The Late Shows, Newcastle

On Friday and Saturday night, 2012’s The Late Shows took place around cultural venues in the North East of England. The Late Shows, part of international Museums at Night festivities, is an inspiring, after dark programme of events and exhibitions centering on the cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening. There are so many brilliant venues to go and visit, and this year I decided to head to a couple of the newer venues on the list.

The first port of call on Saturday evening was the recently opened Cycle Hub.

Formerly, the Ouseburn Regeneration Centre, the Cycle Hub is a great little place for pro and amateur cyclists alike to meet, have some work done to their bikes and stop for a coffee. Based along the Coastal cycle route, this is sure to draw in the cycling crowds. Myself and J are both very into our cycling (he’s much more of a pro than me) so this was a great way to start the night and see this great new hub for Newcastle based cyclists – it’s all about the bike.

Next we headed to the newly regenerated Toffee Factory, which I have been dying to visit ever since I heard it was going to be renovated and turned into creative offices. 

Formerly the Maynard’s Toffee Factory, on Saturday night they held a tea party (with damn good jam tarts, I might add) and music from the 1920s, along with tours of the building. We had quite a lot to cram into our night so unfortunately couldn’t tour the building.

Our final stop was Hoults Yard, which hosted a few brilliant shows. 

First, we headed to OneThirty3, where HUSH was hosting Amy Dover’s installation. I have admired Dover’s beautiful illustration work for a few years now and it was great to see an abundance of her work in one location. One of her prints is next on my hit list for the new flat. 

Next, we headed to see New A-Gender, an exhibition curated by one of my former Fashion Communication lecturers at Northumbria University, Chris Hodge. Chris has been researching the emergence of a new ‘genderless’ feeling within the fashion world over the past few years, and the different visual and aesthetic arenas for its presentation. New A-Gender aims to open new avenues of design debate: not only the contemporary semantics of clothing and what has traditionally been perceived to be menswear, but also new strategies for fashion design education.

There was such a varied use of media at the exhibition, from photography to film and garments on display. This brilliantly curated fashion exhibition made me even more excited to see Northumbria’s Fashion Show next week.

Finally, Unit 44. I can’t believe I’d never visited this gallery space, after hearing so much about it. 

We popped in for good look around – and by god, they have some brilliant prints. I spied a coloured version of Prefab 77’s Always in England print, which I’ve bought for our flat,and a whole host of brilliant screen prints. I can’t wait to get my galleried wall up in our new flat, then the search for some new prints can begin for the bedroom and study. 

Although we only managed to visit a handful of venues, it was the best Late Shows I’ve been to in the 6 years it’s been running. Looking forward to next year already!

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