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Weekly Blog 15: Artists and the Bluecoat Building

published by The Bluecoat

This week's blog will be the last in our series dedicated to My Bluecoat, as we look ahead to the ...


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Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust and Bluecoat

Bluecoat is delighted to be a partner in the Winter Garden & Common House Project - a new collaboration between the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust (CLT) and Turner Prize winning architects Assemble - which has been awarded an £249,619 Capital Grant by Arts Council England today. 

Sitting in the heart of the neighbourhood, the Winter Garden is a community-owned shared resource. Two derelict terraced properties will be transformed into an indoor garden, an artist residency-space and a shared community gathering place. The artists residency programme is being developed in partnership with Bluecoat and will feature a diversity of artists, from the local to the international, who aim to affect a space or place.

Marie-Anne McQuay, head of programme at Bluecoat says "The residency programme is intended to encourage visiting artists to truly put their feet down in a neighbourhood and to engage with people and place. The programme is also based about acknowledging the strength of creativity within Granby, giving local artists from the community the time and space they need to work as artists. Dialogue between everyone invited to contribute to the programme is crucial; we are all here to learn and to contribute together”. 

The CLT itself grew out of residents’ decades-long campaign to oppose demolition and re-build their community through creative community action, growing and collaboration. These grass roots campaigns started the area-wide redevelopment that now combines many solutions, and partners, in a community led regeneration that incorporates homes, shops, a street market, art works and street planting. In August 2016 Granby CLT housing officer Michael Simon discussed the long struggle to reclaim the streets as part of an event on social housing that took place at Bluecoat.

The Granby Winter Garden and Common House is a key part of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust’s long-term plan to preserve and re-vitalise their neighbourhood.  Their architects, the collective Assemble, are winners of the Turner Prize 2015 for their work over the past two years with Granby 4 Streets and the Granby Workshop, where local young artists design and make fixtures and fittings for homes. When asked if Assemble’s work, a collaboration with local residents and young artists, was really art, local resident Hazel Tilley replied “It’s recognising the politics in art, it’s recognising the humanity in art. It’s not this piece of work of art that goes into some rich person’s warehouse, this is something that you live with. And it’s art for the people. And if art isn’t about people and humanity, then what is it about?”

The Winter Garden and Common House will be a beautiful, useful and accessible space establishing a space and resource for socially engaged arts activities – continuing the history of creative action and engagement which has been a key driver for change in the area – ensuring the continuation of this DIY approach in which art and creativity are an everyday part of the process of rebuilding their neighbourhood. 


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Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

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