AV Festival 2016: Meanwhile, what about Socialism?
AV Festival announces the full programme and theme for 2016. Socialism was the most looked-up word in 2015. Largely attributable to the popularity of US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party, it reflects a year of political alternatives becoming reality. George Orwell’s polemical book The Road to Wigan Pier is the thematic framework for the next two editions of AV Festival. Exactly eighty-years ago in 1936 Orwell was commissioned by the Left Book Club to write on the depressed areas of the North of England and spent two months travelling and living in the industrial North. The Road to Wigan Pier is his account of working-class life amidst growing social injustice, poverty, unemployment and class division; it is also an argumentative analysis of English socialism. Orwell concludes that the basis for democratic socialism is equality and fairness; to make socialism work people of all classes need to understand about oppression and inequality.
AV Festival mirrors the structure of The Road to Wigan Pier, with ‘Part One’ in 2016 followed by ‘Part Two’ in 2018. This suggests a radical new curatorial approach for a biennial Festival enabling artistic ideas to develop between 2016 and 2018.
AV Festival 2016: Meanwhile, what about Socialism? directly responds to Orwell’s original 1936 commission, by historically foregrounding the theme and inviting several artists to live in Newcastle during the Festival. AV Festival 2016 presents work by artists and filmmakers who situate themselves in relation to historic political struggle, revolution and social movements, creating new forms of resistance to neoliberal capitalism. Presented in 14 venues the programme, curated by Festival director Rebecca Shatwell, features 12 solo installations, 48 film screenings, nine artist talks and four performances, including 17 UK premieres. The Festival launches on Fri 26 February at 6pm with a special reception at The Mining Institute in Newcastle, followed by the festival exhibition preview.
AV Festival 2016 takes place between 27 February - 27 March at venues across Newcastle and Gateshead.
Details of the programme strands including the Festival exhibition and series of special weekend events is online now.