Our History


Liverpool Arab Arts Festival was founded in 1998 by Liverpool Arabic Centre and Bluecoat to provide Arab arts and culture in Liverpool. Over the years this partnership has grown to include most of the major arts institutions in the city including the Unity Theatre, Bluecoat, FACT, Picturehouse at FACT, National Museums Liverpool and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, as well as artists and community organisations. The first festival took place in 2002 and it has run annually since that date as a celebratory event raising awareness and promoting an understanding and appreciation of Arabic culture for both Arab and non-Arab audiences in Liverpool and beyond.

The festival has grown rapidly over the years in size, confidence, expectation and ambition and remains the only annual festival of its kind in the UK. Key funding for the festival has been secured from Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England.

Having been shortlisted in 2009, in 2010 LAAF was awarded the Arab British Centre’s Culture & Society Award 2010 for an outstanding contribution to the British public’s knowledge and understanding of the life, society and culture of the Arab people.

Banner image: This photograph is of Moroccan Digital and Roots music band Momo, who performed late into the night in the Bluecoat garden for LAAF 2004. The garden has been used for music and other live events and festivals for many years. Courtesy of My Bluecoat.