Practising Place


Practising Place was a programme of events and essays, which explored place related themes through interdisciplinary conversations. Between 2013 and 2019, we developed relationships between artists and academics from fields such as human geography, landscape archaeology, history and sociology, which generated new understandings of places through the sharing of ideas and approaches. These conversations were made public via a series of events across the North and Midlands in venues such as the Bluecoat Arts Centre (Liverpool), Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle), and Nottingham Contemporary; a series of commissioned essays hosted on the Double Negative arts and culture website; and a book of collaborative texts, projects and conversations published by Art Editions North.

Contributors: Rebecca Chesney, Rosemary Shirley, Joanne Lee, Paul Wilson, David Jacques, Les Roberts, Amelia Crouch, David Cooper, Ruth Levene, Ian Nesbitt, Bob Johnston, Madga Stawarska-Beavan, James G Mansell, Emily Speed, Duncan Light, Jenny Steele, David Jarratt, Victoria Lucas, Emma Fraser, William Titley, Steve Millington, Mike Collier, Lubaina Himid

Locations: Bluecoat Arts Centre (Liverpool), Nottingham Contemporary, Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester), Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle), Storey Institute (Lancaster), Sheffield Hallam University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Liverpool Hope University, Uclan
Year: 2013-19
Partners: The Double Negative, Art Editions North


A grid of ten square images, including a field of yellow flowers, a man wearing a hi-vis vest, an empty market hall, a room with an ironing board propped against a wall, a map, a snowy landscape.


Following the Practising Place in-conversation events, we commissioned a series of five essays by the project participants in collaboration with The Double Negative. The essays further explore some of the themes identified during conversations between the artist/academic pairs.

On Being Out Of Place by Rosemary Shirley

Inhabiting the Edge by Les Roberts

Tracking the Process of Abandonment by Emma Fraser

Unveiling the Sediments by Steve Millington

Urban Vibrations by James G Mansell



The Practising Place book explores our relationship with place through a collection of co-authored texts, visual essays, creative projects and conversations between the artists and academics involved in the initial conversations programme. Featuring new and existing artworks and covering a range of themes, including rural mythologies, urban noise, boundaries and seaside nostalgia, this highly visual book demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary discourse and presents an approach to the study of place as a creative and critical practice.

The publication, which features a foreword by Lubaina Himid, includes creative explorations of places across the North of England – including a Cumbrian Center Parcs resort, Stanlow Oil Refinery, working-men’s clubs, Manchester Central Library and the edgelands of Preston and Sheffield ­– as well as more general themes, such as urban planning and digital space.

The book was launched in March 2019 at an event at the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester), which included readings, film screenings and talks by authors Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Rebecca Chesney, Rosemary Shirley, Amelia Crouch and David Cooper, and Director of Art Editions North, Mike Collier.

The book is available to purchase from Cornerhouse Publications.

Two chapters in the book make reference to media content, which can be viewed and listened to below:


'Oil is the Devil's Excrement by David Jaques'

'Resonating Silence' by Magda Stawarska

In Certain Places

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