The morning programme will feature presentations by artist Loraine Leeson and geographer Tim Cresswell.

Loraine Leeson: From the Docklands

The Young Person¹s Guide to East London © Loraine Leeson, 2009 Web site being created with hundreds of East London teenagers to represent their view of what is good about this area for visitors to the London 2012 Olympics and as an ongoing resource for local youth.

Loraine Leeson will discuss her work of the eighties with the Docklands Community Poster Project which, over ten years, became the cultural arm of an East London campaigning community. She will consider some of the lessons learned during this period which have continued to inform the sense of place in her art practice to this day. Amongst these are the development and representation of alternative strategies as a political tool and the benefits of collaboration across discipline, class and locality which underpinned the work of that time. Loraine will also consider the role of technology in facilitating and transforming social engagement, drawing examples from her early use of photomontage to some of her current web projects involving hundreds of local young people in global communication. She will look at community based art practice both as a response to and result of regeneration strategies, plus some of the issues arising from the artist commissioning programmes that proliferated prior to the recent economic crisis. Her presentation will conclude with reflection on what may usefully be learned from the experience of this practice for future policy, planning and implementation in the field of public art.

Loraine Leeson is a visual artist, visiting research fellow at the University of East London and founding director of cSPACE, an arts organisation supporting local communities in the expression of collective vision and aspiration. Since the early eighties her work through the Docklands Community Poster Project and The Art of Change involved engagement around a variety of issues, particularly regeneration of the urban environment. Loraine’s practice has regularly interfaced with education and since the mid-nineties imaginative use of digital media and the Internet have informed her work with young people. One such project, VOLCO, is an evolving planet in cyberspace constructed by over a thousand children connecting across geographic and cultural divides. The Catch public artwork for Barking, involving primary school children, has since been designated a London 2012 landmark. Her Cascade mentoring scheme linked three levels of education around themes of regeneration over several years. She is currently working on the production of a Young Person’s Guide to East London with teenagers across the region and Active Energy, which takes an interdisciplinary and intergenerational approach to renewable energy. Art for Change, a retrospective exhibition documenting thirty years of her practice, recently toured Berlin, London Toronto and Dublin. Loraine has just completed a PhD examining methodologies of social engagement through art and their impact on social change.

Paul Goodwin

Paul Goodwin will be presenting in place of Tim Cresswell who is unable to attend (presentation details to follow).

Paul is a geographer, urban theorist and curator. He is an Associate Fellow at CUCR and Curator of Cross Cultural Programmes at Tate Britain. His research interests are in the fields of the history and theory of urbanism, critical theories of modernism and difference, black French culture and politics and the intersection between critical theories of the city and spatial design.

At the CUCR Paul is developing a number of projects under the umbrella theme of Re-Visioning Black Urbanism, an exploration of new modes of inhabiting, imagining and making cities from progressive black and culturally diverse perspectives.

The afternoon programme will include a choice of one of four tours of Preston city centre, followed by  feedback and discussion. When booking, please indicate your preference of tour on the booking form. The tours are:

1. Tanpopo Tour by Rebecca Chesney

Tanpopo tour

Preston is host to intruders, aliens and escaped chancers – thriving alongside natives in back streets and adapting to the harsh, inhospitable conditions of the urban landscape.  Have these inhabitants always been resident? Are they accidental tourists or perhaps the offspring of invited guests?  The Tanpopo Tour of Preston takes you to some of the weed hotspots of the city – revealing how plant species from all over the world have come to settle in this unlikely habitat.

Rebecca Chesney is an artist based in Preston. Her work looks at rural and urban landscapes, changing environments and human activity. In 2006 Chesney conducted a weed survey of Preston city centre that revealed over 70 different species of plant within the urban environment. With dandelions being one of the most common species in the city Chesney began to investigate the plant further. Her research has led to a trip to Japan where the European dandelion Taraxacum officinale is now considered an alien invasive species that is out-competing its native counterpart Taraxacum japonicum. Visit the artist’s Dandelion blog to find out more about the project.  Chesney is currently artist in residence at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where she is investigating honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees around the site.

2. The world through Avenham by Emma Heslewood

Avenham. Image taken from Emma Helslewood for a look at some of the global stories connected with Preston’s first Victorian ‘suburb’ Avenham; an area which has nurtured new inventions, ideas and faiths but also felt the full impact of economic and social change.

Emma Heslewood is Keeper of History at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery with a particular interest in industrial and social history, film and photography.

3. Here & There by William Titley

'Woman' by William TitleyWilliam’s tour will explore the idea of hybrid spaces by navigating Preston using a map from Lahore, Pakistan. The physical negotiation of Preston, mixed with the artist’s own memory of Lahore will create another space in the minds of participants: a virtual space, a new space. The tour will consist of meanderings through ‘here’ and descriptions of ‘there’ to challenge our experience of place through walking, talking and the imagination.

Often employing elements of community consultation to engage directly with place and people, William’s projects explore ideas of location, identity and spatial ownership. Utilizing local resources to facilitate projects and often empowering communities, his work acts as a catalyst for dialogue and reflection: from archive interventions, documentaries and exhibitions, to private commissions, performative curation and community workshops.

4. Banks and Buskers – contrasting threads making the fabric of Fishergate by Catriona Stamp

Catriona Stamp invites you to examine the threads of time and interplay of global influences that have come together to create the fabric that is the high street of Preston by looking at the stories behind some of the buildings on Fishergate.

Catriona is an artist currently studying an MA at UCLan in Fine Art (Site and Archive Intervention).   Her recent work examines human interaction within natural and built environments, today and in the past. Within her main practice as a maker of artists books, she combines visual and narrative expression, and incorporates ecological and social perspectives.


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