Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts

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Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the heart of the city centre, is home to a year-round programme of exhibitions, music, dance, literature, live art and heritage events.

Bluecoat also provides a base for around thirty artists, collectives, small arts organisations and craftspeople. Bluecoat receives around 700,000 visits annually from a diverse range of visitors. We seek to create exceptional arts experiences, engaging the broadest possible audience with exciting contemporary work and the creators behind it in ways that allow the public’s enjoyment of the building to blend seamlessly with the arts, heritage, retail and hospitality on offer.

2017 was the 300th anniversary of our distinctive Grade One listed building, the oldest in Liverpool city centre. The tercentenary celebrations have provided us with a unique opportunity to share our rich heritage, to engage with new artists, audiences and stakeholders, and in dialogue, to create an inspirational vision for Bluecoat’s future.

Bluecoat: a brief history

In 1908 a group of artists moved into the former Blue Coat School building in Liverpool city centre and the space has been synonymous with art and artists ever since, playing a major part in Liverpool’s cultural life. Bluecoat expanded and flourished from the 1960s onwards with a regular public programme of exhibitions, music, live art and dance. A working community of artists has always been present with creative businesses and small arts organisations added to the mix over the years. In 2008, Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, Bluecoat reopened after a 3-year capital redevelopment which resulted in significant improvements to physical access as well as the creation of a brand new arts wing.

Our Mission:

We are committed to the values of equality, diversity and sustainability, and drive our work through being creative, inclusive and supportive.

  • Support diverse artists to develop their practice at all stages of their careers, to engage with audiences and to communicate the power and value of art to as broad a spectrum of people as possible.
  • Preserve, reveal and interpret the multifaceted story of our historic building, making it accessible to a range of audiences through activities, exhibitions, events and digital content in appropriate formats.
  • Help people find a meaningful place for the arts in their lives, creating safe and inclusive spaces for everyone to engage as audiences and participants.
  • Develop increasingly sustainable facilities that will generate income and support from a range of sources to support local and international artists and arts participants.

Our Future Ambitions: beyond 300

Our tercentenary celebrations have been a catalyst for renewal and as our 300th year comes to a close we are now entering an exciting period of development as a centre for artists at the heart of the city, with ambitions plans to extend the impact and reach of our work and to enhance the presentation and sustainability of our building.

Building on the success of Bluecoat 300, the next five years will see the introduction of a new arts heritage programme, a reinvention of  Bluecoat’s long-standing commitment to artist development and the implementation of a major growth strategy for our award-winning participation strand.

A programme of works to update the building is planned alongside an ambitious art commissioning programme.


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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