Practising Place book launch

Practising Place

Thursday 7th March 2019, 3 – 5pm
The Whitworth
Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER

Click here to book a place

Join us at the Whitworth Art Gallery to celebrate the launch of Practising Place, a new publication which explores our relationship with places through a collection of creative projects and conversations between artists and academics.

Featuring content developed for the book, the event will include:

A talk by Professor Mike Collier, Director of Art Editions North
A performance lecture about rural mythologies by artist Rebecca Chesney and art historian Dr Rosemary Shirley.
A reading by Amelia Crouch and Dr David Cooper of their essay, The Cul-de-Sac in the Forest: The Supermodernity of Center Parcs.
The premiere of a new short film set in Manchester Central Library by artist Magda Stawarska-Beavan.

The event will be followed by a drinks reception and the opportunity to purchase the book for the special price of £10 (RRP £15).

About the book

‘A superb visual and textual anthology of interdisciplinary dialogues which explore different relationships with place. This book is in itself a special place where art crosses paths with geography, archaeology, history and sociology in timely and playful ways.’
Cornerhouse Publications

The Practising Place book explores our relationship with place through a collection of co-authored texts, visual essays, creative projects and conversations between artists and academics. Featuring new and existing artworks and covering a range of themes, including rural mythologies, urban noise, boundaries and seaside nostalgia, this highly visual book demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary discourse and presents an approach to the study of place as a creative and critical practice.The publication, which features a foreword by Lubaina Himid CBE, includes creative explorations of places across the north of England – including a Cumbrian Center Parcs resort, Stanlow Oil Refinery, working-men’s clubs, Manchester Central Library and the edgelands of Preston and Sheffield ­– as well as more general themes, such as urban planning and digital space.

The book is the latest project within the wider Practising Place programme, which explores the meanings and production of places through interdisciplinary conversations. Since 2013, the programme has developed relationships between artists and academics from fields such as human geography, landscape archaeology, history and sociology, with a view to generating new understandings of places through the sharing of ideas and approaches.

Click here for more information, or to purchase the book.


Notes from a Precarious Landscape Exhibition

NOAPL image


Plot 188, Waterside Development, Cottam Way, Preston PR4 0WJDSC07863

Open to the public:
Thursday 17th May 12.00 – 5.30pm
Friday 18th May 12.00 – 5.30pm
Saturday 19th 12.00 – 5.30pm with ‘meet the artists’ event 12.00 – 2.00pm

As part of The Expanded City project, artists Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene have invited residents of Preston and its surrounding villages to take part in an exhibition about how the outskirts of Preston and the land around the city is changing or has changed in the past. Situated in the currently vacant Plot 188 on the Story Homes Waterside development in Cottam, the exhibition explores the relationships between people and place, city and surrounding landscape, through the lens of the people who live and work in Preston. The exhibition will include prints, poems, maps, sound recordings, photographs and water colour paintings from the John Weld collection at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

Waterside Development location map.                                                                                                              
Parking available in Visitors Car Park
or on the side streets.

Lie of the Land symposium, Wed 16th May 2018

Lie of the Land

Weds 16th May
10am – 4pm (bus pick up from Preston Railway Station at 9am and drop off after 4pm)
Bartle Hall, Preston
£10 (a limited number of free tickets are also available)
Click here to book a place

In Certain Places invite you to take part in Lie of the Land – a day of artworks, presentations and conversations about our relationship to the land. Drawing on research undertaken by artists in The Expanded City programme, the symposium will explore how our everyday lives are shaped by the ownership, management and development of land.

The day will feature talks by journalist and author Peter Hetherington and artist Julia Heslop. It will also include a bus tour around some of The Expanded City sites, and the distribution of a limited-edition map of the project. The symposium will take place at Bartle Hall, Preston, and a bus will collect participants from Preston Railway Station, and return there following the event.

Tickets are £10 and include a sit-down lunch and bus travel. A limited number of free tickets are also available for self employed artists, Preston residents and students. Please email info@incertainplaces.org to apply for a free place.

About the Expanded City

The Expanded City is a three-year programme of artistic research, interventions and events, designed to inform a series of planned infrastructure projects on the outskirts of Preston. Part of Preston’s ‘City Deal’ – a central government initiative which aims to encourage economic growth by addressing strategic infrastructure challenges – the scheme includes the creation of over 17,000 houses as well as new roads and amenities.

Following an invitation by Preston City Council to contribute to their plans, In Certain Places has been working with artists Gavin RenshawEmily SpeedOlivia KeithLauren VelvickIan Nesbitt and Ruth Levene, and multi-disciplinary design group The Decorators to explore the existing characteristics of the development areas, raise questions and offer suggestions for the future of these places. The Lie of the Land symposium will present some of the artists’ key insights and observations, providing a snapshot of the project to date, and encourage discussion about wider issues of urban planning and policy.


Community contributions for exhibition on the changing city of Preston

Artists Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene will be talking to people, providing information and taking submissions in person at:

Preston Market, Thursday 26 April 9.00am – 3.00pm
Harris Museum and Art Gallery (café), Saturday 5 May 10.00am – 4.00pm

In conjunction with In Certain Places artists Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene are staging a community exhibition about Preston and are inviting members of the public to contribute. Like all cities, Preston is growing and changing fast, particularly on its outskirts. Ian and Ruth are inviting residents of Preston and its surrounding villages to take part in an exhibition about how the outskirts of Preston and the landscape around the city is changing or has changed in the past. Exhibition entries might take the form of drawings, paintings, objects, artefacts, newspaper cuttings, voice recordings or interviews.

Submissions should record in some way parts of the local environment that are changing. It could be a view from a window that will soon change, a bird species not seen any more, a road that was built in your lifetime, some facts about a local neighbourhood, or the wider Preston area. It doesn’t have to be big or ‘important’, neither does it have to be ‘a fantastic work of art’. The more diverse the better, so don’t be shy! A description (up to 50 words) about what is being submitted and why will also be required.

Get in touch if you have something that you think might be too big and Ian and Ruth will see what they can do.

The exhibition will take place in the week of 14th May in Preston. 

For more information contact Ian and Ruth at info@iannesbitt.co.uk

Ruth Levene and Ian Nesbitt


Launch of new Research Base

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 18.55.31

In Certain Places is an action research project and creative organisation in the School of Art, Design and Fashion. ICP fosters new approaches to art, culture and urban development by testing new ideas and embedding creative work within particular locations and communities. . ICP enables communities to engage in the development of their city and the unique methodology has led to Lorraine Norris, CEO Preston City Council to remark “In Certain Places is part of the DNA of the city”

ICP empowers artists to explore situations in an organic manner, engaging artists and architects to develop temporary interventions in and around the City of Preston, connecting individuals, organisations, businesses and institutions in the creation of locally rooted work.

The project is led by curators Professor Charles Quick and Elaine Speight with research associate Rachel Bartholomew.


Making Histories Visible is an interdisciplinary visual art research project that enables distinct areas of international excellence in contemporary arts research. It is led by Lubaina Himid MBE Professor of Contemporary Art and supported by Christine Eyene Guild, Research Fellow. MHV’s international academic research output has been officially recognised as world-leading by the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), with major impact outside of academia.

As a painter, writer and curator, Professor Lubaina Himid has participated at an international level in exhibitions, conferences, books and films on the visual art of the Black Diaspora since the early 1980’s. She was recently named the winner of the 2017 Turner Prize and her exhibition Hard Times is currently running at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery.

Christine Eyenne’s research focuses on: South African photographer George Hallett (1970s-80s), Britain’s Black Arts (1980s), contemporary African art, gendered perspectives in contemporary art, sound art and non-object-based art practices. She is also the Artistic Director of the 2018 Casablanca Biennale.




Precarious Landscape: Expanded City Network event

Ruth Levene and Ian Nesbitt

Friday 8 December, 9:30am – 3pm
North West Preston. Collection and drop off at Preston Station.
Free: click here to book your place

Join Ruth Levene and Ian Nesbitt for a morning of exploration and discussion about ‘changing and precarious landscape’. Following their five-day walk around the metropolitan boundary of Preston last year to observe and gather information of the landscape around the city’s edges, Ruth and Ian are looking to broaden and deepen their understanding by seeking the experiences and knowledge of others.

The event will take participants on a coach to locations on the western bounds of Preston and include readings, discussion points and conversation. Lunch will be supplied followed by a discussion chaired by Landscape Archaeologist, Bob Johnston (University of Sheffield). Collection will be at 9.30am and drop off by 3.00pm at Preston Station. The event is free. Book your place.

Precarious Landscape is part of The Expanded City project, a series of artworks and events exploring areas that will be affected by the City Deal – a scheme that aims to deliver new jobs and housing in Preston.


Setting in Place: The Making of a Jellied Map of Nether Bartle By Olivia Keith

Olivia Keith - Setting in Place

Setting in Place: The Making of a Jellied Map of Nether Bartle
By Olivia Keith
Wednesday 8 November: Bartle Hall, Preston
Saturday 11 November: Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

The story of the land between Bartle Hall and Cottam, from 1895 through to its imminent future development, will be told visually by ‘performing the map’. The natural transparency of jelly will enable the ‘seeing through’ to the past of the landscape as the map is built throughout the day.

The creation of the map will draw together material from a variety of sources; a large-scale 1895 map forms the foundation with additional information gathered by walks and conversations.

The process of Setting in Place will illuminate the story of the area, little changed for two hundred years but which, in the immediate future, is to experience rapid and extensive residential development. Setting In Place, the making of a jellied map, seeks to express something of the patina of place using the language of cartography.

Wednesday 8 November
Bartle Hall, Lea Lane, Bartle, Preston PR4 0HA
Watch Olivia making the map: 11:00am to 4:30pm
Help to make the map: 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Morning coffee and afternoon tea available to purchase

Saturday 11 November
Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Market Square, Preston PR1 2PP
Watch Olivia making the map: 10:30am to 4:00pm
Help to make the map: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Part of the special event: Beattie Open Day, Preston & Beyond


Routes In, Routes Out: Expanded City Network event

36 views by Gavin Renshaw, 2016.

Thursday 27 July, 6–8pm
Avenham Park Pavilion,  Avenham Park, Preston PR1 8JT
Free: click here to book your place

How do we navigate a city and decipher the urban landscape by bike? How can we map a city and provide all the information cyclists need? What are the unique experiences cycling a city can give us?

The Connected City Network presents a discussion between artist Gavin Renshaw and cycling journalist and presenter of The Bike Show Jack Thurston.

The discussion will be shaped by the experiences the pair have on a night ride of Preston and its surrounds the night before the event. It will allow them to reflect on their experiences of cycling both urban and rural areas of Lancashire, their shared interests in cycling infrastructure and ideas about using cycling to find routes in and out of a city. There will also be time for the audience to contribute and ask their own questions.

This is a free event and refreshments will be provided.

The event is part of Gavin’s work for The Expanded City project by In Certain Places, a series of artworks and events exploring areas that will be affected by the City Deal – a scheme that aims to deliver new jobs and housing in Preston. Gavin is exploring current and future cycling infrastructure within the district and is developing his own routes that map information relevant to cyclists, such as storage, topography and traffic black spots, and take into account considerations such as convenience, scenery, safety, speed and accessibility. His research will culminate in a cycling resource that collates routes, information and existing infrastructure within a single, visual inventory. Read Gavin’s publication Viewfinding, produced as part of his research.

Jack Thurston is a cycling journalist and author, presenter of The Bike Show and author of Lost Lanes Wales: 36 Glorious Bike Rides in Wales and the Borders.

The Connected City Network is a series of conversation events taking place as part of the Expanded City programme of artworks. These events provide an opportunity to engage with the artists and contributors to the programme, to find out more about the context of the work and share in the conversation that each artist’s work encourages.


Traces of Place: Mapping the memories of north-west Preston: Expanded City Network event

Traces of Place is a project by artist Olivia Keith, who is mapping, preserving and sharing memories of north-west Preston, an area undergoing rapid change. Olivia is interested in how maps can keep elements of a place alive and ways that memories can be preserved and passed on, such as place names, stories, poems, songs and drawings.

From 26 June until 10 July, Olivia will be based at the Final Whistle Cafe in Preston, collecting memories from residents about the area. She will be collating residents’ contributions and asking people to add their memories to an online community map of the area, as well as creating her own maps based on what she discovers. The project will culminate in information and maps that will be distributed to new homes in the area.

Come and talk to Olivia at the Final Whistle Cafe at 10am–1pm on 27 June, 2, 4 and 9 July and 1pm–4pm on 29 June, 1, 6 and 8 July (and other times by arrangement). Free tea/coffee voucher for everyone who attends. For more information and to share your memories, email Olivia.

Last year, Olivia explored the histories and current identities of places and communities within Preston as part of her research for Traces of Place. This involved engaging people in conversation about their places through the making of large-scale reportage drawings, which combined heritage and current information to explore the traces of tradition and historical context that are able to ‘make it through’ new developments. These drawings will be exhibited in the Final Whistle Cafe between 26 June and 10 July.

Traces of Place is part of The Expanded City project by In Certain Places, a series of artworks and events exploring areas that will be affected by the City Deal – a scheme that aims to deliver new jobs and housing in Preston.

The Expanded City Network is a series of conversation events taking place between July and September 2017, as part of the Expanded City programme of artworks. These events provide an opportunity to engage with the artists and contributors to the programme, to find out more about the context of the work and share in the conversation that each artist’s work encourages.

Join the conversation: On Tuesday 4 July at the Final Whistle Cafe, 6–8.00pm, we’ll be talking about what makes us feel at home in a new place. What helps us to put down roots and feel connected to the environment? What can established residents pass on to newer residents about community and place itself and how can this gift of information be shared? All are welcome to join us, to listen or to participate and refreshments will be provided. Book your free place now.

Final Whistle Cafe, UCLan Sports Arena Tom Benson Way Preston PR2 1SG
The cafe is next to the Lancaster Canal and has access for cyclists/walkers and free parking.
Opening times: Mon–Thurs: 10am–8pm; Fri: 10am–7pm; Sat and Sun: 9am–4:30pm.


Practising Place: conversations about art and place

Practising Place - art and place

In Certain Places has published a new article on the blog that outlines the whole Practising Place programme, presenting synopses and links to films of each event.

Practising Place was a programme of ten public conversations designed to examine the relationship between art practice and place. Each event explored a specific aspect of place by bringing artists together with humanities researchers who shared a common area of interest. The artist/researcher pairs focused on topics relating to their own work, including perceptions of the rural, language, nostalgia, typography, urban spaces, renewal and urban noise.

The events took place between 2013 and 2016, with each one hosted at a different venue in the north of England.

The artists and researchers formed solid partnerships that lasted beyond the events, leading to continued dialogue and collaborations. They were commissioned to write essays that continued these discussions, which were published on online arts magazine The Double Negative and will be presented together in an e-journal.

All the Practising Place events were filmed and are available to watch on the In Certain Place website.

Read more about the Practising Place programme and watch the films.

What’s next for Practising Place?
In Certain Places is currently working on a Practising Place publication featuring contributions from each of the ten pairs in different written and visual forms. Look out for the e-journal of Practising Place essays later this year.