Culture Liverpool’s Alicia Smith is taking on a new challenge, after being promoted to Interim Divisional Manager for Arts, Heritage, Libraries and Participation.
Alicia has been promoted to introduce fresh ideas, a more joined-up approach and a closer working relationship with Arts Council England – which has recently become one of the major funders of libraries across the country.
Having worked for Liverpool City Council for almost two decades, she boasts an impressive track record in commissioning and producing large, world-class, cultural participation programmes.
She’s passionate about bringing creativity to our communities and supporting local people to thrive through the arts. She will bring her ‘visionary and dynamic’ leadership style to the role for the next six months, focussing particularly on our Libraries and Information Services.
Alicia said: “I want Liverpool’s libraries to have the profile they deserve and to be positioned right at the heart of our communities. I want them to be warm, welcoming, inclusive and exciting places for all; offering spaces for learning, fun, imagination and support.
“The service has gone through a tough time, dealing with Covid, cuts to its budget, staff shortages and the loss of many talented and experienced staff over the last few years. They’ve done brilliantly to adapt and survive, but now I want them to truly thrive.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team to reshape what we do, think outside of the box and encourage our staff at all levels and our communities to get involved. I can’t wait!”
On the top of Alicia’s to-do list is a bid for a peer review of the service, through the Local Government Association and Arts Council England. An application was submitted last week.
Alicia said: “If it goes forward, we’ll be throwing the doors of our libraries wide open to a small team of experts, who will provide challenge, share learning and help us to improve the service even further.”
Alicia was part of LCC’s award-winning 2008 European Capital of Culture Bid team, and went on to deliver a range of ground-breaking ‘08 participation projects which were hailed as best practice by the Arts Council and Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Of all the projects she’s worked on, she’s most proud of ‘Portrait of a Nation’ – a national project exploring young people’s identities, and the ‘Sgt Pepper at 50’ celebrations in 2017.
She also led on the participation and education programmes for the city’s three Giant Spectaculars, in 2012, 2014 and 2018. Thousands of local people were involved in the events, as both performers and writers.
A respected national and international advisor on culture programmes, Alicia is a trained dancer and holds a degree in Dance Studies from Liverpool John Moores University.