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HIT Hot Topics 2023


The Black-E

Arts & Community Centre
1 Great George Street, Liverpool L1 5EW

We’re pleased to announce that we have a new venue for this year’s HIT Hot Topics Conference, The Black-E.

The Black-E is the national participatory arts centre. For over fifty years they have demonstrated a commitment to artistic excellence and social transformation. Through the power of cultural equity, they’re connecting artists to communities and enabling the people of Liverpool to tell their story to the world.

The Building

The Chapel was designed, built, furnished and opened 18 months after the first church on the site (built in 1811) was destroyed by fire in 1840. It became popularly known as ‘Liverpool’s Third Cathedral’. The Chapel originally derived its familiar name the Black-E as a shortened version of ‘The Black Church’ – a description of the Chapel in the 1960s covered with over a hundred years of inner-city smoke and grime. Although stone cleaned in the 1980s the building still retains its name.


The Black-E (formerly known as the Great Georges Project), began with the commitment to combine a world-class contemporary arts centre, with a community centre. Having taken over the former Great George Street Congregational Church in October 1967, with the support of the late Sir Peter Moores, the team of artists led by Wendy and Bill Harpe began their cultural adventures with the long-term aim of an ‘open door’ policy.

The team would later be joined by the late Sally Morris. They became the U.K.’s first national participatory community arts centre. Creating a centre where artists (performing and making, experimental and traditional) connected with anyone, from any background, who chose to come through the door.

The proximity of the building within Britain’s oldest established African-Caribbean community – and to Europe’s oldest Chinatown – means that cultural diversity is celebrated as a natural phenomenon.