Queen gives CBE to Liverpool culture chief

One of the highest royal honours is being given to Culture Liverpool director Claire McColgan in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Tony McDonough reports

Claire McColgan
Claire McColgan is director of Culture Liverpool and is being awarded a CBE


Culture Liverpool director Claire McColgan is being honoured by the Queen with a CBE for her services to culture and arts.

A CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) is one of the highest royal honours. Only Dame and Knight are higher. Claire is being given the honour as part of the Queen’s official birthday celebrations. It also coincides with the Platinum Jubilee.

Claire received an MBE in 2009 for her services to culture and arts in Liverpool. The CBE is for her contribution to the national arts and culture scene. She played a pioneering role in the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).

Held at the height of the pandemic, the ERP saw Liverpool hold a series of events to test the safety of larger gatherings. These events provided a blueprint for the rest of the UK as we navigated through COVID.

Originally from Corby, Claire began working for Liverpool City Council 22 years ago. She oversaw the biggest events ever held in the city. These included the three visits of the Giants, the Cunard Three Queen spectacular and the Liverpool FC history parades.

She also led the legacy programme following Liverpool’s successful year as European Capital of Culture in 2008. Under the programme 35 cultural organisations secured support and funding.

Within the city council Claire is also interim strategic neighbourhoods director. She also sits on the city region’s Cultural Partnership and the Visitor Economy Board. In addition she is a town centre commissioner for the city region and is vice-chair of UK City of Culture board.

She was one of a panel of judges who chose Bradford as UK City of Culture in 2025. Claire regularly speaks and advises, both nationally and internationally, on best practice in culture.

“I am truly made up to receive the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours,” she said. “And am humbled that I have been recognised nationally for the work I deliver, which has roots in this city that I love.

“There are always loads of people behind these awards. They are never about the individual. I’d like to thank the Culture Liverpool team, who I truly love. They have delivered every mad idea and made me laugh every single day.

“From the newest recruit to the ones who have been there with me through it all, the city is lucky to have these unsung heroes. They work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure Liverpool retains its cultural crown at all times.


More than 1.2m people came to see the Giants in October 2018


“I’d also like to thank Liverpool City Council. Over the last 20 years it has given me and the brilliant creatives of this city and beyond, the chance to prove that legacy is not just a nice to have, it can transform the economic prosperity of a place.

“As public servants, ambition and integrity is at the heart of what we do. We are not simply minding a place, we are trying to make it the best it can be. Places such as Liverpool, with its independent, funny and compassionate personality, are a gift for artists and creatives everywhere.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson added: “I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with Claire for over a year now. It’s no surprise to me that she has been awarded this title.

“Claire’s work ethic and that of her team is unrivalled. The roll-call of events they have been responsible for just goes to show why Liverpool is always placed on a pedestal when it comes to culture.

“I’d like to congratulate Claire and the team on this well-deserved honour. Here’s to a Damehood next.”

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