As the title holders for Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture in 2019, Wirral has delivered an ambitious programme of cultural and sporting events and projects which have engaged hundreds of thousands of people.
These have been designed to promote inclusivity in the arts and to inspire children and young people, whilst attracting new visitors to the borough and showcasing Wirral’s distinct natural assets. The programme has created moments of magic and wonder through specially commissioned outdoor spectacles, visual arts and heritage exhibitions, family festivals and waterfront celebrations, classical and new music events and community projects – all inspired by discovery, exploration and the great outdoors.
The programme was successful in engaging a broad range of people from across the borough and beyond. Over 400,000 people have engaged with Wirral’s Borough of Culture programme through attendance at events and participation in projects.
Wirral’s year as Borough of Culture set out to reach all communities across the area, regardless of age, income or background and inspire civic pride, with a focus on identifying creative ways to engage residents who do not access arts and culture in areas characterised by inequality of income. The programme brought free cultural activities to more deprived areas and built participation through targeted engagement. There has been a clear focus on participation, and there have been numerous opportunities, for communities to come together and co-create work and tell their stories. There have also been opportunities to promote and nurture the work of local creatives through the commissioning of new work for events including River Festival Wirral and River of Light.
This year has been a catalyst for creativity across the borough, the impact of which will continue to be felt for years to come. The opening of a new creative community hub and makerspace (supported by Wirral Council’s Culture and Visitor Economy team), Make Hamilton Square, offers affordable workspace for artists, creatives and makers, alongside regular creative events and workshops and the development of a new community café and garden.
What the judges said:
‘A project focusing on reaching out to all communities to deliver positive outcomes and inspire civic pride. Highly creative and by forming partnerships with a variety of partners, has achieved an excellent impact and met local needs, forming part of Wirral Borough of Culture’s legacy.’
‘It is also fantastic to see that the work throughout the campaign will continue, most notably the new creative community hub and makerspace, Make Hamilton Square.’
Photo credit: Wesley Storey