Liverpool: In England, But Not Of It?
Much of the outside of Liverpool Lime Street train station is clad with art work celebrating the UK’s choice of the city as European Capital of Culture 2008. So what should we make of the cladding’s message, that Liverpool is ‘In England, but not of it?’
The idea of covering ugly and unused buildings with celebratory artwork is excellent.
Lime Street, as Liverpool’s railway terminus, epitomises our ‘Gateway to the World city‘ (as Liverpool’s ports did and, commercially, still do). It is therefore fitting that visitors in 2008, our year as European Capital of Culture, be greeted on arrival with vibrant images reflecting Liverpool’s arts and cultural offer – an offer which draws on the traditions and experience of centuries of migration to Liverpool, with people arriving from across the globe:
But what are we to make of the claim, as part of this greeting, that Liverpool, whilst still ‘Gateway to the World’, is also ‘In England, but not of it’?
How can we, the people of this historic port, expect to progress and prosper, if we choose consistently not just to be ‘on the edge’ of Britain, but so it seems actually over that edge, in another place altogether?
What sort of civic identity and message does that give to our own fellow citizens?
And, critically, what does it say to those in the rest of the country with whom we must do business and confer on many issues, if Liverpool is to move forward successfully in the twenty-first century?
Read more articles on Strategic Liverpool
and on Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008.
More photographs: Camera & Calendar