Photo of a large office, with strip lighting and skylight windows. There is a colourful banner to the left of the image and a long table on the right, made from wooden planks. The room is divided by a large bookcase, filled with books and with a model tram in a Perspex case on the top.

In Certain Places is based in the School of Arts & Media at the University of Central Lancashire. It is led by Charles Quick and Elaine Speight with Benedict Rutherford and John Scanlan.

We welcome the opportunity to supervise PhD students undertaking related projects.


Charles Quick

Charles Quick is a Professor of Public Art Practice in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Central Lancashire. He originally co-founded In Certain Places as a partnership with the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library in 2003.

In Certain Places is a public art research project based at the University of Central Lancashire. That creates artworks that challenge how we understand and experience places and foster long-term change by connecting institutions and communities.

Charles has developed an internationally recognised hybrid research practice which combines the production of public art works with tactics to inform policy within places. His research interests have always steamed from an examination of the infrastructures of place; physical, social, historical, and political. In recent years he has worked on a number of projects which investigate through practice the cultural infrastructure of a place leading to the forming of the project MET. The co-produced mobile arts centre provides access to culture for economically disadvantaged communities on the periphery of the city.

Charles is an experienced teacher, artist/researcher, and curator in the public realm. He has contributed permanent and temporary arts projects to cities across the United Kingdom. His work and curatorial projects have been cited in publications and journals across four decades. Thought-out his career Charles has contributed to the forming and development of arts organisations as well as representing the arts at cross disciplinary forums. He currently represents the University of Central Lancashire on the Preston Cultural Framework Board.

Elaine Speight

Elaine Speight is Reader (Associate Professor) in Curatorial Practice and Place in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Central Lancashire. She has co-curated In Certain Places with Charles Quick since 2003, initially as a curator at the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library and as a researcher at UCLan since 2013. 

Elaine’s research interests surround the politics of public space: who gets to make decisions about how our spaces are managed and designed and how artists can help us to reimagine and reclaim our environments. Since becoming a mother in 2017, Elaine has become particularly interested in the experiences of parents. She recently developed the ICP project Feed to promote inclusive, sustainable approaches to infant feeding and public space and to challenge negative social attitudes towards human milk and mothering.

 Elaine is a trustee of the Cumbria-based arts organisation Art Gene, co-editor of the International Journal of Arts & Communities. and co-director of the Institute of Creativity, Communities & Culture

John Scanlan

John Scanlan is a research fellow in Place and Culture with In Certain Places, and is based at UCLan’s West Cumbria campus near Whitehaven. His work involves developing new perspectives on the nature of place and working with a range of local partners in the arts and cultural sectors to promote a sustainable future for the region.

John is also a cultural theorist and historian with an interdisciplinary academic background. He has published many books and articles exploring aspects of experience in modern and postmodern culture, with particular focus on issues such as waste, cultural memory, and the relationship between creativity and place. His work has received national and international recognition, including invited international presentations, television, radio and international media features. He has also worked as a consulting editor for music with Reaktion Books, and has been Series Editor of 'Reverb', a series of books about music and place, since 2010.

Before he joined UCLan in 2017, he held academic positions at the Universities of Glasgow, St Andrews, Bristol, and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Benedict Rutherford

Benedict Rutherford is an artist, researcher and printmaker. In 2014 he was one of four founding directors of The Birley Artist Studios and Project Space, a studio and gallery in the city centre of Preston.

He joined In Certain Places as a research assistant in 2019 to work on the Preston Bus Station anniversary exhibition Beautiful and Brutal and supported its related commissions and projects.

During his time at In Certain Places he has conducted research in support of ICP’s 2021 impact REF submission, and supported projects such as the Creative Infrastructure Labs, and the evaluation of MET 2023 in Ribbleton 

Alongside his own practice he is a member of the collaborative printmaking group Constructure who have exhibited nationally.

He is also part of Paint Preston, a collaboration of visual artists formed in 2020 to promote and commission murals in the city centre. They are delivering a trail of murals across the city centre.  

In Certain Places

VB005A, Victoria Building
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE