Writing on the Wall are proud community partners for National Musuems Liverpool (NML) Waterfront Transformation Project. In September 2021 NML announced a major redevelopment of Liverpool’s historic Canning Dock. After a hotly contested competition, they announced the winning team who will lead on the project. The team is a collaboration between Asif Khan Studio and Theaster Gates.
This project will transform the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island, as well as revitalise waterfront facilities, as part of NML’s 10-year Liverpool waterfront redevelopment plan.
The brief responds to the waterfront’s history, which includes exploring new ways to bring the history of the transatlantic slave trade – the slave ships that sailed out of Liverpool were repaired and renovated in between voyages in the Graving Docks on the Canning Dock – and the more recent and contemporary history and uses of the dock, into the public realm through its designs. In doing so, the brief seeks to ensure Liverpool’s Black communities are engaged and represented throughout, and communities across the city.
We are honoured to have been asked, alongside other local organisations Squash Nutrition and Twenty Stories High, to work as part of the winning team to ensure that voice of people across the city, and the experiences of local communities are heard as part of the process.
The planning application has now been submitted and Asif Khan Studio are hoping to receive approval early 2024.
The application is also publicly available through the planning portal, using the below references:
Application (23F/2711) and for the Listed Buildings Consent (23L/2713).
If you have any comments regarding the above documents, you can send them to the case officer directly via Anne-Marie.Piedot@liverpool.gov.uk. This would have a significant positive impact if you could submit a comment of support.
As part of the 2023 festival, we held a guided tour of the Canning Dock to find out about its History and plan’s for redevelopment followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with Architect Asif Khan, Architect Mariam Kamara and Director of National Museums Liverpool Laura Pye.
“The tour and discussion gave me much more understanding of this sacred area” Audience member
In April 2022, WoW along with community partners 20 Stories High and Squash took over the Canning Dock Quayside for an activity-filled day in April 2023.
WoW’s events included Story Boat’s, where families were welcomed on our boats to hear stories from the black Atlantic with artists and writers Claire Beerjeraz, Natalie Denny and Patrick Graham. We hosted a brilliant open mic session with performances from Blue Saint and Dorcas Seb and a pop-up space where people could find out about our the fascinating Dorothy Kuya Archive Project. There were also dace workshops, walking tours and the chance to delve into the history of the site.
This was the first time the Canning Dock has been activated in such a vibrant way and offered a unique opportunity to experiment with the potential of area. It was a great opportunity for members of the local community, to explore the past and be part of imagining the future of the Canning Dock.
“WoW are thrilled to collaborate with world-class architects, artists and community partners, to revitalise the neglected and historic Canning Dock. Canning Dock – From Sunrise to Sunset breathed new life into the area while honouring its significant history. By working with local creatives, WoW showcased its potential and provided an inspiring public space for all to reflection and enrichment.” Madeline Heneghan, WoW Co-Director
Together with National Museums Liverpool, we ran a writing competition in the summer of 2023 to creatively delve into the narratives that have been explored by Liverpool Black History Research Group when researching the historic Canning Dock.
Flash fiction writer Phil Olsen and the Head of the Museum of Liverpool, Liz Stewart, conducted workshops across the Liverpool City Region’s libraries. These sessions provided participants with insights into the rich history of Canning Dock and equipped them with the skills to craft compelling flash fiction pieces for the competition.
With a total of 56 submissions, the standard was high and during Black History Month, we organised a celebratory event featuring guest judge Levi Tafari to announce the winners.
Congratulations are in order for the winner, Dr. Susan Mary Ruben, and the runners-up, Kathy Fazakerley and Angela Cheveau.
A selection of work from all entrants will be proudly displayed on the site hoardings when construction begins next year.
“It was Liverpool at its best – seeing talented people in a beautiful venue. The winner was amazing!” Audience member