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Director of National Museums Liverpool at our March Cultural Cities forum

Laura Pye, Director, National Museums Liverpool (Gareth Jones)

How will museums attract visitors back post Covid-19? Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, will take part in our March forum on 'Cultural Cities' to talk about the public realm master plan being put in place for visitors linking the city's NML museums. This is the second discussion in our 'Cultural Cities' series which began with a debate led by Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of the V&A East in January.

Born in Liverpool, Laura returned to the city following several years as Head of Culture for Bristol City Council with responsibility for the five museums in the city. Prior to moving to Bristol, she was interim Heritage and Culture Manager for Warwickshire County Council, covering a similar mix of services to Bristol including the Museums and Archives, Arts, Archaeology and Ecology teams.

At the start of the year, NML announced a project to transform the city's waterfront as part of a 'decade of change'. It identified designers who could create pedestrian links to Canning Dock, whilst also bringing to life multiple buildings as part of a 10-year master plan for the dock area.

The highlight of the building transformations will be the redevelopment of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building - formerly the Dock Traffic Office - which stands as a focal point of the Royal Albert Dock and which will provide a dynamic and prominent entrance to the city's International Slavery Museum (SM) as part of the plans.

Laura said:

'The public realm between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island represents a huge opportunity for development and this project will be a big step towards the public and our communities to share, enjoy and engage with its incredibly rich heritage.'

The Liverpool City Combined Authority is supporting the transformation with £120,000 of funding as part of the Race Equality Programme launched by Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham last year. It was announced that the International Slavery Museum would receive £55,000 to take for the first stage of its pre-development funding - the first step of the Waterfront Transformation Project, which will see NML realise long-held ambitions for the museum.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham commented:

'We are committed to tackling racial inequality and facing up to the shameful legacy of our region's role in the slave trade. Our International Slavery Museum is the only museum of its kind in the country and a vitally important institution, not just locally but nationally and internationally too, in educating people on the sins of the past.'

Laura continued:

'The slave trade was the backbone of the city's prosperity, and it is long overdue to weave this history into the public realm. Our aim will be to create a vibrant, active and public space that has long term flexibility of use and to utilise the surrounding redundant quaysides to complement existing developments and create a solid foundation for the future. We want to re-engage local communities and empower individuals to bring this significant and incredibly rich part of the waterfront back to life.'


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