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The Bluecoat's Colonial Legacies Exhibition

23 March - 03 July 2022

Throughout 2021-2022, the Bluecoat worked with a group of young people from the Greenhouse Project in Toxteth L8, and others across the city to interrogate the history of the Bluecoat building and its foundational links to British colonialism. As part of the project, the group devised an exhibition in the Bluecoat gallery.

This display brought together newly commissioned and existing artwork, along with archival material and research relating to the Bluecoat's beginnings as a charity school, along with new findings about its co-founder, the merchant Bryan Blundell and his family.

The group produced a selection of creative work that will be on display alongside a newly commissioned artwork by artist Grace Thomas.

Items in the show

A small blue coat, based on the uniform worn by the eighteenth-century Blue Coat School pupils, was suspended in the space, its threads unravelling. This reflects the unwinding of contested histories, and the ties between two of the building’s central narratives, colonial legacies and the concept of looked after children.

The current Blue Coat School in Wavertree lent us their bible that belonged to Bryan Blundell’s son, Jonathan.

This is accompanied by documentation of several Bluecoat exhibitions and performances by contemporary artists who have interrogated these legacies over the past four decades, such as the Trophies of Empire exhibition (1992) and Elaine Mitchener’s performance Sweet Tooth (2017).

Exhibition Launch

We hosted a special preview of the exhibition for invited guests to launch the exhibition, including music be DJ Papa Raf and food from Ray Rayz Caribbean.

Find out more about the Bluecoat's Colonial Legacies project