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The Canal Programme Art for Places & Urbanism 09

“The Leeds-Liverpool Canal through North Liverpool and South Sefton was transformed during the summer months into a cultural and leisure destination. During this time we saw a huge reduction in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents due to the great range of activities from canoeing to workshops which engaged with the whole community who realised the huge benefits the canal can offer everyone. We are keen to see this improvement continue and be sustainable” Alan Carter Senior Regeneration Manager North, British Waterways “The canal came alive this summer, with the canal parade being the icing on the cake. Let’s make this bigger next year” David Flynn Chair, Pride of Sefton


Report Summary This report outlines the activities that took place in 2009 along the LeedsLiverpool canal when it became the focus for Liverpool Biennial’s Art for Places programme in the Housing Market Renewal areas of Sefton and Liverpool. In a series of engagement events and workshops run by Raumlabor and Re-Dock in 2008, it became clear that the canal is seen as a much neglected asset by those that live on its banks. A commission was proposed as a catalyst to address this and Liverpool Biennial set about an international commissioning process alongside an artist-led engagement programme on behalf of New Heartlands and Sefton Council in collaboration with British Waterways. Research activity by artists in the spring of 2009 culminated in a public programme of events, commissions and residencies on the canal throughout the summer with the announcement of the winner of the Waterworks commission and Urbanism 09 at its climax in September.  Many physical and perceptual improvements that were the result of that activity are documented here and continue to bear fruit on the canal, while the Waterworks commission is now in development.


At a glance: 30 artists employed 19 public artworks created 792 days of artists’ time employed 14 artist talks held 1 comprehensive wildlife and habitat survey of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal produced 135 full days of workshops held 19 public exhibition days organised 203 activities organised 2 local artists mentored 7547 participants of all ages 1 nationally scarce plant (classified as rare) found on the canal: the Purple Rampling Fumitory 7 short films produced 20 bee-keepers trained 7 British Canoeing Certificates achieved 20,000 postcards distributed 40,000 newspapers distributed 290 Jars of Sefton Produce made, including jams, chutneys and other preserves... 4

Alan Dunn + Re-Dock: Canal&: Suggestions for a future canal Artist Alan Dunn and arts collective Re-Dock explored people’s connections to the LeedsLiverpool Canal and their suggestions for its future use. Using digital imaging and imaginative workshop processes, twenty ideas for a future canal were presented on the Knowsley Road billboard during September 2009, in association with artist David Jacques. Two images were shown, as well as 20,000 postcards distributed door to door in Bootle and Litherland.

“No point in having a canal if you can’t use it.” Aimee Langton, age 12 “My brother used to swim in it they used to call it ‘The Cut’.” W. Campbell


The Seaforth Ideas Shop The former Seaforth Post Office, in the heart of Seaforth Village, was opened as a space for artist residencies and community led activities for 2009. The shop, based in the Stella shopping precinct where many of the shops are abandoned or closed, generated activities by local residents to improve the physical environment of their neighbourhood. Both David Bade and Kerry Morrison undertook part of their residencies from the shop.

“The shop has got us to think about what we can do to change our neighbourhood. A real mix of people have got involved, as it is on their doorstep.” Ann Myers, South Sefton Residents Group “Things are changing around here. You can see it” Lisa Roberts, Seaforth Residents Action group 6

Kerry Morrison: Wild and Productive Artist Kerry Morrison documented the wildlife, habitat and environs of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal from Seaforth through to Bank Hall over a nine month period. The project involved a programme of: investigation, mapping, happenings, action installations, dialogue, partnership working, community engagement, interventions, semi permanent (growing) installations, text, and journals. Kerry worked with botanist Dr Alicia Prowse, physical geographer Emily Fallows, beekeeper, Margaret Murdin and artist Emma Kemp on this project.

“I’ve performed before, but never with a curly wig on… nor in something called a ‘Poo’ performance. The reaction from people was great.” Margaret Roberts, Seaforth Resident


David Bade: Portrait DNA Archive David Bade, an artist from Curacao, took up his residency in February 2009 in the former Post Office in Seaforth Village. Over the month David invited Seaforth residents to have their portraits painted during informal sittings where the stories exchanged were as important as the activity of painting. Portraits made were then brought together in two large scale canvas paintings that captured the essence of the neighbourhood – its DNA. 12 large details of the paintings were shown in the entrance ramp to Seaforth station, and the paintings themselves were exhibited in Seaforth village during 2009. David returned to Seaforth in July, in order to create a floating artist workshop and gallery space for the Canal Parade; The Chairity Boat.

“David was great to get to know. He really helped the art class at the Expect Centre to get a feel for other ways of doing things. As the art teacher I also loved learning new skills. And the finished paintings…. Amazing!” John Furlong, Art Tutor, Expect Centre 8

Lambert Kamps: Canal Taxi Take one black cab, flip upside down, re-work, add an engine and you have a canal taxi. Dutch artist/architect Lambert Kamps created a floating taxi for the LeedsLiverpool Canal from the remnants of a classic vintage black cab. Canal Taxi became a functioning vehicle on the canal over the summer of 2009. Seaforth Youth Forum followed Lambert as he undertook his residency, documenting his work as it progressed.

“I couldn’t believe what he was doing to the taxi. Even though I saw it, I couldn’t believe it!” Laura, Seaforth Youth Forum


Ben Parry: Boat Building Throughout Summer 2009, artist Ben Parry worked with two local artists, Dave Webster and Andy Foulds, boat-builders and local residents to produce four new floating crafts for the LeedsLiverpool Canal; The Mint Tea house, Skip Boat, Seaforth Shark and Club Tropicana. Seaforth & Litherland Sea Cadets and Seaforth Youth Forum assisted with the project from a boat-building yard established at Bank Hall.


Danilo Capasso: European Biennial Network Residency Artist and architect Danilo Capasso from Naples was in Liverpool for three months as part of a residency programme funded by the European Union. He worked together with journalist and events designer Diana Marrone to create Portoallegro at Bank Hall on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Portoallegro was designed by Capasso as the newest tourist destination in North Liverpool. Located at Bank Hall it became a living installation, recreating the former Industrial Wharf that stood in its place. During the daytime Portoallegro became a bustling meeting place featuring screenings and exhibitions of research into the area’s rich history. Visitors were invited to eat and drink at the Portoallegro Café and Gardens or simply enjoy the ambience of the canal on a late summer afternoon. Evenings saw music and visuals as Portoallegro came alive with activity as crafts of all types were invited to moor there for the period’.


Maciej Kurak: Dual Module House Polish artist Maciej Kurak created a new temporary public artwork on the Bank Hall site for the duration of Urbanism 09. Developed in partnership with Polska Year! Â this new work was a striking reflection on the emerging new housing being created along the canalside on what were former industrial sites.


Raumlabor: The Promising Land Artist/architect practice Raumlabor work to re-imagine and re-invent disused public spaces and buildings. With a strong focus on engagement with local people, they transformed the disused St Winefride’s and St Richard’s primary school in Bootle into an urban arcadia that became the hub for Urbanism. They took visitors on a magical journey that reimagined the site, its history and its future, complete with a labyrinth and a Jantar Mantar, an architectural astronomical device accessible only by boat. The hall that housed the Happy City conference became a cathedral while the kitchen garden became the site for St Winefride’s well.


Squash Nutrition: Sefton Produce Working with local residents, Squash Nutrition established a kitchen garden in the grounds of the former school, St Winefride’s and St Richard’s. Between April and September 2009 Squash hosted monthly open food evenings, barbecues, twice-weekly day long food surgeries and growing sessions, and food preserving sessions. Sefton Produce provided conference delegates with delicious food created from freshly picked ingredients from the garden.

“Marrow jam was a revelation – and new to me!” Rev. Roger Driver, Bootle


Local Solutions: Watersports Activities Re-Dock’s workshops asked if the Leeds-Liverpool canal could once again become a community resource. “Well yes!”, we heard people cry. Local Solutions came to the rescue and ran a programme of water based activities from St. Winefride’s and St. Richard’s school over the summer, supported by local housing associations. Canoeing, swan pedaloes and water rollers were open to all. The long term vision is to see watersports become a regular feature on the canal in Sefton as Duggan Morris Architects’ moveable structure, commissioned through the Art for Places programme, makes its home on the waterside.

“It was brill!” Amy Quinn, Peel Road, Bootle “Was something really different for the area. Really enjoyed it.” Michael Skelly, Beech Grove, Seaforth


Walks, Talks and Events Artist Sacha Waldron compiled a programme of walks, talks and events along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to explore its natural heritage and habitat, and its potential as a leisure resource. This included Mark Bennett & The Orgonite Trial, Canal Bird Walks, North West Sound Archive recording day, Cycling tours, Canal History days and much more.


The Cut Newspaper Liverpool Biennial published two 32 page issues of a newspaper, The Cut, to document and publicise activity taking place along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. These were published in July and September 2009 with 20,000 copies of each distributed to households in Bootle, Litherland, Seaforth and Kirkdale.


The Sefton Art for Places commission The Art for Places programme works with communities in the Housing Market Renewal areas of Sefton, Wirral and Liverpool to create aspirational spaces that reflect the identity and life of a particular place or community. For Sefton the commission brief, with the working title ‘Waterworks’, emerged from the research work outlined within this report. In brief the commission sought to create a landmark moveable structure that would enable environmental and watersports activity to take place on vacant sites along the canal stretch through South Sefton. A local steering group launched an international design competition for the project during 2009, and shortlisted five proposals from the 65 entries received from architect practices and urban designers from across the world.


The Runners-up:

The Antillia Collective, Edinburgh

Nex Architecture, London

Bianchini e Lusiardi Architetti Associati, Cremona

Studio KAH, Bath


The Winner

Duggan Morris, London London architects firm Duggan Morris won the international design competition with their design for a moveable structure on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Their design of a canoeist’s profile in full motion, which opens out with jetties, won over the judges in the competition with its scalability, self-sufficiency and sustainability. Funds are now being sought to turn the design into a reality; once built the waterworks hub will provide a focal point for watersports and environmental activities in the heart of the Bootle community.


Urbanism 09 Liverpool Biennial presented Urbanism 09 from 16 to 20 September 2009: five days of exhibition, exploration, discussion and celebration along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, stretching through South Sefton and North Liverpool; a vital green/blue lung in what many mistakenly perceive as an urban wasteland. Urbanism 09 presented new commissions by international artists and architects invited to respond to the canal over the past year as well as the five shortlisted designs for the Sefton Art for Places commission. The route of the event ran from St Winefride’s & St Richard’s School on the canalside in Bootle to Bank Hall in Liverpool. Following in the footsteps of Utopians before them, the school building was transformed by architects Raumlabor, artist Kerry Morrison and food activists Squash Nutrition into an urban Arcadia, while artist Danilo Capasso presented Portoallegro on the canalside at Bank Hall. UP Projects worked in partnership with Liverpool Biennial, commissioning Public Works’ Canal Club and presenting Rob Sweere’s Silent Sky Project, Ben Parry’s Terminus and MOTH projections.


Urbanism 09 Visitors travelled from the Promising Land to Portoallegro during Propositions for the Happy City on 17 September 2009, to examine real case studies of creating positive spaces. They talked to the bees, talked to the sky, drank tea in the floating Tea House, painted in the floating studio, made chutney in the Squash vegetable garden, steered a swan pedalo down the canal and made plans for the Happy City - with David Bade, Ben Parry, Kerry Morrison, Squash Nutrition, Raumlabor, Maciej Kurak, Danilo Capasso, Muf Architecture, Public Works and Rob Sweere.


Urbanism 09 The How to Design a Happy City conference on 18 September 2009, in association with Places Matter!, explored alternative ways of planning and redesigning our cities and neighbourhoods, starting with the premise of not simply providing more houses but improving the quality of the spaces between them and the wellbeing of their inhabitants. Chaired by Martin Stockley, Chair of the Places Matter! Northwest Design Review Panel, speakers included Pete Halsall (CEO of developers Bio-Regional Quintain), Joost Beunderman (Research Associate at Demos), Ian McArthur (Regional Director of Groundwork) and Michael Palwyn of Exploration Architecture.


Urbanism 09 On Saturday 19 Septmber, attendees had the unique opportunity to speak to artist Rick Lowe who founded Project Row Houses, an inspirational programme that reclaimed twenty two houses in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Houston, Texas, transforming them into galleries, workshop spaces, offices and supported housing for single mothers.

“The relevance of Rick Lowe’s work in the U.S. to the regeneration context here could not be more fitting. It was great to have him here and to hear first hand about his approaches and experience.” Paul Kelly, HMR Public Realm Project Manager. 24

The Canal Parade The boats that were created over the summer by artists and residents were joined by a flotilla of narrowboats from near and far in a celebration of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal from Bootle through to Bank Hall. The waterborne parade, which included an upturned Black Cab and a floating Mint Teahouse, gave a whole new meaning to the traditional processional ‘float’. The event took place in the evening of 19 September 2009.

“I couldn’t believe what I was looking at half the time, the floating skip was great.” Barbara Rouse, Bootle Resident “The parade was really marvellous. It reminded me of the old parades through Bootle years ago.” Cllr Doreen Kerrigan


The Canal Parade

“The Beatlife Drummers at the front of the Pride of Sefton boat brought them out of their houses to watch the event. This is how the canal should be – full of people” David Flynn, Chair of the Pride of Sefton. 26

Highlights in the local community: 135 people took part in Kerry Morrison’s planting weekend and her residency resulted in 20 local people being trained as bee-keepers and 10 litter bins being installed along the canal. International artist David Bade painted portraits of 85 local residents and an installation of the paintings was a significant factor in the installation of new lighting in Seaforth & Litherland train station. More than 1000 people took part in watersports events on the canal over the summer, including 7 young women from the Klondyke area who received British Canoeing Union Certificates. All of those asked said they would like to see more activity of this kind on the canal in the future. 12 young people from the Seaforth Youth Forum had the unique opportunity to work alongside international artist Lambert Kamps as he produced his Canal Taxi. Over 100 people attended events and food surgeries held by Squash Nutrition, encouraging people to grow their own produce and eat healthily and creatively.


The Future The Canal Parade will become an annual event that grows each year. Plans are afoot as we write. Duggan Morris’ watersports and environmental hub will be launched on the St. Winefrides and St. Richards school site. Beehives will continue to thrive along the canal, with Sefton Honey produced for all to enjoy. More food growing will sprout across vacant and disused land. Squash Nutrition will lead the charge. Boat building will become a new skill amongst young people in the area, with new crafts seen floating along the canal. More activity along the canal will continue to make it a safe and pleasant place to be. For further information contact: Paul Kelly at


Liverpool Biennial and all the Artists would like to thank: Asia Maldachowska, Max Skorwider, Kuba Szreder, Craig Mcchesney, Rotunda College, Vera Boggan at Atlantic Corner Hotel, Pride of Sefton (particularly Barbara Hardwick, Dave Flynn, John Kelly), Sefton Council HMR team (especially Tom Clay, Lee Payne), Kerry Connon and her team at Sefton Council’s Environmental Protection Department, Morrison plc, Seaforth Residents Action Group, South Seaforth Residents Group, John Furlong’s Art Group at the Expect Centre, Seaforth, SING, Crosby Housing Association / Maritime Housing especially Mandy Elliott & Claire Lomas, Lorraine’s Florists, Merseytravel and staff at Seaforth & Litherland Station, Cllr Gordon Friel, Cllr Doreen Kerrigan, LinacreOne (especially Chris Sullivan), Linacre Mission, Riverside Housing, especially Nick Stephenson, St. Leonards Youth Club, Brunswick Youth Club, Plus Dane Housing, Gregory Gurner, Andy Foulds, Sara Smith, Graham Parry, Chris Cameron, Liver Boat Company, Barry’s Skips, Cosmopolitan Housing, Queens Bedford Residents Advisory Group, Queens Community Centre, Bedford Community Centre, Stephanie Roberts and Chris Richardson at Breathe+, YKids, Commodore Bill Cheatham and all at Mersey Motor Boat Club, Dave Webster and boat builders, Bulky Bobs, Phil Moore and Alf Draper at the Yellow Duckmarine, Peter Woolley (and all of the very welcoming history group), National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port, SpotMix Ltd, the Beekeepers and Margaret Murdin the Bee Mentor, David Ellis at Local Solutions, Cycle Solutions, all the volunteers at St Winnie’s, a big thank you to Steve Higham, Steve Bergquist, Alan Carter and all at British Waterways, and all the individuals that walked, talked, gardened and cycled through the year.

Photographs by Franny George, Bernie Howden and Alex Wolkowicz. Design by Sean Hawkridge.


About Liverpool Biennial: Established in 1998, Liverpool Biennial is a leading public art agency as well as the UK’s largest and most widely reviewed festival of contemporary visual art. It contributed significantly to Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008 with a programme of public art commissions and Liverpool Biennial 2008, which attracted over 450,000 visitors. Since 2002, Liverpool Biennial has focused on commissioning new work from leading and emerging international artists. The Liverpool Biennial 2008 festival of contemporary visual art was presented by Liverpool Biennial, with the Walker Art Gallery (National Museums Liverpool), John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, and New Contemporaries at Greenland Street (A Foundation). It also involved many smaller city centre galleries and alternative spaces. | | +44(0)151 709 7444

About Art for Places: Art For Places is part of the Arts Council’s north west regionwide programme that aims to share the vision, values and practicalities of using the arts to support sustainable regeneration across Housing Market Renewal areas and inspire others to use creativity as a regeneration tool. The project is run by Liverpool Biennial, supported by NewHeartlands (Merseyside’s Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder) and Arts Council England, North West in collaboration with the three local authorities of Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral.


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The Canal Programme presentation  

Presenting a summer of activity on the Leeds-Liverpool canal by Liverpool Biennial and partners.

The Canal Programme presentation  

Presenting a summer of activity on the Leeds-Liverpool canal by Liverpool Biennial and partners.