Honourable Chancellor, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Tate Liverpool for Corporate Award from Liverpool John Moores University in recognition of their 30th anniversary.
Tate Liverpool, represented this afternoon by Director, Helen Legg, first opened in 1988 as part of the considerable regeneration of the Albert Dock and a highly visible catalyst for change in the city.
Part of a family of three other galleries, Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Tate St Ives, Tate Liverpool is often referred to as the Tate of the North.
It was a bold decision to place a modern art gallery in the centre of a regeneration scheme in what was then one of the most deprived local authorities in the country but from the beginning it has been something of a trailblazer and was an immediate attraction on the iconic city waterfront.
Now thirty years later it’s difficult to imagine the Liverpool arts and cultural scene without Tate at the heart of the action. 18 million people have visited Tate since it opened with thousands more taking part in an eclectic range of activities across the city region.
Liverpool is now the third most popular city tourism destination in the UK and with the Tate the most visited gallery of modern and contemporary art in England outside London it’s clear that the gallery has played a vital role in the renaissance of the city.
The key to the success of the Tate is not only an international reputation for bringing world-class, critically acclaimed exhibitions, projects and talent to the region, it’s the role that the Tate plays in and of the city. The audience is never taken for granted. The team at the Tate work with their audiences to make sure that the art they are developing and showing reflects an authenticity in the lives and experiences of the people of the city and the region.
The approach throughout the organisation is driven by a belief that art can change lives, and that working in collaboration with local communities, with people from all backgrounds and circumstances will ensure that the Tate collection is meaningful and relevant.
As well as the exhibition and displays programme, Tate Liverpool invites the community to work alongside practising artists to nurture talent and bring families, young people and adults into the gallery to devise programmes, explore and make sense of art and even collaborate with international artists and organisations.
Liverpool John Moores University was an early adopter of the Tate – largely thanks to partnerships forged naturally through the Liverpool School of Art and Design. Today, the School has a joint post with the Tate and students are taught at the gallery and participate in the programme.
As well as the obvious links with the Art School, the University has developed a significant partnership with Tate which has helped to build the student audience but also resulted in some inspired events. We have had dance students performing as part of the English National Ballet’s residency at the Tate and as part of wellbeing week, students from across the university participating in yoga sessions in the gallery.
It’s hard to imagine a cultural landscape in Liverpool without the Tate. Over the last thirty years it has been more than a tourist destination, it has devised some of the most creative and ambitious schemes to become part of the fabric of the city – it has achieved its aim of belonging to the people and opening our eyes, our hearts and our minds to fantastic art – we are very lucky to call it our own.
So Chancellor, it is with great personal pleasure – as the original Chair of Tate Liverpool, that I present Helen Legg our Director, to represent Tate Liverpool for the admission of a corporate award from Liverpool John Moores University.