RESOURCE at Bluecoat, Liverpool

Picture credit: Jack Brindley, ‘Original Copy’ installation view, Cactus Gallery, 2015; Photographer Harry Meadley

An exhibition examining the usefulness of art and twenty-first century arts centres is to open at Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts.

Featuring work from a wide range of UK-based artists RESOURCE is inspired by the 1927 founding manifesto of Bluecoat which states that the organisation was set up to promote not only the arts, but also the ‘diffusion of useful knowledge’.

The resulting exhibition includes artists whose work suggests or subverts a practical purpose, alongside interventions into the infrastructure of Bluecoat by publishing collectives and designers. Many of them have made new work for the exhibition utilising the building’s hidden resources – its studios, performance spaces, print rooms and the people who use them – opening up the day-to-day working life of the UK’s oldest arts centre.

Art works as temporary resources available for visitors include Sean Edward’s sculpture which provides dividing walls for the exhibition, Jack Brindley’s museum-style audio guide which layers a fictional narrative over the building, Ian Whittlesea’s exercises in becoming invisible, and the Piracy Project’s reference library of bootlegged publications – open for browsing and new contributions by the visiting public.

RESOURCE also features working methods which highlight both what we might learn from each other and how we can work within an economy of means. These include Anne Harild’s prototype shelters co-designed with Blue Room, a group of adult artists with learning disabilities, and Daniel Eatock’s contribution, an installation determined by the materials left over from previous exhibitions. 

The curator of RESOURCE, Head of Programme at Bluecoat, Marie-Anne McQuay, said: “Active as a base for artists since 1907 when the building, a former school dating from the 18th century, became empty, Bluecoat was inaugurated as a fully-fledged public arts centre in 1927. The founding manifesto includes a commitment to ‘promote the arts, literature, science for adult instruction and the diffusion of useful knowledge’. This statement of intent suggests art’s value to social and civic life then, but also resonates now.                                          

“Taken as a whole, the exhibition extends its enquiry into its own surroundings, questioning the nature, but also future possibilities of arts centres. Is their value based solely on what is presented publicly or what is produced behind the scenes? What new resources should a 21st century arts venue offer to remain useful to the public which they serve? The artistic and civic functions of an arts centre will be considered through related talks, workshops and other events over the summer.”



Sat 18 July, 2pm

Exhibition Tour

Artist Jack Brindley with Bluecoat’s Head of Programme Marie-Anne McQuay. Free.


Sat 8 Aug, 2pm

Exhibition Tour

Tour led by RESOURCE artist Laurence Payot. Free.


Tue 21 July, 6pm

Artist’s Talk: Leo Fitzmaurice

Leo Fitzmaurice discusses the themes of the show and his own work, which uses existing print material and the urban environment as a resource to make work. Free, booking required.


Wed 29 July, 7pm

Artist’s Talk: Sean Edwards – Thickness on Paper

A short performance work by RESOURCE artist Sean Edwards taking as its starting point a 1957 billiards and snooker instruction manual. Free, booking required.


Tue 4 Aug, 5pm

Artist’s talk: Anne Harild

Anne Harild describes the process of designing her commission for Bluecoat’s courtyard and working closely with Blue Room and Out of the Blue.

Free, booking required.


Thu 23 July, 6pm

City As Resource: Artist Led Spaces

Join a knowledge-sharing event on setting up and running your own art space. Featuring contributions from Cactus, Model Liverpool,

The Royal Standard, Crown Street Studios and Liverpool Small Cinema.

Free, booking required.


Thu 6 Aug, 6pm

City As Resource: Community Land Trust

Granby 4 Streets explain how to set up a community land trust and reclaim affordable housing. Free, booking required.


Sundays 26 July, 12 Aug & 26 Aug, 2-5pm

Print Club Sundays

Bluecoat’s Print Studio migrates to the gallery. Using pre-exposed screens, visitors are invited to bring in canvas bags, posters and book covers they’d like redesigned. Free, drop in.


Mon 20 July / Mon 24 Aug, 6pm

RESOURCE Reading Group

Artist Dave Evans leads a reading group taking short texts from the Serving Library and Piracy Project as the starting point for discussion. Free, booking required.


Sat 15 August, 2-4pm

LIC Improvisation Workshop

Using the breathing exercises from Ian Whittlesea’s ‘Invisible’ project. Liverpool Improvisation Company presents a movement workshop for all ages and abilities. Tickets £2 – £3.


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