About

Whitstable Biennale is a festival of performance, film and sound, taking place every two years on the Kent coast. The event has grown out of Whitstable’s extensive artistic community, and has developed an international reputation for showcasing the most exciting up-and-coming artists and filmmakers, and engaging audiences in a rich programme.

“A new pearl among the art-world oysters” The Guardian

We commission artists to create ambitious and experimental new works, and stage live performances, film screenings, talks, digital works, events and workshops, engaging audiences with the most compelling new work from across the UK and beyond.

“Radical live and moving artworks in the most unexpected of places” The Telegraph

The festival re-imagines Whitstable, with multi-disciplinary performances and events woven into the town – into the idiosyncratic halls and huts, the galleries and bars, the alleyways and oyster beds, the working harbour and the steep shingle shoreline.

“Rare and valuable direct access to artists and performers” Frieze

Whitstable Biennale is critically acclaimed, attracting a broad range of features and reviews in the national and international press including The Guardian, The Telegraph, Frieze, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Wire, The Art Newspaper and Art Monthly. An extended feature on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review with Tom Sutcliffe was broadcast on the opening evening of our most recent festival in June 2014.

 “It is coherent in a really interesting way. They are very imaginative about the way they’re thinking about indoor and outdoor spaces.” BBC Radio 4

There is a long-standing artistic community in Whitstable, and the festival has grown out of grassroots activity in the town. The first Whitstable Biennale was in 2002, and our most recent festival in June 2014 attracted almost 50,000 visits to the main programme and an estimated 20,000 additional visits to the popular festival fringe.

“Highly unusual experiences. Utterly memorable.” a-n

New works commissioned by Whitstable Biennale often go on to tour after the festival, in the UK and internationally. Recent venues include Whitechapel Gallery, London; Serpentine Cinema, London; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; Imperial War Museum North; PKM and Artsonje Centre, in Seoul, South Korea; Manifesta 9, Genk, Belgium; Modern Art Oxford; South London Gallery; British Film Institute, London; Bucharest Biennial, Romania; Art Unlimited, Basel; New Art Gallery, Walsall; Heidelberg Kunstverein, Germany; BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna, Austria; CCA Derry.

“Unexpected expansive conversation” Time Out

 Artists, filmmakers, performers, musicians and writers Whitstable Biennale has commissioned and worked with include:

Faisal Abdu’Allah • Mark Aerial Waller • Vito Acconci • Jo Addison • Rosa Ainley • The ARKA Group • Jananne Al-Ani • Oreet Ashery • Edwina Ashton • Tanya Axford • Clio Barnard • Ruth Beale & Karen Mirza • Oliver Beer • Bernd Behr • Anat Ben-David • Emma Bennett • Anna Best • Rebecca Bligh • Angus H Braithwaite • Mel Brimfield • Tim Bromage • Neil Bromwich & Zoë Walker • Mark Butcher • Bronwen Buckeridge • Gerard Byrne • Martin John Callanan • Daren Callow • Lee Campbell • Mircea Cantor • Mike Chavez-Dawson • Lottie Child • Adam Chodzko • Paul Clark • Declan Clarke • Leigh Clarke • Lucienne Cole • Collaborative Research Group • Ali Cook • Chloe Cooper • Augusto Corrieri • Phil Coy • Nick Crowe • Cullinan & Richards • Tom Dale • Shezad Dawood • Robin Deacon • Judith Dean • Maya Deren • Benedict Drew • Uddin & Elsey • Louisa Fairclough • Simon Faithfull • Harun Farocki • Peter Fillingham • Force Majeur • Luke Fowler • Helen Frik • Ryan Gander • Tom Gidley • Ian Giles • S Mark Gubb • Lucy Gunning • Beatty Hallas • Emma Hart • Sam Hasler • John Hegley • Neil Henderson • Roz Hilton • Peter Hofer • Abigail Hunt • William Hunt • Internet (Siân Robinson Davies & Diego Chamy) • Fiona James • Derek Jarman • Jesse Jones • Estelle Jourd • Ben Judd • Mikhail Karikis • Nina Katchadourian • Simon Kennedy • Una Knox • Joachim Koester • Serena Korda • Richard Layzell • Hannah Lees • Samuel Levack & Jennifer Lewandowski • Mark Lewis • Rachel Lichtenstein • Anna Lucas • Tessa Lynch • Stacy Makishi • Andy Malone • Louisa Martin • Gordon Matta-Clark • Jeremy Millar • Gareth Moore • Jenny Moore • Frog Morris • Charlotte Moth • Victor Mount • Simon Munnery • Rosalind Nashashibi • Bruce Nauman • Grace Ndiritu • Kim Noble • Sally O’Reilly • Harold Offeh • Mie Olise • Daniel Oliver • Katrina Palmer • Katie Paterson • Oliver Payne • Alex Pearl • Nathan Penlington • Falke Pisano • Olivia Plender & Unnar Örn • Possibility Archive • Colin Priest • Mark Quinn • Kieren Reed • Nick Relph • Siân Robinson Davies • Matt Rudkin • Anri Sala • Margaret Salmon • Ian Saville • Alex Schady • Zineb Sedira • Roman Signer • Harminder Singh Judge • Bob & Roberta Smith • John Smith • Raine Smith • Tim Spooner • Patrick Staff • Gary Stevens • Annika Ström • Cara Tolmie • Touch • Sarah Turner • Charlie Tweed • Natasha Vicars • Roy Villevoye • John Walter • Tim Wells • Aaron Williamson • Laura Wilson • Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatorski • Erwin Wurm • Chris Yates & Kelvin Pawsey • Charlotte Young

 “Clever, edgy, funny” New Statesman

 Whitstable Biennale is an independent charity, and our main stakeholders are Arts Council England, Canterbury City Council, Kent County Council, and the University of Kent. We also work with a wide range of partners, co-commissioners and collaborators on each festival.

“Truly wonderful” Whitstable Gazette

The next Whitstable Biennale will be held in summer 2018. Please contact us at info@whitstablebiennale or phone us on +44 (0) 1843 596 194 if you’d like to get involved.