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Dr Paul Jones, Sociologist in Residence

Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, will welcome a sociologist in residence to its building as part of its 300th anniversary programme in 2017.

Dr Paul Jones, from the University of Liverpool, will be working with the arts centre throughout the year to investigate its public role. The residency will focus on art, architecture and society, and how both Bluecoat and the University connect with the city.

2017 marks the 300th anniversary of Bluecoat’s building, a former charity school that became the first arts centre in the UK. Integral to Liverpool’s heritage, and centrally located in the heart of the city, Bluecoat stages a wide range of artistic programmes including visual art, dance, literature, music and performance. It reaches one of the widest demographics of all arts venues in Liverpool, and attracts over 600,000 visits annually.

Against this backdrop, Paul will carry out sociological inquiry via a programme of events across the year that look at the urban environment, particularly Liverpool’s, and how it changes over time; notions of public and private space; and the of art venues such as Bluecoat, who as part of their work seek to reflect and bring about social change. 

The residency will invite the public to participate in a range of research and learning opportunities which will take place outside of a university setting.

Highlights of the programme will include the following:

  • A lecture series held at Bluecoat and open to both University of Liverpool students and the general public
  • Public talks, including a major lecture on photography and visual studies
  • City tours focusing on architectural and social history of Liverpool
  • A reading group - on taste and aesthetics - for curators and artists
  • A ‘sociology for kids’ day, involving fun sociological experiments in the city
  • A blog addressing the question ‘what is public?’ in relation to sites and settings including health, education, housing, culture, politics, and the media:




The residency has grown out of a shared conviction between Bluecoat and the University of Liverpool that there is a significant appetite amongst Liverpool’s public to find out more about ideas that inform both contemporary art and the development of urban contexts. The residency will open up a public academic discussion, broaden access to current thinking about culture and our urban environment, and contribute to Bluecoat’s own understanding of its civic role, as well as informing Dr Jones’ research.

Dr Paul Jones said, “I am absolutely delighted to be involved in what promises to be a very exciting year as Sociologist in Residence at Bluecoat. I really hope that the range of sociological teaching and research events that we have planned will help open up a series of public debates concerning the changing nature of culture and the city. I look forward to collaborating in different ways with a range of people during 2017”  

About the Bluecoat

Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat showcases talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. As the most ...

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