Artists including Tomo respond to 'public health emergency'

Artists including Tomo respond to 'public health emergency'

Five Liverpool-based artists - Julieann O’Malley, Tristan Brady-Jacobs, Pamela Sullivan, Tomo and Charlotte Weatherstone (pictured) have been commissioned to deliver new cultural products or public art works engaging with the public about air quality.

VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival launches on Saturday 20 February at Bluecoat, with a fortnight programme of free artistic interventions and public forums to raise awareness of Liverpool’s air quality, which organisers describe as ‘an invisible public health emergency’. 

Each new work responds to the issue, its causes, the impact of long-term exposure to microscopic man-made pollution and the solutions that are in our hands. The artists were each paired with one of a core team of scientists to develop their new art work, including Andy Morse, Professor of Climate Impacts at the University of Liverpool. 

Andy said ‘Liverpool is not as polluted as either London or Paris, but it remains one of the poorest cities in Europe, and deprivation brings with it a number of health challenges. Liverpool has very high rates of lung cancer and coronary heart disease, and air pollution is a known risk factor in both of these illnesses. 

Government research showed that in 2010 some 239 deaths in Liverpool were attributable to air pollution and 2440 life years lost. That equates to nearly 35 lives of 70 years that is more than half a double decker bus.” The festival is the culmination of the Liverpool Air Project, which has been initiated and managed by Engage Liverpool CIC, a social enterprise that runs projects that make a positive contribution to the liveability of the City Centre and Waterfront. 

Gerry Proctor of Engage Liverpool said ‘Poor air quality in Liverpool is not receiving the profile it deserves as it is a serious public health issue that other cities are facing up to. We want to reach as many people as possible so that we all achieve a level of awareness that leads to positive change in how we live and also how we organise our city. It is wonderful that artists and scientists have worked together to bring the VENT! Arts Festival to the city’. 

To find out more visit – www.engageliverpool.com/projects/VENT

Image - Charlotte Weatherstone

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