Liverpool's best buildings

This art and design workshop explores Liverpool through its most recognisable buildings, encouraging a sense of place and belonging. Inspired by Ben Johnson's 'The Liverpool Cityscape' and the buildings of Liverpool, create a collage to take back to school.

This workshop is available on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of every month at 10.15 and 11.30am.

Workshop details

This workshop begins in front of 'The Liverpool Cityscape' painting. Pupils are encouraged to look closely at the painting and identify which city and river the painting shows. They are asked if they recognise features within the painting, including buildings. Additional questioning focuses on colours, patterns, shapes, sounds that might be heard, and how pupils feel about the painting. 

Ben Johnson was commissioned to create 'The Liverpool Cityscape' for the European Capital of Culture year in 2008 and spent more than three years painting the cityscape. To prepare, he visited Liverpool, found the best viewpoints, studied the architecture, talked to local experts, made drawings and took more than 3,000 photographs. 

The workshop then moves to The People’s Republic gallery and its feature windows to appreciate the stunning views of the waterfront. Pupils use binoculars and are encouraged to spot some of the buildings and features they have just seen in the Liverpool Cityscape painting. There’s also an opportunity to pose in front of our life-size replica Liver Bird, which is 5.5 metres tall! 

The session finishes with a fun and mindful craft activity where pupils create an artwork inspired by a building in Liverpool to take back to school, gaining practical art and design skills through the medium of collage using a range of materials.

Practical information for your visit

Visiting the Museum of Liverpool - information for groups (pdf)

Image © Dave Jones

Curriculum links

Spoken language

 Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers and opinions
  • give descriptions and explanations for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate in conversations, staying on topic and  responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.


Geometry - properties of shapes

 Pupils should be taught to:  

  • recognise and name common 2-D and 3-D shapes, including: 2-D shapes [for example, rectangles (including squares), circles and triangles] 3-D shapes [for example, cuboids (including cubes), pyramids and spheres].

Geometry – position and direction

  • Pupils use the language of position, direction and motion, including: left and right, top, middle and bottom, on top of, in front of, above, between, around, near, close and far, up and down, forwards and backwards, inside and outside.


 Pupils will learn how-

  • a range of materials can be used creatively to design and make products.
  • to use drawing and collage to develop and share their ideas and imagination.
  • to develop art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space
  • the work of a significant artist was created, describing the techniques used and making links to their own work.


Subject content

  • Pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality.
  • They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography.

Place knowledge

  • understand geographical terms through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom

Human and physical geography

Pupils will learn how-

  • to refer to key physical features, including: beach, coast, river, weather.
  • key human features, including: city, house, office, port, road and shop.

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far; left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a picture.
  • use pictures to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features.


  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

Fundamental British values


  • Children participate in discussions and know that their views count.
  • Children can work together with others to create a cityscape, making decisions about their work.

Individual liberty

  • Children are encouraged to voice opinions appropriately and listen to others.
  • Children make their own decisions about their work and develop their confidence and self-esteem in producing their artwork.

Rule of law

  • Children learn to follow museum’s rules for their own safety and that of other visitors.
  • Children understand that rules apply to everyone and that all members of the group need to co-operate – for example, in tidying up.

Tolerance and mutual respect

  • Children are encouraged to respect the feelings and opinions of others as well as the museum and its collections.
  • Children learn to recognise and respect the diversity of buildings, people and places which make up Liverpool.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Children to understand that the Cityscape is a representation of the City of Liverpool.
  • Children will recognise buildings they can see out of the museum's north window with the same buildings represented on the Cityscape.
  • Pupils will gain knowledge and understanding of the role of an artist and their team.
  • Pupils will understand that the Cityscape took around three years to complete.


  • To develop observational, speaking and listening and questioning skills.
  • Sustain attentive listening, responding to what they have heard with relevant comments, questions or actions.
  • Use common words relating to the passing of time (e.g. before, past, long ago).
  • Use common words relating to shape, pattern and size (e.g. straight, round, tall).
  • Use developing skills relating to art and craft to produce a collage.

Attitudes and values

  • Engender a sense of pride and belonging for the people of Liverpool.
  • Orientate pupils to the city and give them a sense of the size and scope of the city.
  • Experience awe and wonder at the scale, skill and architectural detail in the painting.
  • Provide a high quality out of class learning experience that supports and enriches classroom learning.

Enjoyment, inspiration and creativity

  • Pupils and staff will enjoy a focused visit to the museum.
  • Develop an understanding that a team of people can produce a large, creative piece of art.
  • Show interest, excitement and motivation to learn in a museum environment.

Activity, behaviour and progression

  • Work as part of a group, taking turns and sharing fairly, understanding that there needs to be agreed values and codes of behaviour for groups of people, including adults and children to work together harmoniously.
  • Be provided with an opportunity to experience new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group.
  • Inspire the children to produce their own cityscape art back at school.