2024 at Somerset House

Somerset House Programme

  • CUTE (25 January – 14 April) - The first major exhibition to explore the extraordinary and complex power of cuteness in contemporary culture, featuring works by over 50 artists and contributors, alongside culturally significant objects
  • Zheng Bo: Bamboo as Method (22 February – 28 April) - A large-scale new commission from Hong-Kong based artist Zheng Bo, transforming Somerset House’s courtyard into a bamboo garden
  • Now Play This (6 – 14 April) - The leading festival of experimental games returns for its tenth anniversary with eight days of engaging interaction and play exploring the theme, Liminal: Playing between worlds 
  • The Lore of LOVERBOY (8 June – 1 September) - Somerset House presents the first exhibition on international fashion powerhouse Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, celebrating 10 years of club to catwalk 
  • Somerset House Summer Series with American Express (11 – 21 July) - Somerset House Summer Series returns with eleven nights of unmissable gigs in Somerset House’s spectacular courtyard
  • rukus! Black Queer Legacies (10 October – 19 January 2025) - An exhibition exploring the largest archive collection relating to the culture and histories of Black LGBTQ+ people in Britain  
  • Skate at Somerset House (13 November – 12 January 2025) - Skate returns to Somerset House this winter, welcoming visitors for an unparalleled skating experience in the heart of the capital

Somerset House Studios

  • Heartbreak and Magic by Libby Heaney (9 – 18 February) - Award-winning Somerset House Studios artist and quantum physicist Dr. Libby Heaney brings a new virtual reality artwork and physical installation to Somerset House Studios’ project space G31
  • Assembly (20 – 23 March) - Somerset House Studios’ experimental sound, music and performance series returns with a series of brand-new commissions, putting sound and music in dialogue with other disciplines
  • AGM (11 October) - Somerset House Studios celebrates its resident artist community with the 8th annual AGM, an unmissable night of collaboration, installation and performance

Inclusive Talent Engagement

  • Upgrade Yourself Festival (7 – 8 June and 22 – 23 November) - Across 2 days, the festival will connect 16–30-year-olds aspiring to break into creative sectors with trailblazing creatives industry experts via talks, workshops, and bespoke mentoring sessions
  • Black Business Residency – The fifth cohort arrive in January to Somerset House’s free programme that mentors Black-led creative businesses, developed in partnership with DOES and sponsored by Morgan Stanley. The fourth cohort will be celebrated in June 2024 with a special evening showcase 

Somerset House Programme

25 January – 14 April 2024
Embankment Galleries, £18.50 (concessions, child and family tickets also available), half-price tickets for 25s and under on select Tuesdays

Somerset House’s 2024 programme opens with CUTE, a landmark exhibition exploring the irresistible force of cuteness in contemporary culture. From emojis to internet memes, video games to plushie toys, food to loveable robotic design, cuteness has taken over our world. 

CUTE brings together contemporary works from over 50 artists and contributors, including new artist commissions, presented alongside cultural phenomena from music, fashion and toys, to video games and social media.  The exhibition examines the world’s embrace of cute culture and how it has become such an influential measure of our times. 

Presented in partnership with Sanrio, the exhibition will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s most iconic and ubiquitous figures, Hello Kitty, featuring a dedicated plushie space, immersive disco and display of Hello Kitty products throughout the decades, including rare and unique items from private collectors and the official Sanrio archives.   

Contributing artists include Mark Leckey, Sean-Kierre Lyons,  AYA TAKANO, Mike Kelley, Karen Kilimnik, Nayland Blake, Cosima von Bonin, Hannah Diamond, Ed Fornieles, Juliana Huxtable, Rachel Maclean, Julien Ceccaldi, Paige K. B., Isaac Lythgoe, Alake Shilling, Wong Ping, Liv Preston, Ram Han, Maggie Lee, Bunny Rogers, Flannery Silva, CFGNY, Andy Holden, plus Somerset House Studios artists Chris Zhongtian Yuan, Sin Wai Kin and Sian Fan

CUTE is curated by Claire Catterall, Senior Curator at Somerset House.

Zheng Bo: Bamboo as Method
22 February – 28 April 2024 
Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Free

This spring, Somerset House’s spectacular courtyard will be transformed into a bamboo grove by Hong Kong-based eco-queer artist Zheng Bo. Using over 300 locally sourced bamboos, the garden creates a place for contemplation and serves as a reminder of the restorative qualities of nature within the urban landscape of Somerset House and central London.  Zheng’s large-scale, participatory installation will be the newest addition to the annual Somerset House courtyard commission series which features international, contemporary artists who exemplify innovative thinking across sustainability and ecology.  

In harmony with the neo-classical architecture surrounding the courtyard, Zheng Bo invites visitors to temporarily disconnect from their fast-paced, hyper-connected culture by immersing themselves in the biosphere that surrounds them and by taking up the activity of drawing, proven to promote mindfulness. Participants are encouraged to select bamboo leaves from a variety of species and to spend time sketching the unique characteristics of each shoot. When completed, participants’ drawings are composted into the soil to fertilise the garden – completing a cycle of creativity and ecology. Zheng Bo’s commission, as with their overall practice, is aimed at breaking down the boundaries between culture and nature, asking what we can learn from plants when we slow down and take the time to listen.   
Alongside the installation, Somerset House will present a public event around Earth Day in April. 

Now Play This
6 – 14 April 2024  
New Wing, Tickets on sale in February

Now Play This, the UK’s leading experimental games festival, returns to Somerset House this spring showcasing the very latest in independent and innovative game design from across the globe. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the festival offers engaging interaction and play for all ages to enjoy, fusing art and games under a new themed edition, Liminal: Playing between worlds. Contributors include Today I Die by Daniel Benmergui, where players pull apart and reconstruct a poem changing its narrative meaning piece by piece; Orchids to Dusk by Pol Clarissou, a game where the player is an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes left to live, and Oneroom-Babel by Sanghee Lee, a dreamlike experimental VR experience in which users explore studio apartments located in the deep-sea filled with sentences written by the artist and extracted from interviews with young people who live in a ‘Oneroom’.

As part of the city-wide London Games Festival, this year’s Now Play This features games that get players to think of the way they perceive the spaces around them, and about the way people relate to one another. Encouraging self-reflection, the interactive festival explores the transitory, borderless spaces between artist’s imaginations and audiences' inner worlds.

Alongside games, installations, activities and workshops, there is an accompanying programme of live events.

Now Play This is supported by the London Games Festival, Arts Council England and Goethe-Institut.

The Lore of LOVERBOY
8 June – 1 September 2024 
Terrace Rooms, Pay What You Can

Somerset House presents the first exhibition on international fashion powerhouse Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, which celebrates 10 years of club to catwalk in 2024.  One of Somerset House Studios’ original residents - whose studio is still based within Somerset House’s community of artists, makers and thinkers - LOVERBOY has been lauded for radically ripping up the fashion rulebook, loved by the likes of Harry Styles and Tilda Swinton, and for transcending disciplinary boundaries across art, design and music.  

From the first rush of inspiration to the skill and craftmanship of the atelier, culminating with the spectacle of a fashion show, the exhibition will offer a behind-the-scenes look into building a fashion business from scratch, focusing on the artistry that lies behind every process. Through a series of sensorially-led spaces rendered in LOVERBOY’s signature ludic style, archival artefacts and newly commissioned works will be brought together in a maximalist, immersive show to provide an accessible and engaging insight into creative production and industry.  

Black Queer Legacies

10 October 2024 – 19 January 2025
Terrace Rooms and Courtyard Rooms, Pay What You Can

This autumn, Somerset House presents a rare chance to dive deep into the largest cultural and historical archive of Black LGBTQ+ people in Britain in brand new exhibition rukus! Black Queer Legacies. The exhibition presents items from the award-winning rukus! archive, which relates to Black LGBTQ+ cultural and political history, as well as works and commissions from contemporary Black LGBTQ+ artists.

Curated by artist and filmmaker Topher Campbell, the exhibition explores Black Queer creativity, activism and community, spotlighting the work of UK Black Queer pioneers from the 1970’s until the present day.

As well as showcasing public and intimate materials from the historical activism, artistic events and private lives of the Black British LGBTQ+ Diaspora, the exhibition will highlight contemporary artistic responses to the archival material, celebrating the work that created greater visibility for Black LGBTQ+  in a hostile environment and spotlighting Black LGBTQ+ culture today.

Topher Campbell and photographer Ajamu X founded the archive in 2005, borne out of a passion to tell the story of Black Queer creativity, activism, and community. The exhibition opening coincides with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. 

Somerset House Summer Series with American Express
11 – 21 July 2024
Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Line-up announcement and tickets on sale in March

Somerset House Summer Series with American Express returns in July 2024 with eleven nights of unmissable gigs in the intimate and immersive setting of Somerset House’s spectacular courtyard. A staple summer experience, the series presents a trailblazing line-up of breakthrough music artists and established acts from across the globe.

Skate at Somerset House 
13 November 2024 – 12 January 2025
Edmond J. Safra Court, Special events announcement and tickets on sale in September

A beloved staple of London’s winter season, Somerset House’s spectacular courtyard will be transformed into a glorious festive destination once again in November 2024, welcoming visitors for an unparalleled skating experience in the heart of the capital. 

A host of experiences for all ages will be available to enjoy on and off the ice including the ever-popular daytime skating lessons with Skate School. All sessions on the ice are wheelchair accessible, with exclusive wheelchair sessions and chilled out sessions for those who need them available throughout the season.

Morgan Stanley Lates at Somerset House with The Courtauld
Site-wide, Dates to be announced

Morgan Stanley Lates return in 2024 with a new series of evening events celebrating the best of Somerset House’s cultural programme. Working collaboratively with The Courtauld and taking place in spring, summer and autumn, the events will be themed around the current season’s exhibitions and installations. 

Doors around the spectacular courtyard will be thrown open for after-hours access, exclusive experiences and activities hosted by artists and curators, as well as drinks, food and music. 

Many activities will be free of charge to everyone, and those aged 25 and under will also receive free entry to some Somerset House and The Courtauld exhibitions.

Somerset House Studios Programme

Heartbreak and Magic by Libby Heaney
9 – 18 February 2024
G31, £6

Heartbreak and Magic is a new virtual reality artwork and physical installation by the award-winning Somerset House Studios artist and quantum physicist Dr. Libby Heaney. Drawing on the artist's own experience with personal grief and sudden loss, the artwork explores the non-binary and non-local qualities of quantum physics to offer alternative perspectives on how we think and feel about the self and existence. 

Heartbreak and Magic is commissioned by VIVE Arts and presented in partnership with Somerset House. 

Studio 01: enorê, Leila Dear, Ufuoma Essi  
8 March – 7 July 2024
G31, Free

Studio 01 is a new Somerset House Studios exhibition series presenting the work of three early career visual artists who have completed an 18-month residency in the Studios supported by Jerwood Arts. The exhibition features the artists' specific thematic approaches, part research and part inquiry, from sculpture to moving image to paintings and drawings. Contributing artists for the first iteration of Studio 01 are enorê, Leila Dear and Ufuoma Essi

20 – 23 March 2024

Lancaster Rooms and River Rooms, Tickets on sale in January

Assembly - Somerset House Studios’ experimental sound, music and performance series - returns for its fourth edition. Continuing focus on producing new live works developed in residence, the multi-day programme will feature a series of brand-new commissions, putting sound and music in dialogue with other disciplines, alongside new partnerships with the Roberts Institute of Art, CTM Festival for Adventurous Music and Art, Berlin and the Goethe Institute London.

Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom and Harun Morrison, curated by Jareh Das 
19 July – 20 Oct 2024
G31, Free

Somerset House Studios has invited curator and writer Dr Jareh Das to collaborate with artists from the Studios community on a new work to be presented in Somerset House Studios’ project space G31 in the summer. 

Further details to follow in spring.

11 October 2024
New Wing, Tickets on sale in July

Somerset House Studios celebrates its exceptional resident artist community with the 8th annual AGM, an unmissable late-night party taking over the Studios’ ground floor. This year’s edition of AGM will be a night of collaborative energy, art installations, and captivating live performances.

Full programme to be announced. This is an 18+ event 

Louis Morlæ
November 2024
G31, Free 

Louis Morlæ, recipient of the inaugural 12-month Creative Technologies Fellowship 2023/24, in partnership with UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI), presents a new solo show. His sculptures reference domestic and industrial design language, through which he proposes an act of 're-worlding' - creating objects that question technological constructs and explore our potential to dream of new worlds.

Somerset House Digital Programme

Somerset House’s online curated space for art, ideas and the artistic process


Powered by Somerset House Studios, Channel draws on Somerset House’s unique community to drive a distinctive and evolving programme of new commissions, original films, talks, podcasts and curated content.

Somerset House Podcast 
Subscribe via Apple / Spotify

The Somerset House Podcast, shaped and sculpted by artists, explores original cultural ideas which connect listeners to the creative process. Each series goes behind the scenes at Somerset House to uncover the stories explored through our programme and creative community.

Black Business Residency

Black Business Residency 
Sponsored by Morgan Stanley 
Graduation Showcase: 4 June, Free

Developed in partnership with DOES and sponsored by Morgan Stanley, the Black Business Residency (formerly known as the Black Business Incubator) at Somerset House aims to help early-stage Black entrepreneurs unlock their full potential and allow their creative enterprises to thrive.

In June 2024, the fourth cohort of Black Business Residency entrepreneurs will come together for a special evening of networking and presentations, sharing insights on the journey of a start-up business and celebrating their tremendous accomplishments.

Current and previous alumni of the Black Business Residency include entrepreneurs pursuing innovation and pushing boundaries in industries across the creative sector, from performing arts, fashion and food to publishing, technology and social media.  

Somerset House and DOES bring together their different skills and networks to provide participants with a series of expert-led workshops and mentoring from industry specialists across the 12-month programme. Members are given free access to Somerset House’s shared workspace The Exchange and are integrated into Somerset House’s vibrant resident community programme.  The fifth cohort, consisting of 25 start-up businesses, arrive in January 2024.

Upgrade Yourself 

Upgrade Yourself Takeovers

CUTE - Thursday 22 February 2024/ The Lore of LOVERBOY – July 2024 / rukus! Black Queer Legacies – October 2024
Free, sign up to the Upgrade Yourself Newsletter for ticketing information

Upgrade Yourself, Somerset House’s creative skills programme, takes over three exhibitions in 2024, CUTE, The Lore of LOVERBOY and rukus! Black Queer Legacies for one night only, providing emerging creatives aged 18-30 the chance to connect with likeminded individuals. The free events include development workshops, talks and networking opportunities with industry professionals, as well as free entry to the exhibition. The CUTE takeover kicks off the series in February.

Upgrade Yourself Festival 
7– 8 June and 22 – 23 November 2024
River Rooms and Lancaster Rooms 
Free, sign up to the Upgrade Yourself Newsletter for ticketing information

Spanning across two days, the biannual festival returns in June and November to empower young people to pursue creative careers on their own terms. Connecting 16-30-year-olds aspiring to break into the creative industry with trailblazing industry experts, the festival will equip emerging creatives with the tools to help navigate the sector with confidence. Upgrade Yourself Festival features guest speakers, workshops and bespoke mentoring sessions.

Makerversity & Upgrade Yourself Residencies 
Animation 22 – 26 January / Fashion 12 – 16 February 2024
Head to the Somerset House website for more information 

For the first time, Makerversity, the pioneering community of maker businesses based at Somerset House and Upgrade Yourself are partnering to offer two free one-week creative residencies for young people aged 18-30 in animation and fashion. During the animation residency, Makerversity residents Drew Richards, Mica Warren, Tareq Al-Zamel and David Reason provide hands-on practical sessions exploring character building, start to end stop motion animation process and virtual world building. Meanwhile during the fashion residency, CQ Studio, Anthony Princi, Nimesh Gadhia and Shanti Bell deep dive into industry materials and manufacturing, pattern cutting, the importance of sustainability for future facing brands and portfolio building. 

Supported by Kusuma Trust. 

Upgrade Yourself Creative Industry Placements
Head to the Somerset House website for more information 

The start of the year sees the end of the 2023 Upgrade Yourself: Creative Industry Placements cohort, with the next iteration of the 12-month programme starting in May 2024. 

Designed in response to current challenges faced by underrepresented young people when entering creative industries, the Upgrade Yourself: Creative Industry Placements Programme 2024 will nurture and grow emerging talent whilst developing confidence in the workplace and giving insight into how a creative business is run, from day-to-day management through to programming and operations.  

Participants will have hands-on experience of working within diverse arts organisations and have opportunities to connect with trailblazing creatives within Somerset House and our resident community. 
In addition to being an employee within a creative department, around 10% of time on the programme will be dedicated to in-depth wraparound training, networking events, off-site visits, workshops and mentoring to support personal and professional development.

Supported by John Lyon's Charity

Partner Projects

1 – 3 March 2024 (previews 28 – 29 February)
Tickets on sale 15 January 


Collect, the leading authority on collectable contemporary craft and design, presented by the UK’s Crafts Council, returns to Somerset House in March. Launched in 2004 as the first international fair dedicated to contemporary craft and design, the 20th edition will host 40 specialist galleries from across the globe, representing over 400 artist makers. Alongside the international galleries, Collect Open, the fair’s platform for experimental proposals and installations by individual artists and collectives, will present 14 exciting new projects by artists hailing from Canada, Portugal, and from all over the UK including Northern Ireland. 
Disciplines and materials on display include ceramics, glass, lacquer, furniture, art jewellery, metalwork, textile and fibre, wood and paper, and pieces embracing more unusual materials such as resin, mica, corn-starch and plastics, as well as reused, repurposed, and recycled materials. 
At a time when contemporary craft has never been more sought-after with an active buying market, Collect continues to offer an unparalleled opportunity to acquire new, museum-quality work from living artists internationally – all made within the last five years, and many commissioned especially for the fair.   

London Original Print Fair
21 – 24 March 2024
Tickets on sale 22 January

London Original Print Fair will return to Somerset House for its highly anticipated 39th edition. Founded in 1985, London Original Print Fair is London's longest running art fair. Celebrating original printmaking in all of its forms, this year's edition brings together around forty exhibitors, including top international dealers, publishers and print studios. The fair will feature works by world-renowned artists such as Hockney, Auerbach, Rego, Beatriz Milhazes, and modernist masters like Picasso and Matisse.

Visitors will have an unparalleled opportunity to explore, learn about and collect original prints, with five centuries of printmaking on display, from renowned old and modern masters, to beloved contemporary artists, to the latest work by a new generation, hot off the press. Whether you are looking for affordable artworks, a special piece for your home or to build your collection, with significant works by leading artists, London Original Print Fair has something for everyone. Highlights will include access to artists at the fair, exclusive editions and new launches, as well as inspirational talks and creative activities, such as live printmaking demonstrations.

Sony World Photography Awards 2024
19 April – 6 May 2024
Tickets available in 2024

The internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards return to Somerset House this April, showcasing some of the world’s best photography from the past year. Marking its 17th edition, this major exhibition reveals the diverse landscape of photography today: from poignant portraits, to close encounters with wildlife, to fine art by leading talents from around the globe. For the first time this year, the exhibition is overseen by esteemed curator Monica Allende, with works selected from the winning and shortlisted entries to the Sony World Photography Awards 2024. Also on display is a special showcase by Edgar Martins, winner of the Photographer of the Year 2023. A highlight of the exhibition is a presentation by the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography 2024, celebrated photographer Sebastião Salgado, featuring seminal works from the last five decades of a remarkable career, including images from the series Gold (1986), Workers (1993), Exodus (2000), Genesis (2011) and Amazônia (2019)

Photo London 
16 – 19 May 2024 (invite only Preview Day 15 May 2024)
Tickets on sale in February 

Photo London, the leading art fair for celebrating the past, present, and future of photography will return to Somerset House for its ninth edition in May. The 2024 edition will celebrate the rich traditions of photography and explore the medium’s future possibilities as it crosses the boundaries between photography and other art forms, showcasing everything from thought-provoking historical and rare vintage prints to boundary-pushing contemporary works. 
Alongside the international exhibitors at the Fair, Photo London’s acclaimed Public Programme presents significant exhibitions, including a solo show by the 2024 Master of Photography, and an exciting Talks programme, this year curated by Thames & Hudson. A catalyst for London’s dynamic photography community, the Fair also celebrates and supports fresh talent through the dedicated 'Discovery’ section' for rising photographers and galleries, curated by Charlotte Jansen; the Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer Award; and the Photo London x Hahnemühle Student Award which returns for its second year. 

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair
10 – 13 October 2024

The leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, will return to Somerset House for the 12th consecutive year over four days in October. More details to follow.

National Saturday Club Summer Show
16 July 2024
Embankment Galleries, Free

The National Saturday Club’s annual summer show returns to Somerset House in July. The exhibition presents the work of more than 2,000 13–16-year-olds who have been attending free, weekly Saturday Clubs at universities, colleges and museums across the country. An inspirational showcase of the creativity and innovation of the nation’s next generation.

More from Somerset House

Historical Highlights Tours 
Tuesdays & Saturdays 
12.00, 14.00 and 15.30 (times may vary) 
One-hour tour tickets £8 available to book via somersethouse.org.uk

Historical Highlights Tours invite visitors to discover Somerset House’s varied and surprising history. In a one-hour experience, knowledgeable guides will take visitors on a walk-through tour revealing the story of Somerset House over the centuries, from a royal palace, its key location on the Thames and role in the naval history of Britain, to its position as a home of cultural innovators today. Explore an unrivalled architectural gem, get exclusive access to areas hidden away from public view, and learn more about the fascinating individuals who have lived and worked behind Somerset House’s doors throughout hundreds of years.


Press enquiries, please contact: press@somersethouse.org.uk, (+44) (0)2078454624 

Address: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA  
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Step Inside, Think Outside  
As the home of cultural innovators, Somerset House is a site of origination, with a cultural programme offering alternative perspectives on the biggest issues of our time. We are a place of joy and discovery, where everyone is invited to Step Inside and Think Outside. 

From our historic site in the heart of London, we work globally across art, creativity, business, and non-profit, nurturing new talent, methods and technologies. Our resident community of creative enterprises, arts organisations, artists and makers, makes us a centre of ideas, with most of our programme home-grown.  

We sit at the meeting point of artistic and social innovation, bringing worlds and minds together to create surprising and often magical results. Our spirit of constant curiosity and counter perspective is integral to our history and key to our future.