Continuing Professional Development

At the core of the Heart of Glass programme is the support and development of artist practice in St Helens. Part of this support is delivered through a series of Continuing Professional Development workshops run by leading professionals from across varying fields aimed at arts professionals, artists and communities living in St Helens.

The programme will run throughout the year covering a range of topics from what does it mean to work collaboratively, how to reach new audiences, how to evaluate and reflect on your work, how to raise funds as well as talks by visiting artists.

We will also be developing networking opportunities and inviting local, national and international thinkers and doers to share provocations with us designed to challenge and inspire over the course of the programme.  If you are interested in talking to us about professional development opportunities please contact a member of the Heart of Glass team. For upcoming opportunities please visit the What’s On section.

Get Out!

Our Get Out! programme is a chance for St.Helens Artists, Producers and Communities to visit projects and initiatives locally and nationally. The Get Out! programme is about building networks and developing thinking. You may be interested in a specific project in another part of the country that you feel could resonate with St.Helens, or you may wish to see a specific work that will inspire you in your own projects.  The Heart of Glass team will be curating Get Out! opportunities throughout the year based on our conversations with communities and partners locally. To see the latest opportunities, please visit the What’s On section of the website.

With the past in front of me I walk backwards into the future…

Heart of Glass is delighted to be working with Producer Rachel Anderson on a new collaborative project which will begin development in 2015.
By uncovering the stories of the women of St Helen’s, we remember the things we’ve forgotten.  All of us whether we knew our parents or not have 16,384 ancestors if we go back just fourteen generations. Some of these ancestors hold the key to the things we don’t understand in ourselves today.
Beginning in September 2015 all women, young and old are invited to join us in uncovering the forgotten stories of our community. We will start the journey with a series of genealogy workshops held across a number of St Helen’s libraries, and from there we will explore other ways to unearth the secrets and characters that formed the streets we live in.
Working and researching together over a year this project will culminate in a new theatre work in late 2016.  To express an interest in the project, please email 
For more information about Rachel Anderson, please visit


Michelle Wren – Research and Development

Local artist Michelle Wren is developing a research project in the town to identify the true spirit of the town, challenging working class sterotypes and building a contemporary picture of the fabric of the town and its people in a post-industrial landscape. She will engage with people from across the different communities and boroughs of the town, looking at the industrial heritage, the impact of deindustrialization, its retail led regeneration and discover what creates a sense of community pride in the town in 2015. Michelle aims to turn this research into site specific works later in 2015.

Michelle is an artist from St Helens whose work focuses on creating a commentary through visual narratives about the current political or social climates of the area she is working within. She takes inspiration from the place and use the stories of its people to create work that inspires positive social change within a community.

Out of St Helens Comes Light

Prototype Projects: Round 1 and 2

Prototype Projects is an exciting programme of small and ambitious art projects and an opportunity to support ideas and projects developed by artists and the local creative community in St Helens. Projects supported under this strand of work must:

Encourage new people to take part in the arts 

Raise ambition for local artists or creative groups

Develop skills and artistic practice

Demonstrate a clear idea that is feasible and achievable

In advance of each call for proposals we hold three ‘Development Clinics’ in which those interested can explore and develop their ideas with a member of the Heart of Glass team. A commissioning panel made up of two local community representatives, a local arts professional and a national arts professional review submissions and commission a number of successful projects each round. The make up of this panel changes round on round.

Currently we have supported 19 projects (listed below) – keep an eye on the website and social media for individual updates on these projects.


The Loungs

A local band called The Loungs have already achieved some popular success nationally, would like to collaborate with a whole range of different musicians from St Helens. They are hoping to work with local Brass Bands, Choirs and Sinfonietta in the recording of their third album.

Jonathan Parker

A documentation and anecdotal evidence of conversations made on train journeys. Whistleblower will be performed to audiences through choir members at The World of Glass.

The Cowley Singers

The Cowley Singers are hoping to be inspired by The King’s Singers, a cappella vocal ensemble. The Kings Singers will run a local workshop. The Cowley Singers have targeted an increase in new members through the workshop with one of the world’s most celebrated vocal ensembles.

On Reserve | Kevin Crooks

Artist Kevin Crooks is working on a project called On Reserve that will connect with the experiences of Veterans. A trained photography, Kevin plans to connect with local and regional veterans in a unique collaboration that will culminate in an exhibition of work at the World of Glass from 26 September – 13 November 2015. Visit his website.

Vox Voices

Vox Voices are bringing flash mob choir to the streets of St Helens. To keep the element of surprise up their sleeves the group are closely guarding details of their performances, which are set to take place in the town centre this summer.

Art Club of St Helens and Paint Pots Arts Group

The groups’ members will visit the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to see John Moores painting prize before selecting a contemporary painter to run a workshop with them.

Haydock Band

The band are digging into their archives and are commissioning a contemporary musician or composer to make a new piece of work in response to their music. It’s hoped that this is the beginning of a major project with Brass Bands in the town.

UC Crew [R&D]

The Break Dance cultured community group are hoping to add another string to their bow with workshops for hip-hop theatre. The workshops will see an industry leading theatre company come to St Helens.

Angela Wilkinson [R&D]

Commercial photographer Angela, who specialises in producing high quality product and creative still life images, has received support to develop St Helen’s Churches digital photography walks and workshops.


Michelle Wren

Artist Michelle Wren will collaborate with Bradford based filmmaker Jack King on a new film production working with young people from St.Helens. The short film will consider pivotal moments in adolescence, the need for acceptance and the pressure to ‘fit-in’. Upon completion the film will be screened in St.Helens.

Jane Barwood

Artist Jane Barwood will create an innovative immersive public art installation linked to St Helens industrial heritage. Over the course of the work Jane will be examining industrial buildings, past and present, and what they mean in social terms, as well as collaborating with local people to share memories and photos of their personal connections to the town’s industries, bringing a unique artwork to life.

The Beauty Of A Creative Space | Yellow Door Artists
Naoise Johnson-Martin and Rhyannon Parry

The Beauty Of A Creative Space aims to utilise one of the empty shops in the town centre and open it up as a ‘creative space’ for a period of time, inviting local artists to use the space as a studio as part of an artist residency programme, run drop in artist workshops and finish with a big exhibition of all artwork created within the space.

Extemporise | Mark Peel

Musician Mark Peel will stage an improvised music session called Extemporise in a St.Helens Central Library, running over a 5 hour duration. He will be connecting with other musicians to create something truly unique and collaborative. Read more about his experience.

When the Pit Closed… | Alan Smith

2016 marks 25 years since the closure of Sutton Manor Colliery. Photojournalist Alan Smith has produced a series of black & white photographic portraits each with stories charting the life of ten ex-miners called When the Pit Closed… The body of work was exhibited at the World of Glass from 16 January – 18 March 2016 and included a musical score commissioned to reflect the stories and portraits. Visit his website.

Camera Obscura Shed | Lisa Barry

Artist Lisa Barry will create a walk-in Camera Obscura Shed, which has an optical device (a mirror & lens) on it’s roof that records and projects images of it’s surroundings from within. Her aim is to invite members of the public to learn more about the simple principles of photography and allow people to experience the camera obscura .

Hannah Bold

Artist Hannah Bold will create a new work based on the ideas of home working with local St.Helens communities. Through her work Hannah will blend art with philosophical questions and sociological ideas and concepts, with the results displayed in a manner appropriate to the conclusions and ideas discovered throughout the process.

Marina Berg [R&D]

Marina Berg will conduct research with the St.Helens Market Community, exploring how they might collaborate to create new work together. Marina is interested in unique local stories, and ways to capture the unique voice of St.Helens citizens.

Narratives and Meaningful Objects | Nicola A. Bibby [R&D]

Artist Nicola A. Bibby will conduct research related to photography and working within the context of arts and older generations. With a view to capturing portraits of older residents from St Helens, Nicola will invite people to share a memory, a story, or ask them to show her a sentimental object,which has a meaningful attachment to them. Narratives and Meaningful Objects will be exhibited at the World of Glass from Thursday 31st March – Thursday 28th April 2016.

Paula & Piotr Pietrzak [R&D]

Researching ways to develop a furniture design workshop programme with members of the Disability Community.

For more information about Prototype Projects click here.

Silent Night / ‘And, on that note’

Langtree Park, home of the St.Helens R.F.C. hosted an evening of musical reflection and visual art in an event linked to the anniversary of the World War 1 Christmas Truce of 1914 titled Silent Night / ‘And, on that note’.  Produced by Heart of Glass in collaboration with Saints Community Development Foundation and St.Helens Music Service, the evening was symbolic of our desire to create unique arts experiences by fusing disciplines and initiating collaborations; making bold new work.

The much written about ‘truce’, a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires, took place along the Western Front throughout the weeks before Christmas 1914.  This act of collective solidarity against a backdrop of conflict and tragedy inspired a special evening of events when for one evening we brought together school, church and community choirs from across the borough, forming a mass choir of some 500+ local singers to perform a specially selected series of hymns and Christmas classics backed by a local brass band.

Artist Rhona Byrne created a visual intervention for the evening combining the choral voices with sculpture, performance, and audience participation. Her work,  ‘And, on that note’ considered moments of transition, states of uncertainty, in between private thought and public behaviour. Locally based artists, volunteers and students from St. Helens College and Carmel College collaborated with Rhona in the making of the event.

A Moving threshold, a fabric sculpture for which performers provided a flexible frame, greeted the audience as they entered the Arena. The choir reformed as an Emotional Choir with a series of experimental choral interludes exploring laughter and obsession. A carpeted Landmass sat still in the darkness of the arena’s pitch until it rumbled and fell apart. A mass of Moving Sculptures of boulders and black clouds negotiated the terrain.

The works in ‘And, on that note’ represented individual and collective endurance – the patterns within the moments of exertion where action, feeling and meaning become one. Each element considered the ‘self’ during moments of human interaction and gathering, reflecting on the desires and tensions between isolation, connection and unity that this presents.

For more information about Artist Rhona Byrne visit

Make It Happen – Young People’s Commission

Heart of Glass in partnership with Helena Housing have commissioned FACT (Foundation for Art + Creative Technology) to develop a project with Young People from Helena Housings Make It Happen project.

The Make it Happen project was launched in April 2012 following a successful funding bid by Helena Housing to Reaching Communities, part of the Big Lottery Fund. Now in Year 3, the project seeks to engage local young people in opportunities in Thatto Heath, Four Acre, Parr and Fingerpost.

Young People from the group are working with FACT’s Freehand programme to design a brief and commission an artist to work with young people in the identified areas over a period to time to produce new work together. FACT are working initially with the Make It Happen Young People’s Steering Group to design the brief and manage the commissioning process. It is then anticipated that the selected artist(s) will work with a wider group of Young People and that the project outcomes will meet a wider public.

The call for proposals is now live, you can see further details by clicking here 

Family Art Club

Family Art Club on-going 


Family Art Club, in which artists share their skills with children and their relatives in interactive workshops on Saturdays at St.Mary’s Market, continues to go from strength to strength.

The FREE workshop programme has now attracted more that 1000+ participants and is curated and produced by Platform Artist Studios, with 30+ artists and assistants contributing to sessions thus far.

The full programme for the 2015 Family Art Club has been announced, please visit the What’s On for details of the next session.

For more information about Platform Artist Studios please visit their website.


Summer Streets


On July 31st and August 1st and 2nd, St Helen’s Town Centre was brought to life with street performance, circus and contemporary dance.

Merseyside Dance Initiative worked Heart of Glass Project, The Citadel Arts Centre and St Helen’s Council to bring a vibrant and exciting international dance programme to the town as City Steps met St Helen’s Summer Streets Festival 2014.

The dance programme ran across the three days and includes stage and strolling performances on Church Street as well as site specific pieces in partnership with Tyrer’s Department Store on Bridge Street. Gary Clarke, one of the UK’s leading choreographers, also lead a residency with a group of dancers from St Helen’s to create a specially commissioned new work for the festival.

Dance Companies and artists included:

Axial Dance – Manchester
Company Chameleon – Manchester
The Jiving Lindy Hoppers – Southport
Stopgap – Farnham
Ballet Nimba – Guinea / Cardiff
Nicoletta Cabassi and Simona Lisi – Italy
Kali Chandrarasegaram – London
China Pearl – Liverpool
Growing Older (Dis)gracefully – Liverpool
Taciturn – Liverpool
Gary Clarke – Leeds

With workshops led by:

Polly Scott – Liverpool
Lamin Dumbuya – Sierra Leone / Liverpool