Whitstable Biennale brings people together to experience some of the most exciting new visual art being made in the UK today in film, performance and sound.
We work closely with artists early in their career to create new and experimental work, providing crucial time, space and support so they can take risks with their artistic practice. This enables artists to develop new ideas and artworks that they tell us are important moments in establishing their careers.
Whitstable is a small fishing town on the Kent coast, with no bigger city infrastructure of cinemas, large gallery spaces and empty buildings. We work with our artists to find ways to weave their artworks into the fabric of the town, the idiosyncratic halls and huts, the alleyways and oyster beds, pubs, newsagents, beach huts, and bingo clubs, the working harbour and the steep shingle shoreline, and to work closely with the people who live and work there.
Some of the artists featured in our festivals live and work in Whitstable, some in the wider Thames Estuary region, and others are from across the UK.
Whitstable Biennale was founded in 2002, and our next edition will be our tenth.
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Whitstable Biennale is part of Cement Fields, our new umbrella organisation founded in 2019, and working along the Thames Estuary in North Kent from Dartford to Whitstable. To find out more about Cement Fields, and our wider programme, please visit cementfields.org.
Cement Fields is proud to be a National Portfolio Organisation, supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and the University of Kent.
As a visitor or participant at our festival, you might:
- Hear a new sound work ringing out from the bell tower of the church on the High Street – Sophie Lee, amore tremor, 2018
- Watch a music video in the youth centre, lyrics written and performed by teenage boys from the Isle of Grain, collaborating with the artist – Mikhail Karikis, Ain’t Got No Fear, 2016
- Visit a beach hut to enjoy a gin and tonic and a gypsy tart, and engage in verbal and visual games about slang with the artist – John Walter, Turn My Oyster Up, 2014
- Take part in a litter-picking event on the beach that’s also a performance, with the Whitstable Marine Environmental Group – Georgia Gendall, also, also, also, 2018
- Look up as your train travels slowly through Seasalter Marshes, to see the film of a burning shack projected against the dusk sky, and find a small artists’ book on your seat about the plotlanders living there – Clio Barnard, Plotlands, 2008
- Watch a new film in the local museum, produced following research into the neuroscience of embodiment and autism – Louisa Martin, Lossy Ecology, 2016
- Come across a pamphlet in the Harbour’s fish market in amongst the seafood condiments, featuring a text about marshes and oil and fog and worms – Libita Clayton, sand-worm, 2018
- Eat from a vivid and inventive plant-based ‘root to fruit’ menu in a special cafe-as-art – Hannah Lees, The Trees That Yield, 2018