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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!