Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts

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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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Spring at Bluecoat

Spring is a time for sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. At Bluecoat we are blowing the dust off the conventional ways we use to describe the arts by taking a fresh look at various genres such as comedy, crime, science fiction and the supernatural. 

A central part of Bluecoat’s purpose is to highlight the dynamic connections between art and the everyday cultures around us. Our focus on genre enables us to do this by looking at trends within popular culture, to see how these emerge, and then change over time.

We start with one of the most enduring forms with our exhibition, Double Act: Art and Comedy, which brings together artists who use humour in their work. The exhibition explores how comedy goes far beyond the business of making us laugh: it has long been a powerful tool for social change and a means of undermining authority. Accompanying events include unexpected combinations of disciplines, even mixing visual art with karaoke.

Collaborating with festivals is central to our work here, and so our spring programme has contributions from Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and Physical Fest. Both Arabs Are Not Funny and What’s There to Laugh About? respond to themes in Double Act by challenging our preconceptions about humour.

After comedy, we turn to crime and the supernatural.  Our crime fiction forum brings together crime writers to interrogate the genre’s enduring appeal. Much as Double Act highlights the multi-faceted nature of comedy, so this event explores the lasting popularity of crime fiction and the contemporary issues it provokes.

In Hauntings, a performance event inspired by the literature of Vernon Lee, we continue our commitment to celebrating lesser-known literary figures. Lee moved between the realms of supernatural fiction and travel writing, combining these genres by capturing the psychological effect of a place. A contemporary of Oscar Wilde, Lee also wrote about the relationship between writers and their audience, pioneering the idea of critical assessment across the arts.

There’s so much else to genre as our programme shows: science fiction, underground dance, the graphic novel, post-punk video. We hope there is something to entice you to visit.  

And if you do, we hope you will find the experience memorable because we are delighted to announce that Heritage Lottery has agreed to fund us to develop My Bluecoat.  This initiative will enable us to collate and tell our history, a part of which will be an ‘unofficial’ account based on people’s memories of time spent here.   

Whether you come to participate or simply as an observer I look forward to welcoming you to Bluecoat this Spring. 


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About the Bluecoat

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

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Sun 11.00am - 6.00pm

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