Liverpool & the Black Atlantic

29 January - 25 April 2010

Liverpool & the Black Atlantic was a programme that accompanied Tate Liverpool’s Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic exhibition.

Liverpool & the Black Atlantic was a programme that accompanied Tate Liverpool’s Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic exhibition. Afro Modern was inspired by Paul Gilroy’s book The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness and brought together works by UK and international artists including Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, Sonia Boyce and Ronald Moody. A city-wide programme of events, exhibitions and performances ran alongside the exhibition, with partners including Bluecoat, Walker Art Gallery, FACT), Liverpool University and Metal. Bluecoat’s programme included Sonia Boyce’s exhibition Like Love – Part Two and the accompanying show she curated, entitled Action.

Liverpool Liming event: 27 March

Liverpool Liming brought together spoken word, music and poetry, organised for Bluecoat by Tilt. Liming originates from Trinidad and brings together the best in international spoken word, interspersing music, visuals and audience interaction. The event was hosted by John Agard and Melanie Abrahams, and featured performances by the writers, poets and musicians below.

Levi Tafari

Tafari is a well-known Liverpool-born poet, who has a long association with Bluecoat, performing his work on numerous occasions and participating in workshops. He was part of the local collective Verbal Images, commissioned for Trophies of Empire (1992).

John Agard

Agard is a poet, short story writer, playwright and children’s writer, whose work deals with themes including ethnicity, morality and religion, often in a playful and humorous way. He was the recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2012 and awarded BookTrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. His collections include Half-caste and Other Poems (2004), Clever Backbone (2009) and Windrush Child (2022).

Sense of Sound

This female vocal agency was based at Bluecoat for many years and its popular choir has performed many times in the venue’s interior and exterior spaces. Leading members Jennifer John and Saphena Aziz have also performed their solo work at the venue.

Grace Nichols

Nichols is a Guyanese-born poet who moved to Britain in 1977. Her first collection, I is a Long-Memoried Woman(1983), won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and in 2021, she was recipeient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

Curtis Watt

Watt is a Liverpool-based performance poet, actor, presenter, musician and creative workshop leader who has worked at Bluecoat many times, most recently on the ‘Colonial Legacies’ strand of our Echoes & Origins project.


Beni is a spoken word artist.

Charli Dark

Dark is a DJ, spoken word artist, community builder, mentor, and founder member of the Run Dem Crew.

See highlights from the event here:

Other events in the series featured the following:

Ray Costello

Costello is a Liverpool historian who has written a number of articles and books including Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships (2012) and Black Liverpool: The Early History of Britain's Oldest Black Community 1730-1918 (2001).

Blacktronica and III Audio

Blacktronica and III Audio are DJs and MCs, based in London and Liverpool respectively.

Kwame Dawes

Dawes is a Ghanaian poet, author and editor who has written numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. In 2009, he received the Emmy Award for New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming for, an interactive site based on his project HOPE: Living and loving with AIDS in Jamaica.


Somalifields is a group of emerging Liverpool-based Somali poets.