A Creative Community Across Merseyside

26 October 2021

Watch this online panel discussion exploring Liverpool City Region's artist studios.

In 2020, Laura Marie Brown and Patrick Kirk Smith authored a report into Liverpool City Region’s artist studios. Hear from artists, studios and spaces as they reflected on their role, what they need and whether they can survive.

On the panel were - Patrick Kirk Smith, Michelle Peterkin-Walker, Erika Rushton, Brigitte Jurack, Claire Weetman. Chaired by Laura Marie Brown.

The event accompanied the exhibition in Bluecoat's Vide, A Creative Community, which reflected on over a century of the Bluecoat as a working building for artists.

About the panel members

Brigitte Jurack

Brigitte Jurack is an artist and Head of Sculpture/Time based arts at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, and co-founder of the artists’ collective Foreign Investment. After completing her studies at Dusseldorf Fine Art Academy, she moved to the UK. Her work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at FILET, London (2018), Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, and IMMA, Dublin. She has held fellowships at the British School at Athens, ICI Redcar, EKWC Hertogenbosch, IMMA Dublin and the Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi. In 2007 she published Irfaran, Travel and Work, a book, which focussed on the artist as globetrotting worker in the twenty-first century. Jurack has worked with young people towards the realisation of a suite of public sculptures on Merseyside, and currently is co-researching sculpture making in Dementia Care settings, whilst simultaneously developing a series of sculptures, that focus on our fractured relationship with the natural environment, especially the urban wild.

Having had studios at Bridewell, Dukestreet, Slatey street and her front room, she co-founded Alternator studio in Birkenhead in 2012. Situated in an old Bakery she has instigated Translating the Street (2016/2019) a series of international artist’s micro-residencies hosted by micro-businesses and community facilities in Birkenhead.

Jurack is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors, London and the European Sculpture network.

Erika Rushton

Erika Rushton works with community and creative enterprises at every stage of their life cycle to launch new ideas; secure investment to grow, multiply, impact or refocus; build networks and secure space or opportunities to deliver independently sustainable economy. Networked enterprises then take on a self-sustaining life of their own and transform a place, industry sector or community of interest.

Creative Economist’s Place-Making work connects underused spaces and places with those who can provide or create an alternative use for them. Consistently delivering new economic activity that differentiates place identity, brings new purpose and - once started - is infectious.

Erika is currently working with Islington Mill in Salford delivering a £7 million expansion to double the workspace, and support, available to artists and creative enterprises in Salford and Greater Manchester; she initiated One Day – a rewriting of the Liverpool City Regions industrial strategy by women for everybody; and is one of the founders of Kindred – a £6.5Million social investment fund to expand Socially Trading Organisations in Liverpool City Region. She most recently received the Insider North West Property ‘Game-Changer’ Award 2020.

Creative Economist is led by Erika Rushton working in collaboration with sister Emma Rushton and other associates assembled for each project. She is a regular writer and contributor to Heritage, Arts, British Council, Local Government and Academic Research publications; and supports a network of emerging creative women leaders in the UK, Central Asia and the EU.

Michelle Peterkin-Walker

Michelle is local artist, born and raised in L8, with over 20 years experiences working in community arts. A socially engaged artist, activist and videographer. Her practice combines photography and design to create digital artworks. Taking inspiration from people, places, symbols within African history and culture.

After graduating from LJMU in 1997 she set up Sojourner Productions a video production company. Produced short films for International Slavery Museum - Slavery Remembrance Day 2017, South West Screen – Reflections 2012. In 2016 self-funded a digital art exhibition ‘Pieces of Gold’ exploring global Pan-Africanism. Co-founder of Liverpool Pan African Group (LPAG).

Recently, was Artist in Residence at Metal Liverpool - Remote Residencies. Michelle is currently working on film archive project ‘Yore Lens on L8’ a series of short film about cultural creativity in L8; and a short film ‘Meet me at the Spring’.

In 2018 Michelle led a collaborative project with International Slavery Museum and Granby Community Land Trust, a pre-Winter Garden mini residency ‘Thinking Through Plants’ with Dr Geri Augusto, Brown University (USA).

In 2019 she worked with local residents on Politics of Plants project, recreating African ancestral symbolism that existed in the gardens of enslaved Africans, creating a permanent Dikenga crystal installation in Granby Winter Garden.

In 2020 she moved into Granby Workshop studios, joining the collective of creatives in L8. Michelle is a fellow of School of Social Entrepreneurs. In 2017 setting up Afrikan Village Market, an indoor cultural market for artisans, craft makers creatives, from the African Diaspora, to showcase and sell their art.

Patrick Kirk-Smith

Patrick Kirk-Smith is editor of Art in Liverpool and director of Independents Biennial.

Art in Liverpool has run since 2004 as an online magazine, launching monthly print editions in 2018, providing space for new arts writing and connecting audiences to events all over Merseyside.

Independents Biennial is the sister to Liverpool Biennial, focussing on support and commissioning for local artists.