The Government will contribute £5m towards the exhibition itself and a further £15m into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

Newcastle-Gateshead came out on top of other bidding towns and cities, including the three other shortlisted bidders: Blackpool, Bradford and Sheffield.

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We are delighted to have secured the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018; it’s a fantastic achievement and a testament to the creative and innovative bid we developed with the support of many venues, organisations, partners and stakeholders here in the North East

Carol Bell, NewcastleGateshead Initiative

The Tyneside bid was declared the winner on the recommendation of the Great Exhibition Board chaired by Sir Gary Verity.

The Great Exhibition of the North will take place in mummer 2018 and will celebrate the creativity of Northern England, help boost investment and tourism in the region and leave a lasting cultural legacy.

“The Great Exhibition of the North is fantastic news for Newcastle-Gateshead. It will showcase the dynamic arts, cultural and design scenes in the city and across the whole of the North,” said Culture Secretary Karen Bradley. “It’s so important that, regardless of where you’re from in the country, everyone is able to enjoy and access great culture. This cultural investment will bring enormous benefits to the region, including regeneration, increased tourism and cultural engagement.”

Plans for the event include three walking circuits around Tyneside focusing on arts, design and innovation; a major exhibition hub at Great North Museum: Hancock; an innovative programme of new artistic and creative commissions; an entertaining and informative summer camp at Exhibition Park for families and an extensive learning programme.

“Newcastle-Gateshead put forward an exciting and innovative bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North,” said Sir Gary Verity. “Their ambitious plans will showcase fantastic venues across the city and highlight their unique heritage, culture and design. People from across the country can expect an amazing show in summer 2018.”

The Newcastle-Gateshead bid was supported by many venues, organisations, partners and stakeholders in the North East including Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, BALTIC, Sage Gateshead and the North East Culture Partnership.

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Newcastle-Gateshead highlights

  • An opening ceremony on June 21, 2018 will take place on the Quayside, featuring a bridge of illuminated drones over the River Tyne.
  • During the event, three themed walking routes will guide visitors to venues and attractions. The Arts Circuit, Design Circuit and Innovation Circuit will start at an exhibition about northern pioneers and trailblazers at the Great North Museum: Hancock.
  • Visitors will then traverse Newcastle before crossing the River Tyne and converging on the Baltic art gallery, which will invite five northern and five international artists to create work on the exhibition’s themes.
  • Fifty writers will be tasked with “rewriting the narratives of the north”, while the organisers promise to “connect artists with scientists and inventors to work closely”.
  • Organisers hope to bring Robert Stephenson’s early steam locomotive The Rocket from the Science Museum in London to Newcastle, where it was built.
  • There will be a summer camp for families and a closing ceremony will take place just before the Great North Run.