Open City was a two-day programme of talks and debates by urban professionals and artists. It also included ‘hands-on’ workshops, which examined the current condition of Preston City Centre and the various plans and aspirations for its future. The event employed Preston as a case study for exploring the contemporary role of ‘mid-sized’ cities in the UK, and presented creative responses to urban development.
The first day included four presentations, which took place at University of Central Lancashire and empty buildings in the city centre, and a walking tour. The second day involved mapping, creating and testing workshops lead by artists Professor Charles Quick and Gisele Bone, architect Ann Vanner and human geographer Dr. Hannah Neate. Delegates undertook mapping exercises, which revealed different perspectives of Preston. This encouraged people to view the city through the eyes of other people, uncovered aspects which are not always visible and generated new ideas for its future. These ideas were then tested through interventions and conversations in the city centre streets.