ROCK Liverpool hosted partner cities along with Eurocities and ICLEI for the ROCK study visit 3-6 June 2019. The purpose was to exchange knowledge and share practices among the ROCK cities on two focus: sustainability in terms of environment, adaptive reuse and greening of the city, and sustainable financing and business models for cultural heritage. Therefore the visit included an overview of adaptive reuse cases as well as Liverpool funding mechanisms and European Commission support. Furthermore, inclusive growth approaches supporting Cultural Heritage linked to Innovation (Regional Economic Strategy linked to RIS3 and Capital of Culture 2008) were presented.
The tour commenced with an overview of the World Heritage Site and governance with WHS Steering Group member Sue Grindrod and Secretariate Lesley Woodbridge, hosted with the Royal Institute of Architecture North Galley (home of the Liverpool 3D model).
The Culture Team presented an overview of Cultural Governance mechanisms and large scale events including legacies of the city European Capital of Culture, LARC (Liverpool Arts and Regeneration Consortium) and the Kool networks (Kreative Organisations of Liverpool). This was followed by a welcome at The Bluecoat, by Chief Executive Mary Cloake. Bluecoat is a Grade I listed arts complex in the centre of Liverpool (the oldest building in the city centre) housing multiple arts, crafts, cultural & creative industries (CCI) businesses, a third sector meeting place, a garden and a café. The visiting group was also lucky enough to be toured by longstanding visual arts curator, Director and LARC representative Brian Biggs.
A tour of the Cultural Quarter included visits to National Museums Liverpool modern ERDF funded World Museum, followed by a tour of award winning (private finance initiative) Central Library, a blended open meeting space which combines historical Picton Reading room, alongside community focused learning, meeting and business space. (The City Council hosts business enterprise activity, children’s making and coding, along with the British Library Network Intellectual Property Business Centre and cafe all within the same building).
At the end of this first day the group were welcomed at St Georges Civic Hall by Deputy Mayor for Culture, Tourism and Events Wendy Simon and Director of Culture Claire McColgan. Here the group networked with members of SC5 Urban Green Up, City Innovation Network, 5G Health specialists, sustainability, digital e-health and immersive tech clusters.
Day 2 included a welcome to Baltic Triangle and Campus ‘The Shed’ from Suzanne Jameson, who explained the evolution of innovation support since 2005 using ‘strategically co-financed’ Regional / European Sustainability, Digital and Creative programmes before introducing LCC partner Stephen Sykes from Liverpool 2030 Hub (the United Nations Northern B Corp) to outline the origins of ERDF funded sustainabilty programmes and the work of the hub. This was followed by an overview of Culture Liverpool NPO Arts Council Sustainablity monitoring using ROCK partner Julie´s Bicycle´s Green Tool.
The group were toured around the ‘Triangle’ area viewing Baltic workspaces of Elevator, Northern Lights (Maker Space) and the original and first Baltic campus before meeting International Music Company Sentric, Digital and Creative Skills Agent Academy, and members of Liverpool Enterprise Partnership Digital and Creative and Innovation Boards.
Mark Lawler from Baltic CIC and Baltic Triangle Resident CIC explained in detail the organic evolution of Baltic CIC from RDA / ERDF funded incorporation, working in partnership with Liverpool City Council to its current self-sustaining propety lead CIC (Community Interest Company) funded model. He also explained the structure of Baltic CIC’s governance boards, funding mechanisms and future strategic aspirations.
On their departure ROCK delegation enjoyed Q&A with Deputy Mayor Gary Millar, who explained his previous career in Creative Industries and his direct involvement in work supporting business growth, heritage and investment.