Kids Allowed! 5 Things to Do with the Family at Liverpool Biennial 2016

Posted on 28 August 2016 by Liverpool Biennial

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Dogsy Ma Bone, 12 June 2016 at Cains Brewery, Liverpool. Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Mark McNulty

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Dogsy Ma Bone, 12 June 2016 at Cains Brewery, Liverpool. Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Mark McNulty

Art is by no means just for adults. In fact, we are fascinated by the way children see the world differently from grown-ups – so much so that we have dedicated a whole section of this year’s festival specifically to young people. Read on to discover our top tips for a fun-filled family day out at Liverpool Biennial 2016.

1. Step into art at Cains Brewery

Begin your Biennial experience by exploring the cavernous space of  Cains Brewery. Follow Ian Cheng’s small digital dog, Shiba Emissary, on a tour around the exhibition and enter a giant portal designed by Greek artist Andreas Angelidakis, inspired by the Large Hadron Collider. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of strange sculptures by three Iranian artists. Who knew art could be made out of cabbages and birds? Make origami, see the world from an extraterrestrial point of view, and encounter fossilised characters and artefacts from science fiction. 

Sahej Rahal, Undergod, 2016. Installation view at Cains Brewery. Photo: Mark McNulty 

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian. Installation view at Cains Brewery. Photo: Mark McNulty 

Make your way to the centre of the Collider, where a little orange door designed by Céline Condorelli awaits. This is a portal that only children can enter, transporting you straight into the playful world of Dogsy Ma Bone: a theatrical film and performance by 78 local school children and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, inspired by the cartoon Betty Boop and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. Take a pew on a Where’s Wally bench and watch the strange and colourful story unfold.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of  Banjo and the Portal Adventures before you leave. The short story invites you to join Banjo the cat on a journey across the city, collecting stamps from the Biennial exhibitions and filling up your book along the way.

2. Discover giant laser beams inside a reservoir

Head over to Liverpool 8 to discover art on the city’s streets and inside unexpected places. Over at the echo-filled Toxteth Reservoir, a luminous wormhole has opened-up providing a portal between parallel worlds. Experience this giant laser beam artwork by  Rita McBride while soaking in the history of Liverpool’s Victorian water system. Then head over to Lara Favaretto’s nearby 24-tonnes granite stone and listen to the sound made when you drop a coin into its hollow interior. Finally, take a peek through the metal holes of Alisa Baremboym’s UFO-like sculpture at Roseberry Street and see if you can identify the strange object inside.

Rita McBride, Portal, 2016. Installation view at Toxteth Reservoir. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

Alisa Baremboym, Locus of Control, 2016. Installation view at Rosebery Street. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones

3. Time travel to the past and future

Step into the world of Ancient Greece at  Tate Liverpool where artists from classical antiquity and the present day have come together to create weird and wonderful artwork. It’s not every day that you see a marble sculpture topped with an elephant’s head and flip flops. Meanwhile, over at Open Eye Gallery, Japanese artist Koki Tanaka has recreated the iconic moment in Liverpool’s past when 10,000 school children took to the streets in 1985, in protest against the government's Youth Training Scheme.


Youth Training Scheme Protest, Liverpool, 25 April 1985. Photo courtesy of Dave Sinclair

To travel forwards in time as well as back, head to  Liverpool ONE where Mariana Castillo Deball’s infinite staircase stands. You’ll probably need a rest at this point, so take a seat on one of its steps and read an accompanying newspaper about a character who can jump across the same date in different years throughout history.

Mariana Castillo Deball, To-day 9th of July 2016, 2016 in Liverpool ONE. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones

Nearby at  FACT, join a Pokémon Go Biennial Trail on 10 September and help us to find out exactly what sorts of Pokémon can be found at this year's Liverpool Biennial venues around the city.

As you pass through the city centre, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for our  artist-designed buses, including Hello Future Me: a giant double-decker artwork designed by pupils from Childwall Sports & Science Academy, and carrying NASA-inspired messages to the future citizens of Liverpool.

Left to right – Frances Disley, Blaze, 2016; Hato with Childwall Academy, Hello Future Me, 2016; Ana Jotta, Mrs. Muir, 2016. Liverpool Biennial 2016. Photo: Niall Lea

4. Enter the world of Minecraft

Once you’re home, jump online and enter the virtual world of Minecraft where you can fire paintbrushes like arrows and fashion your own sculptures in a global effort to  create the largest virtual sculpture ever made. Alternatively, join FACT for a free Minecraft Infinity Project Workshop on Saturday 24 September. 


5. Take part in family-friendly workshops

Finally, Liverpool Biennial 2016 also includes a large range of free activities and workshops for families and young people. Laugh out loud and create your own performances at our monthly  Sunday Comedy Club at Tate Liverpool (next sessions take place on 25 September and 16 October). Learn new, hands-on skills from designing with technology and the role of art in gaming, to sculpting, filmmaking and animation techniques at FACT’s Do Something! Saturdays. Make your own masterpieces at Bluecoat’s Explore artist-led activity sessions.

Free to visit, Liverpool Biennial 2016 is open daily from 10am – 6pm until 16 October. Download the festival 
guide and map, gain information about planning your visit or contact us with any questions you may have.