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L8: more than just a state of mind

22 May 2015 by Andrew

Download the Blippar app and get more out of L8 Unseen

Download the Blippar app and get more out of L8 Unseen

Marc Boothe of B3 Media, producer and curator of L8 Unseen which is on display at the Museum of Liverpool, reflects on the creation of the exhibition:

““L8 is a state of mind.” Local historian Laurence Westgaph’s phrase is one I’ve heard repeatedly since starting to curate and produce L8 Unseen.

It’s a hook, a riff that I couldn’t get out of my head. Simple enough to understand but raising more questions than answers. What makes a community? What gels people together for generations? Where can we find the characters and stories making those connections? Why should they matter to anyone outside L8?

Starting in February, we interviewed, filmed and took photographic portraits of L8 people – people who had grown up, lived, worked in the area. We had just 16 weeks to complete all the portraits (including 20 large-scale prints), film and edit 40 oral histories, create interactive links for a smartphone app, develop and install a website and interactive kiosk.

But the biggest challenge was to gain the trust of a tight-knit and protective community. Born and bred in Brixton, hundreds of miles south, I was an outsider. The community was not that different from the one I grew up in – Sus laws, riots, activism, music, energy, openness, sharing, curiosity and warmth – but L8 has an extra swagger of pride and resilience.

It has stories – from a multi-cultural community about to be massively transformed. In ten years parts of L8 will be unrecognisable or no longer exist. Jobs might come with the investment but so will increased property prices and rents; social and youth services hollowed out; people and community displaced. As the developers, councils and landlords play their game of Monopoly, those most at risk are least able to play the game or even tilt the playing board. L8 Unseen is channeling Liverpool 8’s past, present and future, providing a rare glimpse of a community spirit that refuses to die.

The project has so far attracted little national media coverage – but the response to L8 Unseen has been astounding with over 60,000 visitors in just over a month. Word of mouth at community level has brought people in to make discoveries. Like Vivian Walcott, who came to the exhibition with her daughter, finding a black and white portrait of herself taken at a street party over 30 years ago.

And many other stories. Ann Lopez, mother of 5 children and 20 grandchildren, at the age of 40 went back to college to finish her O and A levels. Listen how she talks powerfully about how she discovered her voice as a poet.

Cherise Smith represents the future of L8. In her early 20’s, she has been part of the Tiber young people steering group since schooldays. She recently joined the board of directors of this social enterprise hub and is playing a key role in the development of her local area. Cherise was voted joint Female Achiever of the Year at The Black Achievers Awards, Liverpool (2013).

L8 Unseen has profoundly changed my understanding of the transformative power of stories. As a storyteller I now have evidence that, when shared, they empower and make a difference.

L8 is more than just a state of mind. It’s a sense of identity and pride and resilience; and it’s a community which has over time had its heart ripped out, broken and scattered. But which picks itself up, licks its wounds, re-groups and gets on with business. I came away with a strong sense that the L8 community is tougher and more resilient than we ‘outsiders’ can understand. Fragile and malleable; yet tough as graphene.

I hope you get to see L8 Unseen before it closes on 6 September.”

Father and son lost in the Lusitania sinking

1 May 2015 by Ellie

old portrait photo

Mary Griffin, the eldest child of Michael Cooney senior and sister of Michael Cooney junior. Image courtesy of Joyce Percival

On 7 May we will mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania when 1,191 men, women and children lost their lives.

Our new exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy remembers those people and highlights the strong ties between the ship, her crew, and Liverpool.

Whilst working on the exhibition I have been fortunate to become acquainted with many Lusitania relatives, and Joyce Percival has kindly agreed to share her family story with us:

“My great grandfather Michael Cooney was born in Liverpool to Irish immigrants Peter and Margaret Cooney from Limerick. Michael and his son, also called Michael, were both killed when the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 off the coast of Ireland. Read more…

Spotted! That’s me in the photo – 30 years on

20 April 2015 by Kay

two women in front of a huge photo

Vivian with her daughter in front of the photograph of her (right)

Vivian Walcott was recently very surprised to see herself as a 10 year old in the L8 Unseen exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool – especially as she doesn’t remember the event or the photograph being taken!

The picture, of a street party for the L8 Mandela Freedom Festival in 1988, shows Vivian with her friend, Tito Cooper.

She lived in Magdela Street at the time – where her mum, a well-known member of the community still lives, and fondly remembers the tight knit L8 community growing up. Read more…

Private tours of conservation studio this members’ month

3 April 2015 by Sarah Houghton

Paintings conservator at work in the studioDid you know that there are 3250 paintings in our collections which are all looked after by our paintings conservation department?  This year during members’ month in May, our members can immerse themselves into this fascinating world of paintings conservation and enjoy a private tour of the studio, something that isn’t available to the general public. Read more…

L8 Create – tell us your Liverpool 8 stories!

1 April 2015 by Sam

two men by a wall of photgraphs and social media comments

Othello De’Souza-Hartley and Marc Boothe in the L8 Create area of the L8 Unseen exhibition

Opening on Friday 3 April at the Museum of Liverpool, the L8 Unseen exhibition reveals the stories and experiences of a diverse range of people from the Liverpool 8 community. The exhibition aims to uncover the spirit and heritage of the area through filmed interviews and striking large-scale photographs taken by renowned photographer Othello De’Souza-Hartley. Read more…

21st century design inspired by the past

19 March 2015 by Lisa

Porcelain letters with screen printed phrases

Porcelain envelopes with screen printed phrases by Faye Johnson.

A new display by design students from Liverpool Hope University has just gone on display at the Walker Art Gallery. ‘Back to the Future’ is a display of new work created by the students as a response to historic pieces in the collections of the Walker Art Gallery.  Read more…

The Old Dock – Liverpool’s amazing hidden monument

5 March 2015 by Sam

Old Dock senior tour guide Yazz

Along with the Old Dock, Yazz’s hair has become one of the must-see sights of Liverpool

Over the last five years thousands of visitors have enjoyed our free tours of Liverpool’s Old Dock – which are regularly voted one of the top things to do in the city on Tripadvisor.

Yazz, one of our visitor hosts who know the Old Dock best, explains why this fascinating piece of history has such enduring appeal: Read more…

Chinese travelling shrine

2 March 2015 by Tracey

Chinese shrine being cleaned.I have just started getting this intriguing object ready to go out on loan. This shrine is from Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, and is of a type typically used on junks by Chinese seafarers in the 18th century.  Read more…

International Women’s Day – Bessie Braddock

2 March 2015 by Kay

portrait photo of Bessie Braddock

Bessie Braddock, MP (1899-1970)

International Women’s Day, 8 March, celebrates women’s achievements, so this week on the blog we are looking at a couple of inspiring Liverpool women who are represented in the Museum of Liverpool. There are also free special events taking place on Sunday to mark the day.

Bessie Braddock was MP for Liverpool Exchange from 1945-70. She was an outspoken campaigner for better health, housing and education for the poor.  She rejected a ministerial post because, like her husband Council Leader Jack Braddock, she preferred to remain locally-focused and be a fierce advocate for her home city. Read more…

Global Scouse Day 28 February

27 February 2015 by Stacey

Image of a bowl of Scouse

We’ll be serving Scouse on Global Scouse Day – veggie options available too!

Ben Sheeran, our Head Chef is excited to talk about Global Scouse Day and the importance of this great local dish:

“I blogged last year about Global Scouse Day and it’s great to see the momentum this time around with lots of restaurants and cafes getting behind our most famous local dish. We all have favourite memories of Scouse whether it’s a family recipe or we’re simply proud of our own personal take on this local speciality. Read more…

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