Pier Head
Liverpool, UK - February 3, 2015: Liverpool Pier Head at dusk. Significant buildings from left to right include the Museum of Liverpool, the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the Mann Island Development.

BLOG: Finding Our Voice on the Waterfront

Mark Bousfield, Liverpool City Council’s Director of Regeneration and Economy, reflects on today’s Government announcement that there will be a £22 million culture boost for the city which is set to transform the waterfront and ensure Liverpool continues to thrive under its proud title of UNESCO City of Music.

Liverpool’s waterfront is having a good week. The Government has today announced up to £20m investment in National Museums Liverpool and the Tate on the Albert Dock and up to £2m to develop ‘The Pool’, our future-focused celebration of the Beatles and the city’s creative talent.

Money is always welcome. It is the way this money has arrived that is most exciting – by being compelling about our place in the world – and by collaborating openly.

Liverpool is good at museums: we have the first, second and fourth most visited museums outside London (guess for yourself!). What we sometimes forget is the raw talent that we also have in the sector, in this case represented by Helen Legg at Tate Liverpool and Laura Pye at National Museums Liverpool. Their project will recast the Maritime Museum, the Tate and complete the long cordoned-off Canning Docks. These are slave trade infrastructure whose re-presentation is subject to a national design competition, watched over by the country’s first black, female city mayor.

Liverpool has the cultural acuity, the insight necessary, both to interpret its mercantile past for the world and to address the continuing inequalities our minority communities face now. The timing is right and speaks directly to our sense of self.

The Pool starts with our fixed aim to celebrate the Beatles’ history for the future. Government’s £2m contribution will help us start with a global treasure trove, and wrap around it the city’s musical future, with LIPA, the Phil and others sharing a new place on Canning Place.

The best heritage we can offer a gang of musical innovators is excitement about our new talent.

This happens by being openly collaborative. Those of you who heard Mayor Joanne, Chief Executive Tony Reeves or me speak at the recent Developers Forum event heard us talk with determination about addressing inequalities, co-designing with our communities, focusing on our strengths and facilitating for our partners.

Both these projects embody that spirit (and Director of Culture’s Claire McColgan’s everyday magic). They come from our cultural partners, the combined authority and the council, local advisors and late night/early morning calls with defty civil servants.

Regeneration is about the future. When you walk around our waterfront this week and you stand under the lights designed by some of the best light artists in the world, think about the future and what this place will look like and feel like for the next generation of creative innovators.

Liverpool Waterfront