Bidston Observatory, Wilding WayBidston Observatory, Wilding Way

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Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre (BOARC) is a self-organising study site for research, communality and experimentation.

It is not for profit, and focuses on providing a low-cost, temporary work space for individuals and groups so they can to come together and take the time needed to develop their practices and projects. This can be in the form of nightly stays for up to a month, or day use of the building.

BOARC welcomes a wide diversity of fields, such as art, music and theatre, to philosophy, bodywork, social activism, environmental science, culture and technology.

Based in a historical landmark, it is a space where discussion can easily flow from the kitchen to the sound recording studio, and ideas can bounce between the domes and basement workspace.

Main kitchen and workspace


There is no formal application to stay here – all are welcome to use this space. There is zero requirement to present your project and BOARC does not seek to lay claim to any work produced here. It is a flexible, non-pressured environment, where all types of practice are welcomed and valued.

Surrounded by beautiful woodland, it is just 30 minutes to Liverpool city centre.

Basement workspace, below main kitchen


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Before booking, we ask that everyone read our 4 key values and accountability agreement. These will give you an idea if BOARC can support the needs of your practice.

Valuing experimentation

To support experimentation BOARC tries to move towards certain principals.

We think these make us slightly different to most residency sites, allowing for more radical ways of thinking. In short; No judgement, No pressure, No capture and No hierarchy of practice.

Valuing Experimentation
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No judgement –

There is no lengthy application process to come and work at BOARC

We trust you are the expert on your own practice and the audiences you wish to reach.


No pressure -

Stayers decide how long they come to work for and what they work on.

There is no requirement to produce any “thing”, share your ideas or present what you’ve been doing.

There are of course ways of getting feedback from others, whether this is over a dinner conversation or a self-instigated showing.


No capture -

BOARC doesn’t capture work that goes on in the space to promote itself, as not to accrue cultural capital off the efforts of others.

This means that work at the site can stay private, and in support of the mess and mistakes it takes to arrive somewhere new.

BOARC’s online content is volunteered by users of the site.


No hierarchy of practice-

BOARC sees all modes of working as equally valid and doesn't allocate more resources or space to those with established careers or professional standing.

Maximum stay is a month to ensure flow through the space and that no individual voice or way of working becomes dominant.

Supporting self-education and self-organisation

BOARC is a space that needs activating by others. We mean what we say, organising here is as simple as getting in touch to start a conversation.

Supporting self-education and self-organisation
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In principle

BOARC was set up to support people working in artistic and cultural research, as many of these practices look to support communities and shift the status quo towards a more equitable future.

As the cost of formal education rises and institutions are pressured to meet imposed ideas of value, we believe providing flexible space is an important intervention. We respect our users do not need steering towards what’s important but room to innovate and instigate on their own terms.

BOARC supports this by prioritising two things:

Self-education –

where people set out what, how, and the way they wish to study

It allows for creative thinking, and often suggests a new path.

Self-organising –

where we identify what needs to be done and figure out how to do it.

It allows for adaptability and new strategies to emerge through the doing.

Both require an active participation as momentum isn't lead from a top-down perspective.

In practice

These terms of participation are ingrained in how BOARC operates; its' working methods, and attentions constantly shift to meet what users require of the space.

The project is a research practice in its own right. Our events programme and in-house projects aim to stimulate group discussions which then feedback into how BOARC is shaped. They also offer different points of entry, though it’s mainly down to others to invigorate the space and drive its content. The project likes new challenges and always tries to make things possible.

Mutual trust and being in community

BOARC is an offer and a proposition. It offers a subsidised space outside the strains of daily life and proposes that these conditions support peoples natural impulse to also offer what they can.

Mutual trust and being in community
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Sharing Abundance -

As users decide when they stay and how long for, people with different work needs cross over and meet. Everyone has something to offer and all bring a wealth of knowledge through personal history and experience. When recognised and valued, this abundance creates a collective energy, creating opportunities to test new ideas and attitudes together.

Taking time to notice -

Being at BOARC is an opportunity to witness and learn from the little things; the unsung gestures of daily life. When living communally, emotional, domestic and administrative labour are foundational. Sharing the space as a collective allows us to notice what resources us, figure out our boundaries, and take care of how we affect others. This is vital for generating sustainable working practices.

Making possible for others -

We understand that acts of mutual support do not always appear equal, but everyone mucking in and taking part is vital. BOARC is run on trust and the belief that anything is possible when collectives share responsibility and work together.

Researching whilst in community takes vulnerability, but practices built through doing so extend well beyond the space.

Being accountable for ourselves

BOARC aims to be accessible and welcoming to all, but recognises that this is a collective responsibility. Our accountability agreement is an evolving practice and vital to how the space runs.

Being accountable for ourselves
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We acknowledge that power is both exerted and felt differently by different bodies. The direct and indirect effects of power and privilege, material or otherwise, are rarely equal. While being at BOARC, we try to recognise the ways that power may be asymmetrical, and take ourselves into account.

We understand that processes of accountability are collaborative. They take practice, need nourishment and willing participation in order for them to grow. Under capitalism, shame and judgement are used to divide us and reduce our power as a collective. When we accept we are all works-in-progress and pre-conditioned by wider political systems, movement can happen. When we hold space for reflection and all of its feelings, opportunities for reconnection also become possible.

We ask that everyone takes responsibility for making BOARC accessible to others; this can look like being aware of how much space we take up, reflecting on our actions, paying the higher nightly fee, giving the space additional care or helping out others where opportunity arises.

Our accountability agreement outlines the foundations for this.

Efflorescence in the basement. Crystalline salt deposits forming in the basement work spaces as they dried out during renovations.


Accountability Agreement

Please read thoroughly. Whilst it isn’t essential to agree with it exactly as it’s written, we ask that you consider it and make a decision for yourself whether you feel aligned.

Accountability agreement
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Whilst we assume people have good intent, as an intersectional space with feminist principals we need to emphasise the obvious things that can’t be tolerated: Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transism, Ableism, Classism, Ageism, Xenophobia - in fact, any kind of ‘ism’ or ‘phobia’ where superiority over others is assumed. We promise to hear you out if your behaviour is questioned, but will ask you to leave if you intentionally inflict these forms of aggression against other people.



- Be conscious of how we take power or use privilege in the space.

- Be tolerant and make no assumptions about others.

- Speak up when others over step our boundaries.

- Be mindful that we all have blind spots and the ability to learn from them.

- Find ways of speaking for injustice, that doesn’t shame or judge others.

While transgressions may occur when different types of people meet, we want to use them as opportunities to learn. This means questioning the behaviours of others in a non-judgemental way and being open to hearing the viewpoints of others if your own behaviour is questioned.

Those running the space welcome being called in or out if our behaviours or aspects of the project cause discomfort. We recognise this is necessary for our learning and growth. We are grateful for the courage it takes to do this and have practices in place so we can reflect and make changes when needed.


Accountability Process:

Should you need to address anything during your stay here there is an accountability process in place. If you raise an issue with a member of the BOARC team, we’ll first let you know the steps of the process, and ask out how you’d like to proceed.

You can either speak with a member of the team, or send an email to

If you’d prefer to be anonymous, there are a number of email account providers which you can register with, without your name attached. We can also receive letters to: Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre, Wilding Way, Prenton, CH43 7RA.

About the project’s organisation

BOARC’s values and operational model are highly influenced by the Performing Arts Forum in France. In fact, we think of ourself as a “PAF-like space”, that deliberately extends its experiment in thinking property differently towards other conditions and new types of publics. We are grateful to its founder for the lesson in trust and all those working to make that space possible.

Bidston Observatory is privately owned, bought in 2016 by two of the current directors. The purchase and renovations were funded by the sale of hereditary land in the West Country for commercial and residential development. The property is leased to BOARC for what is known as a ‘peppercorn rent’ – BOARC pays a peppercorn (literally) each year to the owners. This structure makes it possible to keep costs low. Neither the owners nor directors of the Observatory profit financially from stayers paying to use the building.

Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2019, and is run as a not-for-profit. There are currently five directors who meet once a quarter to guide the project. The directorship is unpaid and seen principally as a guardianship role. The small team of stewards support the running of the project and are involved in the daily decision making. They help steer the project, answer mails, plan events, help maintain the space and everything in between. Some stewards are able to work voluntarily and some are paid.

BOARC is an experiment in itself, which takes energy, good humour, self-reflection and lots of patience to run. We thank you for your participation!