Culture Events Bring City's People Together; LIVERPOOL 08 SIX MONTHS OF CULTURE Tomorrow, Liverpool Will Be Half Way through Its Tenure as European Capital of Culture. in the First of a Series of Special Reports This Week, Samantha Parker Spoke to Community Groups about the Year So Far

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Byline: Samantha Parker

MANY communities in and around Liverpool have embraced the Capital of Culture year and made it their own.

Events showing the innovation and creativity that can be found in Liverpool have been springing up in every area.

Many have used the Culture Company to part-fund events, with others seeking funding from other agencies to ensure the Culture Year reaches their area.

Claire McColgan, Creative Communities Manager, Liverpool Culture Company, said: "I think one of the best things to come out of this year is the number of events that haven't been commissioned or supported by us."

It has been an incredible first half-year. The projects we have supported have been even better than I could have imagined, some of them have really blown me away.

"The feeling in the city and in the communities has changed; I think there is a greater feeling of togetherness and I think that will carry on beyond 2008.

"The events have really brought people together, which is what this year is all about. It is hard to pick a favourite as I have enjoyed them all. My favourites aren't what I guessed they might be at the beginning of the year. Streets Ahead and Archbishop Beck's performance at the Shakespeare 24 festival are just two of them.

"The coverage Liverpool has had this year has been overwhelming, and is what it needed as a city that is rebuilding itself."

One of the biggest community events supported by the Culture Company is the Four Corners programme.

Four Corners links residents, cultural organisations, artists and Liverpool city council's neighbourhood services team to explore the question "what makes a neighbourhood?".

The project looks at how the change and upheaval caused by regeneration can impact on communities, and uses tools such as creative writing, visual arts, photography and audio technology to engage residents and support cohesion.

Ruth Ben-Tovim has directed Be My Guest, one of the commissions which saw her team travel around south Liverpool gathering people's memories and turning them into a performance.

She said: "This project changed people's perceptions of each other. Young and old saw each other in a different light.

"We concentrated on south Liverpool and what came out was a better understanding and appreciation in the areas people live in.

"A successful dialogue was opened between the artists and the participants. …