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A year of events and artistic interventions across St Helens

launching with:

Where Things Are Different The Sankey Canal (by World of Glass) Thursday, January 25th 2018


2018 marks the 150th anniversary of St Helens’ incorporation as a municipal Borough. Throughout the year Heart of Glass, in partnership with St Helens Council and a variety of local community partners, will develop and deliver a programme of events and artistic commissions and projects titled St Helens 150. We launch this year with a new public art work; Stephen King’s Where Things Are Different which continues throughout the year.

Our 2018 borough programme is ‘people and place driven’, inviting our diverse communities to join us in the making of ambitious new artwork, establishing in the process, a range of events, activities and opportunities, with something for everyone throughout the year. Our programme acknowledges and reflects upon the history and heritage of St Helens, renowned for glass making, pharmaceuticals, mining and rugby league. It also launches a new chapter for the borough, as a place of ingenuity, artistic innovation and possibility. Heart of Glass and St Helens Council believe that art and artists, in collaboration with our communities, have a crucial role to play in shaping the future of the borough. Through this programme we will continue to build on the work that has been developed over the past number of years, placing art and artists in direct interaction with all areas of human life that make St Helens, creating ambitious and relevant new work in the process. Our shared vision positions St Helens as a recognised national and international centre for social and collaborative arts practice, promoting new ideas and experimentation through the arts. It is a vision which embraces diversity, inclusion and equality, and which has collaboration, cultural democracy and collective action at its core. We launch the year with a new public art commission by photographer Stephen King, located on the banks of the Sankey Canal, directly behind the World of Glass. This work has been developed in collaboration with workforces from industries past and present, and is a fitting way to launch the year.

2018 WON’T ONLY BE ABOUT RECOGNISING THE LEGACY OF ST HELENS’ IMPRESSIVE PAST, BUT IS VERY MUCH ABOUT CELEBRATING OUR INNOVATION, INGENUITY AND CULTURE. Our young people are our future and 2018 is about showcasing their talents as well as raising ambitions and aspirations. Together with Heart of Glass, St Helens Council has put together a programme of events with something for everyone – young and old, families and individuals, from all walks of life and from right across the whole of the borough. Councillor Gill Neal Cabinet Member, Public Health & Wellbeing

ART IS A WAY OF MAKING SENSE OF THE WORLD, OF EXPLORING NEW POSSIBILITIES AND WAYS OF BEING. The work of our communities in collaboration with artists has resulted in some remarkable projects being developed and delivered over the past number of years and 2018 will continue this work. From newly created public art commissions and civic spaces, to internationally renowned performance work and pop-up festivals, there will be something for everyone across the year as we develop ambitious work with communities across the borough. We’re delighted to be working with St Helens Council and a range of partners, both near and far, and we hope 2018 will be a year of reflection, but also a time to build an exciting future. Patrick Fox Director, Heart of Glass

Baa Baa Baric: Have You Any Pull? (2017) Image by Stephen King

Where Things Are Different, 2018, Image by Stephen King

Where Things Are Different Stephen King with workers from St Helens’ industrial history and present January 25th to April 22nd 2018 Sankey Canal (at the back of The World of Glass)

We launch 2018 with a new commission by Artist Stephen King. The project has seen King collaborate with workers from St Helens’ industrial history and present and has been supported by Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Where Things Are Different is a project that attempts to place equal credence between the logic of fiction and the logic of fact within the context of community. Stephen King met and worked closely with members and groups of St Helens post-industrial communities to unearth the shared experience that reside within these displaced workforces. The results are some incredibly beautiful and surreal images that articulate the enduring memories and experiences created through people’s working lives in some of St Helens most recognisable industries. King attempts to illustrate overlapping anecdotal fragments from close-knit St Helens communities and the tall-tales that emanate from the shopfloor. Focusing upon the experiences that aren’t documented in the form of books or curated in museums, but ones that only exist upon the lips of the people. Asking the question: ‘what remains once a sizeable workforce vacates a site after many years of work?’ King explores the notion that places now take up space within the social experience, the memories, stories and folklore held by a community. The work takes the form of a public art installation on the banks of the Sankey Canal, at the back of the World of Glass and will be in situ until April 2018. For further details please visit:

SO WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THE REST OF ST HELENS 150 PROGRAMME IN 2018. HERE’S A TASTER! We are delighted to announce the return of the multitalented trio Eggs Collective! Writers, performers and producers of theatre, Eggs Collective will be in residence with Heart of Glass for the whole of 2018. Fresh from an acclaimed stint at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 and a recent BBC Two show ‘Get A Round’, Eggs will be our ‘Party Political’ Producers in residence, developing public interventions throughout the year, including a a Citizen’s Parade, featuring the Mayor, in May 2018 and a Wrap Party like no other in December. Stay tuned to for more details, or to find out more follow @eggscollective on Twitter.

In Spring we will launch the first of two episodes of Takeover Fest. Devised by, and first realised in 2016 through our collaboration with the wonderful Scottee, Takeover sees artists take charge, presenting work and creating interventions across the borough, with no location off bounds. Our Spring Takeover will act as a taster to whet the appetite and this will be swiftly followed by a total Takeover in Autumn / Winter 2018. We are delighted to announce that we are working with son of St Helens Frank Cottrell-Boyce to develop this programme of short, sharp, accessible and challenging live work. We are also partnering with St Helens Libraries, Cultural Hubs, and over the duration of each festival you can expect work to take place in libraries, shops, public spaces, venues, people’s homes, taxi cabs, etc turning St Helens into a creative landscape, where every wall is a screen and every corner a stage! Expect to be challenged, entertained and surprised. In April 17th and 18th 2018 we will welcome friends from around Europe for a day-long conference exploring artists, creativity, people and place, working in partnership with Tate Liverpool. Building on our successful conference format With For About, this third iteration of our conference will see us host a day of interactive exploration with delegates from around Europe, placing St Helens on the world stage of innovative thinking and practice! To check out what happened at the last With For About conference in Quaker House in 2016 visit our website.

Eggs Collective Image by Roshana Rubin-Mayhew

Bliss Park, 2018, Image by Stephen King

Also in 2018 we will also be inviting you to join us at Bliss Park. Over the coming years we are working with acclaimed duo Studio Morison on a variety of projects, the first of which is Bliss Park, an artwork, a skatepark and a new civic space for the borough commissioned and produced by young people from St Helens in collaboration with Artists Heather and Ivan Morison. This new public space, located in the town centre, and funded under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) as part of the force’s Community Cash Back Fund and other sources, will be emblematic of the way in which art and culture are driving new conversations and innovations in the town. Heather from Studio Morison is also joining the Heart of Glass team and as a convener & strategist, working on developing a new public art strategy for the borough and exploring our ambition to become a national “centre for collaborative and social arts practice” – watch this space! During the summer, our friends at The Citadel Arts Centre will be taking to the streets, for the appropriately titled In The Streets, a day of family friendly town centre work. Taking the theme of ‘Interactivity’ the festival’s approach will be to provide a high quality artistic engagement experience for families and this will include pop-up performances, music based events, workshops and drop-ins. We will also be marking Armed Forces Day in June through a new project, located in Victoria Park.

Moving into Autumn, we will be creating opportunities for local Artists to explore St Helens heritage and history through a contemporary lens, connecting with Heritage Open Days, announcements about how to get involved will be announced in February. Claire Weetman, Sophie Tickle, SOLA arts and people in St Helens seeking asylum will work together during 2018 to produce visual, digital and movement artworks that will be developed into the ‘Maze of Displacement’. A physical and visual experience where walls are formed of people making emotive gestures with their hands and bodies; a maze where the walls shift as you experience it; a place to share what it means to feel displaced. Artist Simon Mckeown will be in St Helens in December for We Are Still Here, a light and project extravaganza, taking place at St Helens Town Hall in Victoria Square. Working with local artists and members of the St Helens disabled community, this part performance, part visual spectacle will involve 3D projections, digital animations a newly commissioned soundtrack. HELEN is a programme that aims to create immersive and explosive art experiences focused on women. Exploring women’s persistence and resistance, idle women will be reconstructing a building literally from the inside out with women from St Helens learning new trades and skills throughout 2018. HELEN will also fill the streets with site-specific performance work including a very special new commission from the award-winning Anu Productions in the autumn. This is a once in a generation project and not to be missed. For more information about HELEN, please contact

In 2018, we will connect with schools across the borough on a creative challenge. Using St Helens history of innovation and experimentation as a departure point, we will unlock the creative potential of our schools and educational frameworks, creating the opportunity for us to reconnect with our history of innovation through a vision of the future, shaped by young people. If you are interested in your school being involved please email Also, our friends at The World of Glass will be hosting a supersized version of their annual Youth Open and Open Art competitions and play host to other events and happenings throughout the year, including our launch event in January. This will be in addition to their on-going programme of work and varied visitor attractions, pop over to to find out more. We are also excited to announce that frequent Heart of Glass collaborators, Yellow Door Artists, will produce an exhibition celebrating the journey of St Helens the place. This will include the long-standing relationships between St Helens and our twin town of Chalon-Sur-Saone and partner town of Stuttgart.

As well as Heart of Glass produced events, St Helens Council will also be supporting a range of projects including Westfield Music Festival, St Helens Food and Drink Festival, and a walking tour.

WESTFEST Every summer, Westfield Street Music Festival brings a vibrant carnival atmosphere to the streets and nightlife venues of St Helens Town Centre. Last year over 50 music acts featured, with live music from local and regional talent. In 2018 the event will be even bigger and better, extended to run over two days. The full day’s entertainment also includes a range of dazzling dance and rhythm displays from the likes of Brazilian drumming troupe Katumba, and wonderfully inventive parades, such as last year’s giant puppet spectacle, presented by Brouhaha. Community involvement is a key part of Westfest’s family entertainment with St Helens College and town centre businesses further enhancing the event’s offer.

Visit to find out more. There will be opportunities for St Helens based to get involved through a series of open call. As always, there is much going on behind the scenes at Heart of Glass, this includes collaborations with different communities and groups across the borough. If you are interested in any of our projects and want more information, please contact

Project Zei, Yellow Door Artists, 2018

Spark in the Park, 2017

SPARK IN THE PARK Celebrating bonfire night with a bang, Spark in the Park is St Helens’ principal fireworks display, gathering crowds from across the borough and beyond, given its road and rail accessibility. The event at Sherdley Park consists of two distinct fireworks displays, with one specifically arranged for young children to enjoy. Recently, organisers introduced a film music theme to proceedings, with the displays timed to well-known movie soundtracks. Spark in the Park also boasts a range of funfair and food attractions, all within the park boundaries. CHRISTMAS SWITCH-ON The countdown to Christmas begins with the annual Christmas lights switch-on event. Taking place on Victoria Square, the event features renowned music artists and budding local talent, compered by popular DJs from Radio City 96.7. The switch-on draws hundreds of people to the town centre despite the cold weather, with families warming up to great live music and entertainment. Last year’s event proved highly successful and featured interviews with some well-known figures in the community, including some who have done incredible charitable work. How Can I Get Involved? There are a range of ways you can get involved in St Helens 150, here’s a few: For any information about projects, or to register an interest in volunteering to bring some of these events to life, please contact

The award-winning St Helens Libraries, Cultural Hubs, will be working with us on Takeover Festival, but will also offer an array of arts in libraries programmes throughout the year, building on their success to date. During the year Library Services’ Local History and Archives will showcase three programmes funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. In February St Helens Community Archive will be launched at Eccleston Library. Everyone in the borough will be invited to define their local heritage for future generations by uploading content to this newly created website. An Art installation created by Debbie Adele Cooper will culminate the St Helens Through The Lens project at Newton-le-Willows Library inspired by portraits of the people of St Helens held in the archive. Liverpool St Helens Rugby Union Football Club will tour their Exhibition in Parr Library 5th Feb - 23rd Feb, Moss Bank Library 26th Feb - 16th March, Chester Lane Library 19th March - 6th April, Newton-le-Willows Library 9th April - 27th April, Eccleston Library 30th April - 25th May, celebrating the birth of club rugby. For more information about these project visit

2018 is the borough’s 150th anniversary and we want everyone to join in the celebrations. We are particularly keen to encourage and support local community groups with a local event they may have planned for 2018. If anyone is looking to host an event in St Helens next year and would like to link to the borough’s 150th anniversary plans, you can find out more by emailing

St Helens 150  

A year of events and artistic interventions across St Helens

St Helens 150  

A year of events and artistic interventions across St Helens