Liverpool’s waterfront was lined with beach huts celebrating British culture, new technology and art, as part of the International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB2016). This ambitious cultural project was curated by Metal, to animate the city as part of IFB2016.
Artists, makers, poets, performers and creative entrepreneurs occupied the beach huts creating temporary stations for live music, workshops, performances and conversations throughout the festival, which ran from June 11 – July 3 2016.
There was a trail of 20 unique huts starting at the Exhibition Centre, through the Albert Dock and onto the main thoroughfare of the Strand (‘strand’ being the old English word for beach).
This iconic route attracted festival delegates and encourage the wider public to find out more about what Liverpool and the creative industries have to offer. Each cluster of Beach Huts contained a selection of new commissions which showcased the work of creative organisations from the Northern Powerhouse cities of Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Hull.
The themes of IFB2016 were creative and digital economies, technology, manufacturing sustainability, energy and the environment. It attracted thousands of international SMEs and high-level delegates from some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) showed the international business community that Liverpool is an independent, innovative city, that encourages experimentation by making great art with cutting edge technologies, through its collaborative project with Google, Red Ninja, Draw and Code, the University of Liverpool, the Object Liberation Front (OLF).
Outside the Echo Arena, artist Hilary Jack created a new piece responding to a question posed by Gaia Vince author of ‘Adventures in the Anthropocene’. The Anthropocene is a new evolutionary stage of our planet where the human impact has a greater significance than nature. A giant palm breaking out of the roof of the hut suggested what kind of nature we might expect in this new era.
Independent music magazine Bido Lito! dedicated each weekend to an emerging Liverpool music artist at their Dockside Beach Party. Local artists curate a bill of live music acts during the weekends of the three week festival.
Also appearing in a parade of colourful beach huts were: a Carnival Hut, programmed by Liverpool-based theatre group Suitcase Ensemble; artist Kev Grey’s spray painted installation responding to a topical question from designer Wayne Hemingway; and a Pride hut, celebrating the city region’s support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) residents.