The 11th edition of Liverpool Biennial, The Stomach and the Port, will lead with an integrated free Learning Programme for families, schools and the wider community to enjoy in the classroom and at home.

Opening on 20 March as part of the first ‘outside’ chapter of the 2021 Biennial, the Learning Programme will be hosted on the new Biennial Online Portal, a dedicated platform featuring each of the Biennial’s artists and a dynamic programme of public events, alongside the new series of outdoor sculpture, sonic and digital commissions.

To align with government guidelines, the second ‘inside’ chapter will launch the full festival of exhibitions hosted by key venues throughout Liverpool in late Spring.

Through a vibrant selection of online and physical resources, including new participatory artworks commissioned from international artists, families and young people can explore the deeper meaning behind each entry point. Highlights include interactive body percussion workshops and performances; live-in-the-studio artist-led events for teenagers; a pack of things to do, make, learn and read for young children; and a set of online curriculum-based resources for teachers and educators which bring the Biennial into the classroom

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The Learning Programme

KeKeÇa Body Percussion Ensemble

Liverpool Biennial has commissioned KeKeÇa Body Percussion Ensemble to deliver a series of interactive tutorials and performances at key moments throughout the Biennial. Acknowledging the body as a place of lived experience, audiences will be encouraged to participate using their own bodies as percussive and musical instruments. Starting on 20 March, a series of pre-recorded bitesize videos will be hosted on the Biennial Online Portal each week. Live streamed workshops will initially run through a network of schools in Liverpool in the lead up to KeKeÇa Camp at half term (31 May to 4 June), where daily sessions will be released online.

Artist-led Digital Workshops

For up-and-coming young creatives, students aged 14 to 19 will have a unique opportunity to go live-in-the-studio with Liverpool Biennial’s artists, including Teresa Solar (24 March) and Erick Beltrán (21 April), amongst others. Each artist-led digital workshop will provide an intimate setting to get creative and ask questions about the Biennial’s artists’ individual practices. These sessions will investigate the curatorial approach to The Stomach and the Port, working in collaboration with organisations that support local authority areas, as well as LGBT+, refugees and asylum-seeking communities.

Kinship Activity Pack

Packed with things to do, make, learn and read, the illustrated kinship activity pack for families with primary age children, introduces the idea of kinship – how we are connected to each other, our community, nature and technology. From a wild plant word search to a weather report, to learning about skeletons through yoga, the pack will encourage young people to investigate their connections with the wider world, guiding them to become art critics, makers and storytellers through the activities they can do.

Curriculum Resources

A set of online curriculum-based resources for teachers and educators will bring the Biennial into the classroom. Featuring extensive lesson plans that use contemporary creative practices to support the delivery of the national curriculum, a new resource will be uploaded each week for subjects ranging from KS1 to KS4 to support the planning and delivery of teaching in school, at home or other educational settings.

Yael Davids and Liverpool Kinship Carers

Working with Liverpool’s Kinship Carers, a charity that supports kinship families in the city, artist Yael Davids will lead a private series of weekly practices in the Feldenkrais Method exercise. As a practice that invites us to slow down, notice and bring awareness to our bodies, these closed sessions provide care for those who give care to others. Each demonstration will follow the unfolding of The Birds of America, a 19th century book containing life-size illustrations of birds nearing extinction by American naturalist and painter John James Audubon housed in Liverpool’s Central library. The groups will demonstrate patterns of movement in sequences inspired by the imagery of Audubon’s birds, focusing on their anatomy and depicted positioning on the page. Referencing the diasporic nature of birds, David’s work examines themes of community, locality and rootedness, alongside migration and diaspora. The events relate to her work Wingspan of the Captive (2021), that will go on display at the Central Library later in the Spring.

Jorgge Menna Barreto and Rule of Threes: Cultivating Common Ground

Land artist Jorgge Menna Barreto will partner up with Rule of Threes to present the Kinship Days project ‘Cultivating Common Ground’ in collaboration with the network of Merseyside based growers, producers and distributors of produce and plants. Interested in agroforestry, site-specificity, plant-based food and multispecies assemblages, Barreto considers our digestive system as a sculptural tool that has the ability to shape our environment. Originally intended as a picnic, the pandemic has led Barreto to adapt his project to create a pack filled with recipes, resources, local produce, and a Zine. Presenting a local portrait of food and agricultural practices from the grassroot organisations in the region, the Zine will map the places of growth, supply and support for communities around food, as well as including conversations with local farmers and artists, and much more. This shift in approach speaks to important issues around food, from the free school meal crisis to how we can all be producers in the world, as further referenced by Barreto’s mural Mauvais Alphabet (2021) on the side of Bluecoat.