Update: See What’s Inside Our New Book, Present Tense!

Mohamed Bourouissa’s ‘resilience’ garden in Toxteth

In our latest Kickstarter update, we share the story behind the book – including a sneaky peek of (drumroll…) the contents!


The brief

The brief for Present Tense was simple: consider what Liverpool’s status as European Capital means today. Our writers could look at any aspect of the city’s culture: it’s artists, past and present; the cultural organisations, collectives and projects that have made the scene what it is; its fascinating history pre- Tate and post-Biennial; and what they thought might be the impact of a Capital of Culture award, from the macro to the micro.

The resulting essays are reflective of Liverpool’s complex evolution as a cultural city, while also being critical and honest about the challenges it has faced and still faces today. As you can see from each synopsis, the paths the writers chose to follow are wildly different.


Sneaky peek: contents


Present Tense

Laura Robertson and Mike Pinnington in conversation


Use the City!

The language we use around culture is still predicated on viewership and reception. We talk of visitors, ‘private views’ (a poisonous phrase soaked in exclusion and subjugation), previews, ‘the public’. We could learn a lot from the vocabulary of the internet.

By Jacob Bolton


Define Your Heroes by Your Enemies

Those that attacked Banu Cennetoğlu’s The List did so not just because they hate refugees (though they clearly do), but also because they hate art.

By Oliver Basciano


Finding Richard and Barbara: A Sculpture Walk

Playing tourist in your own territory by navigating outdoor artwork at opposite ends of town: Richard Wilson’s Turning the Place Over – conceived of as a spectacular curtain-raiser for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008 – and Barbara Hepworth’s Square with Two Circles, 1964

By Denise Courcoux


Now, Then and Tomorrow: A Postcard From Liverpool

An overview of urban regeneration through art and culture

By Mike Pinnington


On John Walter 

Walter on his carnivalesque 2015 project Alien Sex Club, which the author curated in London and across Liverpool at Camp and Furnace, the Walker Art Gallery and the Bluecoat, as part of Homotopia Festival

By Ellen Mara De Wachter


Zine Scene Meets Art Scene

As a means of bringing together uncensored writing and art in order to distribute them to a like-minded community, zines have a strong countercultural history. Is this why, over the past ten years, galleries have increasingly incorporated zine culture into their curatorial remit?

By Eleanor Wiseman


Palermo and Liverpool: between one garden and another

Considering radical agriculture through Liverpool Biennial’s Beautiful World Where Are You? and Manifesta 12’s Planetary Garden: Cultivating Co-existence, 2018

By Stephanie Bailey 


The Winner Takes It All?

When 23 British and European artists visited Liverpool in 2008, they argued that the Capital of Culture award was a sticking plaster for economic woes, and that it was altogether irrelevant. What’s changed? A re-staging of the debate hosted by The Royal Standard and Red Wire Studios

By Laura Robertson


Just a taste…

If you like the look of our essays and haven’t become a patron yet, please don’t hesitate to preorder a copy of Present Tense today!

If you’re already a patron (THANK YOU!!!), please do spread the word, shout and scream, and recommend Present Tense to friends and family.

We only have until SUNDAY 12 MAY 2019 to reach our goal! All proceeds go directly to print and design. So we really do need all the help we can get in order to get the book into your hands.

Thanks so much to everyone who has donated so far.


Laura Robertson and Mike Pinnington


CLICK HERE TO PREORDER PRESENT TENSE NOW ON KICKSTARTER… And help us to bring our book to life! 


Posted on 26/04/2019 by thedoublenegative