Metropolitan University. Gander has curated a series of pared down sculptures depicting objects that symbolise innovation born in the North of England; commissions from artists such as Jane and Louise Wilson, Michael Dean and Tim Etchells; and a maquette of Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North.  The exhibition celebrates the lively spirit of Northern innovation with sculptures depicting a series of objects linked to our ingenuity. Each object demonstrates the North’s desire to shine a light on the world, through world-changing inventions such as Joseph Swan’s incandescent lightbulb and George Stephenson’s Geordie safety lamp. The large concrete sculptures are linked together by a maritime mooring chain, hinting at the dark depths of the River Tyne. Ryan Gander, To Give Light (Northern Aspirational Charms, 22 June – 28 August, Baltic Square, Gateshead.

- EVERY THING EVERY TIME is an artwork by the artist Naho Matsuda, commissioned by the Great Exhibition of the North with support from FutureEverything, to demonstrate the stories that can be uncovered from a city using the data generated by its visitors, residents and workers. EVERY THING EVERY TIME takes information from our interactions to tell a new story about the people and places of Newcastle. Watch how the daily data measuring fluctuations including weather, traffic and travel is used to generate a poem that’s written in real time and displayed on a mechanical display. EVERY THING EVERY TIME, Outside Theatre Royal Plinth in Newcastle upon Tyne, throughout the exhibition.

- Stephenson’s Rocket will return to Tyneside from the Science Museum in London for the Great Exhibition of the North. The Rocket was designed and built by George Stephenson with the help of his son, Robert, and Henry Booth, for the 1829 Rainhill Trials. The Trials were held by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company, to find the best locomotive engine for a railway line that was being built to serve these two English cities. On the day of the Trials, some 15,000 people came along to see the race of the locomotives. In 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened and the first steam passenger service, primarily locomotive-hauled, began. More at https://getnorth2018.com/events/return-stephensons-rocket/

The Great Exhibition of the North takes place at various venues in Newcastle and Gateshead between 22 June and 9 September. Go to www.getnorth2018.com for the latest information on events.

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