Testing Ground

Testing Ground was a professional development project, which aimed 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.

Artists:  Bonnie Craig, Jenny Steele
Location:  PR1 Gallery, 38 St Peter’s Square (Preston)
Years:  2015-6
Partners:  Prof Derek Ward-Thompson, Lancashire Science Festival, Johnstone’s Paint
Funders:  Arts Council of England

‘Looking Back | Moving Forward’ by Jenny Steele

As part of the Testing Ground project, artist Jenny Steele created a site-specific installation in our former research base in a Victorian terraced house, as part of her self-initiated project ‘Looking Back | Moving Forward‘.

The installation drew on her research into Seaside Moderne architecture across the North West of England and Scotland. Seaside Moderne was a style of modernist architecture built in the 1930s between World War I and World War II, during the mid-war leisure boom. During the 1930s, everyday workers were newly allocated annual holidays in the United Kingdom, and used these to travel to the seaside to enjoy themselves away from everyday work toils. Palaces of fun, such as the Blackpool Casino and The Midland Hotel were built to house swathes of people, offering a glamorous place to relax within uplifting and optimistic design. Steele’s installation reflected on the design of the The Midland Hotel, Morecambe, The Blackpool Opera House, The Carron Restaurant and Outdoor Swimming Pool, Stonehaven.

‘St Peter’s Square’ by Bonnie Craig

As part of the Testing Ground project, Bonnie Craig undertook a two-week residency in our former research base in a Victorian terraced house on St Peter’s Square in Preston. During this time, Craig produced site-specific interventions around the building. The final pieces took reference from the history of the house, its inhabitants, the wider context of the industrial revolution and the Arts and Crafts movement. In keeping with the institutional feel of the building since its change of use from being a domestic dwelling to an office, all the interventions were created in white, on the white background of the walls and fittings.

When is a Star a Star? by Bonnie Craig

As part of the Testing Ground project, artist Bonnie Craig worked with astrophysicist  Prof Derek Ward-Thompson, in the School of Physical Sciences & Computing at UCLan, to produce a new body of work, which was exhibited as part of the Lancashire Science Festival.

The exhibition featured a series of prints that explored 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 demonstrated how artists and scientists can work together, bringing new perspectives and processes to each other’s work.

As well as producing the prints, Bonnie also collaborated with visitors to the Science Festival to create a large-scale artwork in the gallery.

In Certain Places

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