UK's oldest arts centre
announces Sociologist in Residence as part of plans to celebrate its 300th
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, Senior Lecturer in Sociology 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 1st 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, Dr Jones will carry out sociological inquiry via a
programme of events across the year that look at how the urban environment,
particularly Liverpool's, has changed over time and the role of art and art
venues, such as Bluecoat, in those changes.
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 studies in the City.
A blog addressing the question
public?' in relation to sites and settings including:- health,
education, housing, culture, politics, and the media, can be found
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 Paul's 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"
Bryan Biggs, Bluecoat's Artistic Director said:- "We are delighted to host
our second resident academic from University of Liverpool. 2017 represents a
pivotal year for Bluecoat as we reflect on our 300-year history and anticipate
the arts centre's future role in a rapidly changing world. Paul has already
immersed himself in our work and has a real understanding of our vision and the
challenges we face."
Mary Cloake, Bluecoat's Chief Executive said:- "We are very much looking
forward to working with Paul during the year to address some of the questions
about contemporary art in a heritage setting, engaging audiences with such an
important Liverpool building, and how to make what we do relevant to more people
in the City."
Professor Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor at University of Liverpool said:-
"This exciting opportunity has come about as a result of the close relationship
the University has with Bluecoat. The wide range of events and activities
planned for the next 12 months as part of Dr Jones' residency will further
enhance the connection and engagement the people of the City have with both
The partnership between the 2 institutions goes back many years. In 1910 Charles
Reilly, then Head of Architecture at the University, moved the School of
Architecture to Bluecoat, partly in order for the students to engage more with
the City and be closer to the architects' practices.
The Sociologist in Residence programme follows a recent partnership with Dr
Panyiota Vassilopoulou from the University of Liverpool, who was Philosopher in
Residence at Bluecoat in 2013 to 2015. During her residency, she delivered a highly
successful series of lectures and other events.
The Bluecoat building, a fine example of Queen Anne style architecture, began
life as a charity school in 1717, before housing an arts community in 1907 and
formally becoming an arts centre in 1927, making it the oldest of its kind in
Its anniversary programme sees 300 days of celebration in 2017, from 4 February
to 30 November 2017, comprising exhibitions, performances of music, dance and live
art, literature events, commissions and a major heritage participation project,