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October Half Term at Bluecoat

published by Barry

This October Half Term we've lined up a whole host of great activities for you and your family. Join the ...

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Bluecoat releases Winter programme of events & activities

New exhibitions exploring the changing nature of artistic education, an artist's exploration of the Race Relations Act with young people, Blue Room at 10, Serena Korda’s National Trust audio commission The Bell Tree and a new online archive, make for a vibrant new season at Liverpool’s Bluecoat - the UK’s oldest arts centre.


Bluecoat is delighted to announce a brand new season of exhibitions, artist talks, performances, residencies and more.

  • Three exhibitions explore the changing nature of artistic education: John Beck and Matthew Cornford; Jade Montserrat; Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson.
  • The Bell Tree by Serena Korda - Bluecoat & National Trust commission.
  • Guest artists & collaborators feature as part of a vibrant family programme.
  • Bluecoat’s inclusive arts project Blue Room celebrates 10 years.
  • New Dance continues at Bluecoat with a series of performances from leading independent dance collective, INHABIT.
  • New online archive archive My Bluecoat launches with hundreds of photos, videos and documents.

Our Winter season focuses on the changing nature of artistic education. The role of art schools is explored in Matthew Cornford and John Beck’s exhibition, The Art Schools of North West England. Jade Montserrat, in her drawing installation, asks vital questions of arts education and how we value creativity and each other. Emerging artists Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson, for whom Bluecoat’s Blue Room programme for adults with learning difficulties has played an important role in their artistic journey, share the experience in their first studio residency.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Race Relations Act, photographic artist and educator Scarlett Crawford has been commissioned by UK Parliament to work with young people from the Greenhouse Project and Liverpool Community Spirit’s Multi-Faith Youth Council to create artworks which explore the impact of race relations legislation on their lives. The resulting exhibition features photographs, a soundscape and film, created in summer workshops at Bluecoat.

Bluecoat’s inclusive arts project Blue Room celebrates ten years of creativity with an exhibition created for the anniversary. Inspired by images from the project’s extensive photographic archive, Blue Room artists have collaborated with Louise Waller and Alice Odgers from Baltic Clay tocreate a collection of ceramics which reference Bluecoat resident potter Julia Carter Preston (1926 -2012).

As we move through the seasons, The Bell Tree, a new sound sculpture by British artist Serena Korda , stands tall in the ancient woodland of Liverpool’s Speke Hall where over 300 handmade porcelain mushroom bells hang from an old oak tree. Visitors can see the bells move in the breeze and, through listening to a soundscape audio on their phone. The melodic soundscape intermingles the ringing of bluebells played by the bell ringers of St Michael’s Church in Garston with melodics ounds are accompanied by an angry band of fairies, performed by local choir Mostly Madrigals and acapella group Mouthful. The new commission also includes a smaller element installed in the Bluecoat Garden.

Alongside contemporary artists we feature a rich programme of live art and performance. DaDaFest 2018 returns to Bluecoat with a series of events including Not, I Jess Thom and Twitch and in February Liverpool Improvisation artists Paula Hampson and Mary Prestidge will premiere two new events In The Palm of My Hand and Expanding the Picture II , as part of INHABIT, Bluecoat’s programme of New Dance.

You can now delve into our history as the UK’s first arts centre on a new online archive, My Bluecoat. The new website contains fascinating material dating back 300 years from our archive, as well asrecords from the Blue Coat School in Wavertree and Liverpool Record Office. It includes films, historic documents, posters, brochures and hundreds of images from our exhibitions and events. Visit mybluecoat.org.uk to learn more. As the UK’s longest running arts centre, we have provided space for artists and audiences at the heart of the city for over a century.

This year, Bluecoat’s international residency programme continues to grow. Prague-based independent curator Zuzana Jakalová, from art space, is in residence in October and will continue research into health, disability and economic precariousness for her forthcoming publication, Multilogues on the Now. Bangalore-based artist and writer, Chinar Shah joins Bluecoat in October for the first of a two-part residency exploring feminism, intersectional politics and caste.

Across January - February 2019, Bluecoat will also host Indonesian artist Nurrachmat Widyasena, who joins us for his first UK residency. Commenting on Bluecoat’s International Residency programme, Mary Cloake, Bluecoat’s Chief Executive said: “We’re delighted to welcome so many exciting artists to Bluecoat and to see our residency programme continue to grow. Local to international creatives will develop their artistic practice here in Liverpool and forge new relationships with each other and with the city.” 

Season highlights include:

Sat 17 Nov - Sun 10 Mar

Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson: Studio Me

Liverpool-based artists Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson embark on their first studio residency. Henderson’s architecture-inspired drawings have evolved through a newly developed printmaking practice, whilst Watson’s closely observed portraits reflect the people who populate Bluecoat, including staff, volunteers and artists.

Free, drop in.


Sat 17 Nov - Sun 10 Mar Jade Montserrat: Instituting Care

Large charcoal wall drawings by Scarborough-based artist Jade Montserrat transform the gallery with quotes from her research into race, gender, disability and education and writers such as Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde and Stuart Hall.

Free, drop in.


Sat 17 Nov - Sun 10 Mar

John Beck and Matthew Cornford: The Art Schools of North West England

John Beck and Matthew Cornford have tracked down and photographed 30 art schools, once crucialto the region’s creative life . With many buildings now closed, repurposed, demolished or absorbed into universities, the images are a powerful reminder of what has been lost, but also seek to reawaken a vital legacy.

Free, drop in.


10 November - 25 November 

First Waves - Liverpool, Scarlett Crawford  

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Race Relations Act, London based photographic artist and educator Scarlett Crawford has been commissioned by UK Parliament to work with communities in Liverpool and across the country. At Bluecoat, she has collaborated with young people from the Greenhouse Project and Liverpool Community Spirit’s Multi-Faith Youth Council to create artworks which explore the impact of race relations legislation on their lives. The resulting exhibition features photographs, a soundscape and film, created in workshops at Bluecoat in Summer 2018. The full UK-wide project featuring Scarlett’s collaborations with groups at Nottingham Contemporary and the Women’s Art Library Glasgow, amongst other partners, will be presented at the Houses of Parliament in 2019.

Free, drop in


1 December 2018 - 10 March 2018

Blue Room at 10

Bluecoat’s inclusive arts project Blue Room, a year-round programme of art for adults with learning difficulties, celebrates ten years of creativity with an exhibition celebrating the anniversary. Inspired by images from the project’s extensive photographic archive, Blue Room artists have collaborated with Louise Waller and Alice Odgers from Baltic Clay to create a collection of ceramics. These reference Bluecoat’s acclaimed potter, Julia Carter Preston (1926 - 2012) and explore her sgraffito technique. The exhibition also features screen prints created at Bluecoat Print Studio.

Free, drop in


Running until 28 July 2019

Serena Korda, The Bell Tree (off-site at Speke Hall & in the Bluecoat Garden)

Open Daily 10.30am-4pm. Free for National Trust Members

Heritage continues to be a key focus as we look ahead following our 300th anniversary programme last year. The Bell Tree is a new sound sculpture by British artist Serena Korda made of over 300 handmade porcelain mushroom bells that hang from an old oak in the ancient woodland at Speke Hall. The new commission also includes an element installed in the Bluecoat Garden. Commissioned by Bluecoat and Trust New Art, The National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts.

Free, drop in


Fri 9 Nov 6pm

Scarlett Crawford and guests

The artist and some of the young people she has collaborated with talk about the making of First Waves, a new commission by UK Parliament working with communities in Liverpool and across the country.

Free, booking recommended


Fri 23 & Sat 24 Nov 6.30pm

Jess Thom: Not I

Not I is the story of a woman’s life told at top speed by a disembodied character, ‘Mouth’. A Touretteshero and Battersea Arts Centre production in association with the Albany, this neuro-diverse presentation sees Thom reclaiming Mouth as a disabled character.

Tickets: £15/£10


Sat 16 Feb 1-4pm

Radical Mycology Gathering: Primordia

A gathering for the fungally inclined presented by artist Jane Lawson who will share research into the study of fungi and how mushrooms can teach society to care.  Invited by Jade Montserrat.

Tickets: £4/£3


Thu 14 Mar 2pm

Life Drawing with Paul Kindersley

Marking the final week of Instituting Care, you are invited to participate in a special life drawing class with artist Paul Kindersley. Invited by Jade Montserrat.

Tickets: £10/£8

 - ENDS -

Image credits, clockwise from top left: Blue Room - The Bluecoat Studios -®Rob Battersby; Jade Montserrat, The Last Place They Thought Of, Installation View, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, photo: Constance Mensh. The Bell Tree by Serena Korda, Dave Jones Photography, Blue Room - The Bluecoat 2018 - Pottery Work ©Rob Battersby 8

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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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October Half Term at Bluecoat

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