Museum of Croydon in bid to host Gillian Wearing

The Museum of Croydon is competing to host Turner Prize-winning artist and Goldsmiths alumna Gillian Wearing for this year’s Museums at Night Connect! event.

If it succeeds in garnering the most number of public votes of five competing museums, it plans to turn its gallery into a nightclub with karaoke, and have live bands.

Museums at Night is a nationwide festival that aims to encourage visitors to go to museums by keeping their doors open after dark. This year’s festival takes place in May and October, and Wearing’s event will be in October.

As many as 29 venues have pitched to host six artists, including Wearing, who will lead visitors on a participatory event. Voting opens this Friday at 11am and goes on until May 16 at

The Museum of Croydon’s idea for the evening draws on the contrasts frequently found in Wearing’s work. It is proposing to convert its Then & Now gallery into a nightclub with karaoke, split into two rooms themed as happiness and misery, with live bands and musicians providing music.

Gillian Wearing's A Real Birmingham Family. The sculpture stands in Centenary Square, outside the new Library of Birmingham.

Gillian Wearing’s A Real Birmingham Family. The sculpture stands in Centenary Square, outside the new Library of Birmingham. Pic: Birmingham Newsroom

The evening will also include opportunity for guests to participate by dressing up and being fitted in masks, as well as writing lyrics on acetate to be displayed.

The other museums and galleries competing with Croydon are Backlit, the Dylan Thomas Centre, Strange Cargo and Turner Contemporary.

A student at Goldsmiths’ College from 1987 to 1990, Wearing uses photographs and films to explore ideas surrounding the difference between private and public lives, and the way that people present themselves to the world.

One of her most acclaimed pieces of work, Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say, involved members of the public and provides an interesting insight into life in Britain in the early 1990s.

It inspired a scene in Richard Curtis’s 2003 film Love Actually, in which a character professes his love for a girl by holding up handwritten signs.

Wearing has toured her artwork internationally and received the Turner Prize in 1997.

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