Deatil from 'The Boundary Project' by Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene

Tues 15th November, 2016
6pm – 8pm
Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QG
Free Click here to book a ticket

As part of the Practising Place programme, In Certain Places is proud to present an evening with artists Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene in conversation with landscape archaeologist Dr Bob Johnston.

This event will explore ways of understanding the landscape through an immersive engagement with it. Drawing on their respective practices of art and landscape archaeology, the speakers will discuss the idea of landscape as the product of human actions, with a focus on traditions of land use, boundaries and authoritative and unofficial forms of mapping. In particular, they will examine how activities such as walking and oral history can generate alternative perspectives of landscape, which challenge established narratives and reveal the shifting meanings of a place.

About the speakers

Working independently across film and video, sound, photography, cross-disciplinary research and socially engaged projects, Levene and Nesbitt have collaborated on the Boundary Project since 2013, which to date has involved walking the political boundaries of Sheffield and Preston.

Ruth Levene’s practice reveals the infrastructure systems that we live by and how they shape the environment we live in. She is currently in residence with Pennine Water Group, Sheffield University and working on the participatory arts project A Field of Wheat with Anne-Marie Culhane.

Click here to visit Ruth’s website

Ian Nesbitt’s practice is largely collaborative, focusing on exploring peripheral territories and working innovatively with marginal communities. He has been commissioned to deliver events and projects for Nottingham Contemporary, Eastside Projects (Birmingham), G39 (Cardiff), and Amorph Festival (Helsinki).

Click here to visit Ian’s website

Bob Johnston is a senior lecturer in landscape archaeology in the University of Sheffield. He researches histories of landscapes in the UK, with a specific interest in boundaries and prehistoric field systems. He is currently working in Wales: the western fringes of Snowdonia and Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire.

Click here to visit Bob’s profile page


The Expanded City event and publication launch


Large-scale drawing on historic map, showing the point at which the Western Distributor carriageway will cross Savick Brook as part of the City Deal scheme, by Olivia Keith, 2016.

Friday 18th November
Between 12 and 3pm
Ham and Jam cafe, 50 Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 1DD
Tea, coffee and cake provided

In Certain Places invite you to join us at Ham and Jam for an informal afternoon of tea, cake, artwork and conversations about The Expanded City project, as well as a chance to collect a free publication which documents the first 12 months of the project.

The Expanded City is a three-year programme of artworks and events designed to generate debate about the City Deal – a national scheme, which aims to deliver new jobs and housing, by addressing strategic transport, environmental, community and cultural infrastructure challenges. Within Preston, the City Deal scheme will take place in three zones on the periphery and in the centre of the city, and includes the development of over 5,000 new homes, as well as new roads and amenities.

Following an invitation from Preston City Council to inform cultural provision within the scheme, In Certain Places have been working with artists Olivia Keith, Gavin Renshaw,  Ian Nesbitt and Ruth LeveneEmily Speed and writer Lauren Velvick to examine the existing characteristics and future plans for places within the City Deal areas. Through a range of creative activities, the artists have mapped the peripheries of Preston, and identified areas for further exploration – including walking and cycling infrastructure, the history and naming of places, and provision for play and leisure. There will be an exhibition of artwork and the artists will available throughout the day to talk about their research and discuss aspects of the City Deal scheme.

This is an informal drop-in event, so feel free to join us at any point between 12 and 3pm.


Artist Jen Southern and Cenotaph architect Charlie Mackeith discuss monuments and collective memory

Homing - installation view

Homing – installation view.

On Wednesday 9 November,6pm, at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, Homing artist Jen Southern, writer Dominic Smith and award winning Cenotaph architect Charlie MacKeith will come together to discuss the work and the relationship between monuments and collective memory.

Homing is an interactive sound artwork, experienced through headphones, animating the original letters of Preston soldiers serving in the front line trenches of WW1. Read more about the project.

Southern, Mackeith and Smith will consider the perpetuation of memory through objects, including the supposed permanence of architectural monuments, and the interpretation of past and present through sensory experience. A new publication on the work and a Homing app for smartphone will also be launched.

Homing has been selected as a case study on sound based art by the British Art Network and Contemporary Art Society for a special event On Space and Sound held at Tate Britain on 27 October.

Homing is at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery until Armistice Day, 11 November.


Expanded City Perspectives: Artist Olivia Keith


by Lauren Velvick on The Expanded City blog.

There are elements of Olivia Keith‘s work for The Expanded City that are familiar within socially engaged practices, such as using the unwritten knowledge and experience of local inhabitants to informally map an area. Keith has developed a way of recording this information, and her process is complex and considered, moving beyond the collecting of memories for its own sake. Click here to read the full post.



(Dis)ordering the City: Buildings, Bodies and Urban Space

Detail from 'Panoply' by Emily Speed - a commissioned work, made for the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool as part of the TOPOPHOBIA exhibition. Photo by Mark Reeves

Detail from ‘Panoply’ by Emily Speed – a commissioned work, made for the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool as part of the TOPOPHOBIA exhibition. Photo by Mark Reeves.

(Dis)ordering the City: Buildings, Bodies and Urban Space
Emily Speed in conversation with Duncan Light
Wed 5th October 2016, 6 – 8pm
The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX
Free. Click here to book a place.

As part of the Practising Place programme, In Certain Places is proud to present an evening with artist Emily Speed in conversation with human geographer Dr Duncan Light, hosted by the Bluecoat.

The event will focus on the making and reshaping of urban space. In particular, it will explore the relationship between official urban planning processes and the subversion of city spaces by the people who use them. Drawing upon their own creative and academic research, Speed and Light will examine the ways in which urban spaces are performed, and how certain practices – such as walking, urban exploration and the creation of ‘desire lines’ – might be viewed as tactics for ‘disordering’ the city.

About the speakers

Emily Speed works in sculpture, installation and performance and her work is concerned with the relationship between the body and architecture. During 2016 she has solo exhibitions at TRUCK, Calgary and a major new commission at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Texas. Recent exhibitions include Plymouth Art Centre; g39, Cardiff; Oredaria Gallery, Rome; Laumeier Sculpture Park, St Louis, USA; Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland. Speed’s work is held in the Arts Council Collection, Tate Artists’ Books Collection and her artists’ books are held in numerous libraries in the US including Yale, Library of Congress and MIT.

Click here to visit Emily’s website

Dr Duncan Light is senior lecturer in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality at Bournemouth University. A human geographer by background, he worked for 20 years in Liverpool before moving to Bournemouth.  He has research interests in urban landscapes, particularly in Romania (a country he has visited regularly for more than 20 years). In particular, his research has explored the efforts to remake the ‘official public landscape’ created by Romania’s communist regime in the post-communist period. He has published papers on these issues in a range of journals and has also contributed chapters to a number of recent edited volumes about post-communist change.

Click here to visit Duncan’s profile page

Practising Place is a programme of public conversations, designed to examine the relationship between art practice and place. Each event is hosted at a different venue and explores a specific aspect of place by bringing artists together with people from different backgrounds, who share a common area of interest.


When is a star a star?

When is a star a star

Preview: Tuesday 28 June, 6–8pm (refreshments provided)
Exhibition continues until Friday 8 July 2016 (Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm)

Lancashire Science Festival drop-in family event:
Saturday 2 July, 9am–5pm

PR1 Gallery, Victoria Building, Victoria Street, University of Central Lancashire, Preston


As part of our ‘Testing Ground’ scheme, In Certain Places is proud to support ‘When is a star a star?’ – a new project by artist Bonnie Craig, developed with astrophysicist  Prof. Derek Ward-Thompson, in the School of Physical Sciences & Computing at the University of Central Lancashire.

The exhibition will feature a series of prints that explore the use of colour, shape, pattern and composition in representing the mathematics and science of star formation. Based on an ongoing dialogue between the artist and astrophysicist, the work demonstrates how artists and scientists can work together, bringing new perspectives and processes to each other’s work.

As well as viewing the work, there is also an opportunity to join the artist in creating a large-scale artwork, and to take home your own star souvenir, at a drop-in family event, as part of the Lancashire Science Festival on Saturday 2 July, 9am–5pm.

Bonnie Craig is an artist and designer who works predominantly with pattern. Her practice explores the use of existing pattern and decorative detail in architecture and involves applying pattern to different places and contexts, resulting in site-specific installations and interventions.

Professor Derek Ward-Thompson is Director of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute of Maths, Physics and Astronomy at the University of Central Lancashire, and President of the UK Society for Popular Astronomy. He researches the formation of stars and planets and has appeared on the BBC ‘Sky at night’ programme on numerous occasions.

Testing Ground is professional development project, which aims to help artists develop their practice through access to resources and research at the University of Central Lancashire, as part of the wider In Certain Places project.


Nostalgic Landscapes: Responses to the British Seaside

Detail from 'The Sea Breeze Was The Cure' by Jenny Steele - a drawing and painting, digitally printed onto wallpaper, which responds to the architectural spaces of The Rothesay Pavilion, on the Isle of Bute

Detail from ‘The Sea Breeze Was The Cure’ by Jenny Steele.

Wed 6th July, 2016
6pm – 8pm
Mitchell and Kenyon Lecture Theatre, Foster Building, Kendal Street, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE
Free Click here to book a ticket

As part of the Practising Place programme, In Certain Places is proud to present an evening with artist Jenny Steele in conversation with tourism lecturer Dr David Jarratt.

The event will explore perceptions of the British seaside, through examples of the speakers’ academic and creative research. Referencing traditional seaside locations, such as the North West resorts of Morecambe and Blackpool, Steele and Jarratt will discuss the significance of such places within the creation of individual and collective identities, and the importance of reminiscence to their enduring appeal. In particular, they will examine the role of nostalgia within cultural constructions of seaside places, and discuss how this may be considered to be a productive, rather than passive phenomenon.

About the speakers

Jenny Steele is an artist who is motivated by architecture that suggests a utopic hope for the future, corresponding histories and ideas of place, using the processes of drawing, printmaking and sculpture in her work. Past projects have investigated modernist, post-colonial and post-industrial architectural sites. Residencies include Manchester School of Art (2012) and 501 Artspace, Chongqing, China (2011). Upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool from 2nd July- 13th August 2016.

Click here to visit Jenny’s website

Dr David Jarratt lectures in Tourism and Event Management at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). In recent years he has been researching sense of place as experienced by visitors to the traditional British seaside resort or, to put it another way, seasideness. This seaside environment lies at the heart of the visitor’s sense of place and facilitates a distinctive and often meaningful experience, which centres on the themes of nostalgia and wellness / spirituality.  David is currently researching the role that nostalgia plays in the touristic experience and the increasingly well recognised role that sense of place plays in the visitor economy.

Click here to visit David’s profile page

Practising Place is a programme of public conversations, designed to examine the relationship between art practice and place. Each event is hosted at a different venue and explores a specific aspect of place by bringing artists together with people from different backgrounds, who share a common area of interest.


Cracked Egg: Publication launch, exhibition and guided walks

Cracked Egg

Fri 17 June, 5 – 8pm
In Certain Places Project Space
38 St Peters Street, Preston, PR1 7BS
Exhibition continues until 19 June

In Certain Places is delighted to host ‘Cracked Egg’  – a project developed in response to the copious work of Preston artist Christopher Joseph Holme (1952 – 2010).

Over the past year five creative practitioners; Aliyah Hussain, Clara Casian, David Wilkinson and Michael Redmond have been commissioned by curator Lauren Velvick to work with, and to respond to the remarkable collection of the artist’s work. Holme was an unknown painter who might be referred to as an ‘outsider artist’, but whose work comprises extensive paintings, sketchbooks and diaries.

Each artist had a prior interest in, or affinity with ‘outsider art’, and through their individual observations have produced responses in writing, drawing, photography, film and sound that deal with place, family, cultural history and the nature of collections. These bodies of work are presented as interlocking chapters in a publication, designed by Lisa Lorenz and produced and edited by Lauren Velvick.

To celebrate the culmination of this project the resulting new work by Hussain, Casian, Wilkinson and Redmond will be installed in the In Certain Places Project Space, which has served as a base for the project. The publication, Cracked Egg, will be available to browse and purchase with complementary online content also available. The event also serves as a further experiment into the methods of display for this work, which is at once disturbing and humorous, anchored in time and relevant to the present.

Over the course of the weekend David Wilkinson will also lead two guided walks that draw on his interest in psychogeography to physically explore the sites that were depicted by, or important to Holme. These include a route that passes that artists’ childhood home in the terraces of Plungington, and the repurposed workhouse on Watling Street Road that was once the Sharoe Green Hospital asylum. The second walk takes in the Fishwick area of Preston, where Holme lived during one of his most productive, but also turbulent periods.

Click here to book the Plungington and Sharoe Green walk.
Click here to book the Fishwick walk.


Tracking The Process Of Abandonment

Castle Market by Victoria Lucas, 2013.

Castle Market by Victoria Lucas, 2013.

As part of the Practising Place programme, In Certain Places is pleased to announce the latest essay commissioned in collaboration with The Double Negative – a UK-based online magazine featuring a selection of the latest in arts, design, film and music.

The magazine is hosting a series of new, jointly commissioned texts by geographers, sociologists, cultural theorists, artists and experts from other fields, which explore the relationship between art practice and place.

These texts form a continuation of the Practising Place events – a series of public conversations between artists and researchers from other disciplines who share an interest in specific aspects of place.

The current essay, Tracking the Process of Abandonment by Emma Fraser, explores aspects of urban decay and the notion of ‘salvaging the urban obsolete’, with reference to the work of artist Victoria Lucas. The text forms part of an ongoing conversation between Fraser and Lucas, which began at a Practising Place event in Sheffield in 2014, and can be viewed online here.

Click here to read the essay.