How a grant from Cornwall Heritage Trust helped celebrate Liskeard’s heritage buildings

As part of the national Heritage Open Days in September, a group of organisations in Liskeard worked together to host Liskeard Unlocked. This was a total of 20 events designed to celebrate Liskeard’s heritage in different ways, and included the opening of buildings not usually accessible by the public, heritage and geological walks around our heritage buildings within the town, skills demonstrations such as bell ringing, talks, family activities, exhibitions and artists workshops.

With the assistance of grants from Cornwall Heritage Trust and Cornwall Community Chest three artists workshops were held. The call to local artists asked them to help celebrate Liskeard’s heritage buildings and look at them in new ways. We asked artists to design a workshop and explain how it fitted the theme.

Local artist Carol Whibley ran ‘Behind Closed Doors’, making hinged doorways from recycled cardboard, then using collage and mixed media to create what would be found inside – this was both literal and abstract.

Another local artist Nicky Harwood ran a family ‘White-line printing’ workshop. This worked from photographs of local buildings, cropping them to find interesting shapes and then using this to create a printing plate. This workshop was repeated at the end of the Liskeard Unlocked weekend, allowing people to use the photographs they had taken while visiting properties for their inspiration.

During Liskeard Unlocked we also staged an exhibition of the work created so far. People enjoyed identifying where the images in the exhibition were taken from, and found that things they walked past everyday they had not really seen before. Many people felt that in future they needed to ‘look up’ and not just concentrate on the ground floor of a building as they pass.

We asked visitors to complete feedback forms and comments included, ‘Liskeard always seemed very humdrum – but not now’, ‘Normally you just see this rather than really SEEING them’ and ‘It has unlocked the mystery of the buildings’. Overwhelmingly, people asked for the event to be repeated next year, and we intend to start planning in January to make it an even bigger and better event, and recruit more volunteers. The groups and organisations enjoyed working together, sharing ideas and resources and as a town we will also build on these relationships to work on other projects.