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.


The Expanded City symposium

Image by Gavin Renshaw

Image by Gavin Renshaw.

Thurs 16th June
10am – 4pm (bus pick up from Preston railway station at 9am)
Woodplumpton and District Club, Preston
Tickets £10 (a number of free tickets are also available)
Click here for the full programme and to book a place

In Certain Places invite you to take part in The Expanded City symposium – a day of presentations, conversations and site visits within the ‘City Deal’ areas of Preston.

The symposium is part of a three-year programme of artworks and events, also entitled The Expanded City, which aim to raise questions and 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 – and the wider issues associated with contemporary approaches to urban planning.

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. In Certain Places has been invited to inform these developments, and the Expanded City symposium is the first in a series of activities, which will take place until 2019. Alongside presentations about urban demographics by economist Paul Swinney, and the production of community spaces by multidisciplinary design collective The Decorators, the day will also include presentations of work-in-progress by artists Olivia Keith, Gavin Renshaw, Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene , and writer Lauren Velvick, who have been undertaking action research in the City Deal areas.

The symposium will take place in Woodplumpton and District Club, and will include a bus tour of the City Deal areas and lunch at a country pub. The bus will also collect participants from Preston Railway Station, and return them following the event.

Tickets are £10 and include pub lunch and bus travel. A limited number of free tickets are also available for independent artists and Preston residents. Email info@incertainplaces.org to reserve a free place.

Click here to read Lauren Velvick’s blogposts about the Expanded City project.


Vocal Landscapes: bodies, language and place

Detail from 'Hither and Thither' by Amelia Crouch, 2015

Wed 1st June, 2016
6pm – 8pm
Number 70, Oxford Street, Manchester
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 Amelia Crouch in conversation with literary geographer Dr. David Cooper.

The event, which will take place at Number 70 in Manchester, will examine the role of language within experiences of place. Referencing locations such as the Lake District and the West Yorkshire estate of Whitley Beaumont, Cooper and Crouch will discuss how forms of language are used to govern, frame and re-inscribe particular places. Drawing on their individual research, the speakers will also consider how place writing and visual art can expose the inherent tensions and hidden voices of landscapes, by attending to the intertextuality of place.

About the speakers:

Amelia Crouch is an artist whose work plays with words as simultaneously material and symbolic signifiers. Her work is often inspired by a particular location, and projects have included using words to describe visual images, creating an artist’s book from interviews with members of the public, and mimicking the language of public signage to inform people’s encounters with a place. She is particularly interested in the interaction of visual and verbal modes of representation, linguistic ambiguity, and bodily or spatial codes, such as shaking hands or walking in the landscape.

Click here to visit Ameila’s website

David Cooper is Senior Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research focuses on literary geographies: the ways in which creative writers (primarily poets) think geographically; and how contemporary theoretical thinking on space, place and landscape can inform critical practices. Areas of interest include: post-war/contemporary British and Irish landscape writing; literary cartography and digital mapping; and the relationship between critical and creative practices. The Lake District commonly features as a testing ground for his approaches and ideas.

Click here to visit David’s research 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.

‘Vocal Landscapes’ is hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University.

(Image: Detail from ‘Hither and Thither’ by Amelia Crouch, 2015)


Homing by Jen Southern – original letters from WW1 soldiers are the basis for a new sonic art work

Homing by Jen Southern and Sam Thulin

Homing by Jen Southern and Sam Thulin.

From Saturday 21 May at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston.

  • Saturday 21st May 11am – 4pm. Meet the artists and experience the work.
  • Wednesday 25 May 5 – 6.30pm. Launch event. Meet the artists, hear more about the project and experience the work. Refreshments available

Homing is a sound art work created by artists Jen Southern and Sam Thulin with the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire. The experience begins at the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum & Art Gallery and moves out onto the Flag Market and the Cenotaph. The work is accessed through headphones.

Homing uses sound to make connections at a distance; between presence and absence, people and place, displacement and home.

The work is based on the original letters of Preston soldiers serving in the front line trenches of World War 1, taken from the archives of Lancashire Infantry Museum. The letters are testament to the attempts of soldiers and their loved ones to keep in touch despite the distances and atrocities of the war. The distance was not only physical; the longer the war continued the greater the distance in life experience between soldiers and those at home. Each letter represents an attempt to bridge that gap and, as much as is said, more is left unsaid or is unsayable.

At the Roll of Honour, a sound composition from the cemeteries at the Somme can be heard, with all the sensory qualities of the local conditions; wind, rain, whistling, stonework. Out on the Flag Market, these sounds give way to fragments of stories from the men in the trenches; a stilted marriage proposal, an enquiry about health, a thank you for kippers sent through the post, a description of daily conditions and accounts of the terrible realities of the conflict.

Approaching the Cenotaph, the soldiers’ words are disrupted by ever intensifying GPS interference. This distant, targeting technology of modern day warfare, creates a sonic fog through which individual voices can no longer be heard, reflecting the difficulty of communication through the constant battle between signal and noise.

Homing contrasts the modes of communication used in WW1 and contemporary war. Voices from the harrowing fight on the front collide with the current technology that emphasises accuracy, immediacy and removal of the body from warfare, but that cannot know the context on the ground.

Photographs, drawings and letters belonging to the soldiers can also be seen in the first floor cabinets at the Harris Museum.


Urban vibrations: selfhood, sound and the city

Detail from Kraków to Venice in 12 hours by Magda Stawarska-Beavan, 2013.

Detail from Kraków to Venice in 12 hours by Magda Stawarska-Beavan, 2013.

As part of the Practising Place programme, In Certain Places is proud to present an evening with artist Magda Stawarska-Beavan in conversation with historian Dr. James Mansell.

The event, which will take place at Nottingham Contemporary, will examine the politics of urban sound through reference to Stawarska-Beavan’s and Mansell’s individual research. Discussing issues of memory, anxiety and personal/public space, the speakers will examine urban noise as a site of contestation. Sharing their respective approaches to researching, collecting and editing city sounds, they will discuss the complex spatial narratives revealed by urban soundscapes, and explore how art and historical methods can encourage different forms of ‘critical listening’.

The event will also provide an opportunity to purchase East [hyphen] West, Sound Impressions of Istanbula limited edition publication and vinyl record by Magda Stawarska-Beavan, for the special price of £20.

About the speakers:

Magda Stawarska-Beavan’s practice is primarily concerned with the evocative and immersive qualities of sound. She is interested in how soundscape orients us and subconsciously embeds itself in our memories of place, enabling us to construct personal recollections and, moreover, it offers the possibility of conveying narrative to listeners who have never experienced a location. She works predominantly with sound, moving image and print, often connecting traditional printmaking processes with new technologies such as digital audio.

Click here to visit Magda’s website

Dr. James Mansell is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in the Department of Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham, where he also co-directs the Nottingham Sensory Studies Network, a research cluster supporting sensory work across the disciplines. His research has focused on the cultural history of sound and hearing, sound media, and on histories of sonic modernity and modernism. His forthcoming book The Age of Noise in Britain: Hearing Modernity will be published in the autumn by the University of Illinois Press.

Click here to visit James’s research 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 in the North of England, and explores a specific aspect of place by bringing artists together with people from different backgrounds, who share a common area of interest. Click here to find out more.


The People’s Canopy is selected as an Architizer A+ Awards Finalist

We are delighted to announce that The People’s Canopy has been selected as a Finalist in the Architizer A+ Awards, placing the work amongst a handful in the world competing for the two most sought after awards: The Architizer A+ Jury Award and the Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award. The online public chooses the Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award and public voting is open until April 1st. 

The People’s Canopy was the result of a year-long collaboration between In Certain Places and People’s Architecture Office (PAO), Beijing. Designed by PAO, on the theme of the city as a meeting place, the Canopy took centre stage at last year’s inaugural Lancashire Encounter Festival. It has since exhibited at the Beijing Culture and Art Center and taken part at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture, Hong Kong 2015/16. It will shortly also be found at the Shekou Design Museum, founded by China Merchants and the V & A, in Shenzhen.

If you would like to support The People’s Canopy choice and help it to win at the Architizer A+ Awards, cast your vote here! Winners will be announced on 12th April.




The Expanded City

Photo 06-11-2015, 13 49 45

We are very happy to announce our new programme of research based artworks, The Expanded City.

For 10 years In Certain Places has focused on and shaped developments within the city centre of Preston. The Expanded City extends the methods and approaches refined over the last decade to new contexts and locations; the city’s edges.

What are the contributions artists can make to the external perceptions and internal experiences of inner city and suburban places? How can that inform debate about the imminent future of these places in terms of urban planning and cultural provision?

The Expanded City has been developed in response to an invitation from Preston City Council, to inform a programme of infrastructure projects on the outskirts of the city proposed by a £430m City Deal scheme.

The City Deal scheme aims to deliver new jobs and housing, by addressing strategic transport, environmental, community and cultural infrastructure challenges. In the first stage of The Expanded City project commissioned artists Olivia Keith, Gavin Renshaw, and duo Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene will investigate the physical and cultural topography of the outskirts of Preston, ‘deep mapping’ the areas marked for growth.

The artists share an interest in boundaries, routes, edges and the urban/rural binary, and work across a range of media, including film, photography and performance. The commissions will explore the social and physical aspects of the places, their relationships with the city centre and the potential implications of planned developments.

Gavin Renshaw is interested in the perception of architecture in the landscape, and the notion of a romantic purity in navigating by the landscape and architectural markers that have become obsolete.

Olivia Keith is concerned with the traces of tradition and historical context that are able to ‘make it through’ an overlaying by new development and bureaucratic re-drawing of boundaries.

Ian Nesbitt’s practice is socially engaged, often driven by the people that he encounters, and in collaboration with Ruth Levene, the two artists have developed a process whereby they record journeys taken or pilgrimages made in parallel, being careful not to influence each other’s initial outputs.

Writer and curator Lauren Velvick will be contextualising and providing a critical narrative for the development of the work of the artists in a regular Expanded City blog.

The artwork will be profiled at The Expanded City Symposium in the late spring, a one day event which will critically explore the ideas and issues that arise during the research process.  A final presentation and publication of the work will take place in the autumn.