Sefton – The Atkinson

Welcome to our Festival of Hope Sefton

The Atkinson is Sefton’s home for music, theatre, art, literature and history. Youth Groups and young people from across Sefton have been working in partnership with The Atkinson and our Young Producers to create new and exciting content for Sefton’s Festival of Hope.

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The Atkinson offers an exciting and varied destination for families, cultural tourists and arts enthusiasts alike, with a full day and night time offer.

The centre houses an impressive collection holding over 3,500 artworks and over 25,000 pieces of social history, which are displayed on rotation across their museum and galleries. The regularly changing exhibition programme also presents contemporary art, family friendly and thematic exhibitions delivered in partnership with other cultural organisations. Their stunning Egyptology museum showcases Mrs Goodison’s personal collection in an intimate exhibition and the local history museum, Between Land & Sea, tells the history of Sefton through personal stories.

The Atkinson’s traditional Theatre and dynamic Studio space present an outstanding programme of music, comedy and performing arts from some of the UK’s foremost musicians, actors, performers and companies.

You will find a range of handmade items from local artists, local history information and museum & exhibition souvenirs in The Atkinson’s shop.

The cultural hub is also home to Southport Library and A Great Little Place café.


Butterflies In The Chaos

Young Producers: Sally, Greg, Lisa, Shannon and Max.
Featuring: Laurence Payot
Live at 10am 24th August

Created through a process of image creation, this short film called ‘Butterflies in the Chaos’ gathers the thoughts and feelings of this group of young people and situates them within a generation experiencing a pivotal time in our history; full of environmental and political uncertainties.

Sefton PROJECT 1

During an eight-week period, five Young Leaders – Sally, Greg, Lisa, Max and Shannon – were invited by Laurence Payot to run a series of online workshops for eight young people between 13 and 18 years old. With a focus on creativity, the workshops used everyday objects and settings to create the collaborative video work, against the backdrop of young people’s homes.

During workshops, the Young Leaders drew on The Atkinson’s collection of art and heritage objects as a starting point to explore five themes.

The themes included;

  • the self – in a world full of modern technology they wondered how we might slow down and focus on everyday details;
  • their gaze – exploring views from the windows of young people, considering how artists might guide our gaze towards inner feelings;
  • the future – by looking at Dan Dare ‘The Pilot of the Future’ – from The Eagle comic written in Southport – and his view of a utopian future;
  • still life – through noticing what personal possessions can say about our feelings and daydreams;
  • sound – by learning from the Euphonicon, a 19th century upright piano, to reveal new and hidden sounds around the house.

What has emerged from the group’s reflection is a film that doesn’t pretend to give answers but is a catalyst for conversations with young people. Their voices are interwoven and complex; they guide us through personal thoughts and questions…

How can we act towards a better future? Is the perception of loneliness, of constant ‘busy-ness’, and ‘feeling like a butterfly’, lost in ‘the chaos’ of everyday life, something we can all relate to? Can the voices of young people speak to all of us? Does our voice matter? How do we slow down and notice? How can we see what really matters?

Project blog:

The ‘Butterflies in the Chaos’ project was commissioned by Sefton’s Festival of Hope Young Producer team in April during the first few weeks of lockdown as a response to the global pandemic.

Many thanks to young creatives Matty, Jack H, Ellie, Mason, Jack R, Joel and Alice for taking part and your honesty and creativity.

Thank you to Adam Sloane, the video editor, and Laura Campbell, the sound editor

Songs For Hope

Young Producers: Buddy Up Choir
Featuring: Bernie Whelan
Live at 10am 24th August

The Buddy Up Choir is made up of young people aged 13 to 18 who have additional needs and disabilities and are supported by young volunteers and Staff. The Buddy Up Choir is very inclusive, and they learn singing skills with the emphasis on the enjoyment of their experience together not the perfect pitch destination!  Led by singing tutor Bernie Whelan, the choir is about having fun and improving creativity, health and wellbeing in the community. 



Artist: Lisa Langan
Featuring: Vibe
Live at 10am 24th October

Facilitated by artist Lisa Langan, VIBE’s Climate Crew Eco Club collected and cleaned rubbish from the Leeds/Liverpool canal to create a sculpture of a hand. Lander Road Primary made a balloon housing all the faces of the young people who have taken part in Conquer Life projects and partnered in the Eco Club. They created a sculpture and a film to introduce the work.

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This Is Our Home

Young Producer: Shannon
Live at 10am 24th October

Showcasing a sense of community within Sefton past and present. Allowing young people to look at the history and identity of their own communities and showcase this within the commissioned artwork in a fun and relatable way.

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A house structure displaying two fabric artworks showing present Sefton and the history of Sefton. The completed work will represent ‘Home’ and what that means to the communities of Sefton.

‘Each person’s story of Home is different. Where people feel at home changes, but the feeling of home for me conveys strong emotions. I want to highlight the stories of what young people in Sefton call home. I want to create a piece of art that celebrates the ordinary homes, the unconventional homes and each in between. We all deserve hope, and we all deserve a place to call home.’ – Shannon

A house structure displaying three fabric artworks showing present Sefton and the history of Sefton. The completed work will represent ‘Home’ and what that means to the communities of Sefton.


Map 1 shows:

  • Men and Women in formation inspired by Southport’s involvement in WW2, for example moving children out of the area by train during The Blitz.
  • RAF Woodvale
  • Bomb damage in Bootle, the most bombed area outside of London during The Blitz.
  • Fort Crosby

Map 2 shows:

  • Fashions and life in Sefton during the 1980s.
  • The Docks

Map 3 shows:

  • A celebration of our key workers during lockdown – the postal service, NHS workers at the hospital and supermarket workers.
  • Formby woods with an image representing family today.
  • Rimrose Valley and the hope it will still be here to enjoy as its future is uncertain.

The Skate Paint

Young Producer: Greg
Live at 10am 24th October

Creating a new and exciting artwork to revamp the Skate Park in North Park, Bootle.

The piece will represent hope and heritage influenced by the community who uses the park. The process will be documented and made into a film, screening at The Atkinson, Southport. 

Skate Park Bootle after




Hope Box

Young Producer: Sally
Live at 10am 24th October

Working with groups of young people from Sefton creating paper cuts in various designs that identify Sefton and what makes it special.

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Sustainability As An Artform

Young Producers: Max
Live at 10am 24th October

An exhibition of hand-made models of sustainable community spaces created by young people.

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To Develop young people’s knowledge about sustainability and equip them with the necessary skills to create a sustainability-inspired art exhibition. The models on display will be designs for sustainable outdoor spaces around Sefton and will be made from recycled material.

Newspaper Of Hope

Young Producers: Comics Youth
Live at 10am 24th October

A Newspaper of Hope written by young people for young people and produced with Comics Youth.

Sefton -Project 8 Comics Youth logo

Hope In Our Time

Young Producers: Alchemy Youth Group
Live on 24th October

A short film looking at Southport 20 years ago before the turn of the 21st century and stating the group’s hopes for Southport and Alchemy Youth Group twenty years from now. Accompanied by a canvas of the word ‘Hope’ made from images found and created during the research for the film.

Alchemy Youth group





The Atkinson
The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB

Comics Youth
Suite 3.3 Tempest Building, L2 2DT

Buddy Up, Sefton CVS
Suite 3B, 3rd Floor, North Wing, Burlington House,
Crosby Road North, Waterloo, L22 0LG

Alchemy Youth Group, Parenting 2000
The Lodge, Mornington Road, Southport, Merseyside,

Skate Park
North Park, L20 5JJ

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