Digital Tour – MA Conference 2021

All exhibition photography by Pam Seale (2021).


Bluecoat Display Centre are delighted to share our Autumn exhibition, ‘Halima Cassell & Emma Rodgers’.

This exhibition brings together two of most accomplished women sculptors from the North West, Halima Cassell and Emma Rodgers, in a joint exhibition for the first time as part of a series of curated displays in 2021 highlighting the diverse, emerging and established makers working in studios across the region.

Cassell & Rodgers have both achieved national and international recognition through their work, which although completely different, both capture a dynamic sense of movement. There are also many parallels in terms of their highly successful career paths and both women’s work features in major public collections, and public and private commissions.

Please scroll down to view a slideshow and image gallery of the exhibition, and to find out more about the Bdc including our outreach projects with health and education partners.


Halima Cassell


Combining strong geometric elements with recurrent patterns and architectural principles, Halima’s work utilises definite lines and dramatic angles in an attempt to manifest the universal language of number and create an unsettling sense of movement.

“I create a mood and feeling of dynamic tension in my work by playfully manipulating the planes and facets of the patterns against each other. The stresses that this creates help me to achieve the maximum impact within the overall design and also to push the boundaries of the material to its limits. When creating a piece, the most exciting moment for me is when my flat designs become dramatically transformed when charted over a structure and then taken to another level by heavily carving into it. The hue of the material body is crucial because I rarely use colour, I also rely on the piece itself to dramatise the tones and textures through the effects of light and shadow.” – Halima Cassell

Emma Rodgers


Confrontation, energy, curiosity, essence of a moment and interaction are the main elements that initially draw Emma to a new subject and are indicative of the very nature of the figures and animals she depicts. She is interested in the challenges of capturing the inherent nature of the subject: the movement, flexibility and power.

“The energy of the animal (or figure) and the tautness of the pose are conveyed by a distortion in the medium. I endeavour to avoid my work appearing over handled, but stretch and tear the clay often to the point when it splits and breaks to accentuate the surface. This forms an essential part of an investigation into statement by omission. Through leaving out features and focussing attention on negative space within the form I feel enable me to convey the spirit that animates it.” – Emma Rodgers

About the Bdc


The Bluecoat Display Centre is an independent charitable organisation, which aims to promote contemporary applied arts both nationally and internationally, to support the craft infrastructure through: extending audiences for contemporary craft and working with leading North West practitioners; enhancing lives through education, participation and learning; and improving the health and wellbeing of the communities of Liverpool and beyond.

The Bdc’s outreach and education programme delivers high quality contemporary craft workshops and residencies, facilitated by some of the North West’s leading craft practitioners. The programme has formed lasting partnerships with organisations including the Royal Liverpool University & Broadgreen Hospitals, The Walton Centre, Wirral Autistic Society, Liverpool Wellbeing Centres under the PSS (Person Shaped Support) umbrella, Liverpool Hope University, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the Brain Charity and the NHS Merseycare Foundation Trust’s Life Rooms Recovery College in Walton, Clock View inpatient unit at Walton Hospital and Maggie’s Merseyside.

During 2020/21, the team at the gallery and our talented makers have been more passionate than ever about using the human and emotional values of craft to enrich and support the lives of those in our communities. A series of online residencies and workshops have been filmed, enabled by The National Lottery Community Fund Award, The Skelton Charity, and The Ann and Ray Messer Foundation, with the support of The Life Rooms and NHS Mersey Care.

To date, 21 maker workshops have been filmed. Each film is designed to stimulate, inspire and occupy a wide audience of all ages during this challenging period of confinement.

Image: Mike Badger filming a digital workshop at the Life Rooms (2020).