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The Expanded City

Date uploaded: March 23, 2016

The Expanded City is a new programme of research-based public artworks, curated by In Certain Places at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK. Developed in response to an invitation from Preston City Council, and supported by Arts Council England, The Expanded City will inform a programme of infrastructure projects on the outskirts of the city proposed by a £430m City Deal Scheme.

In Certain Places is a programme of participatory artworks, interventions, talks, debates and events which examine how artists can contribute to the form and functions of a place. Established in 2003, the programme has involved people throughout Lancashire, the UK and internationally as audiences, participants and collaborators within the production of ambitious and inspiring artworks.

For 10 years In Certain Places has focused on and shaped developments within the city centre of Preston. The Expanded City extends the methods and approaches refined over the last decade to new contexts and locations; the city’s edges.

What are the contributions artists can make to the external perceptions and internal experiences of inner city and suburban places? How can that inform debate about the imminent future of these places in terms of urban planning and cultural provision?

The City Deal scheme aims to deliver new jobs and housing, by addressing strategic transport, environmental, community and cultural infrastructure challenges. In the first stage of The Expanded City project commissioned artists Olivia Keith, Gavin Renshaw, and duo Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene will investigate the physical and cultural topography of the outskirts of Preston, ‘deep mapping’ the areas marked for growth.

The artists share an interest in boundaries, routes, edges and the urban/rural binary, and work across a range of media, including film, photography and performance. The commissions will explore the social and physical aspects of the places, their relationships with the city centre and the potential implications of planned developments.

Gavin Renshaw is interested in the perception of architecture in the landscape, and the notion of a romantic purity in navigating by the landscape and architectural markers that have become obsolete.

Olivia Keith is concerned with the traces of tradition and historical context that are able to 'make it through' an overlaying by new development and bureaucratic re-drawing of boundaries.

Ian Nesbitt’s practice is socially engaged, often driven by the people that he encounters, while Ruth Levene's work reveals the systems that shape our everyday lives. In collaboration the two artists have developed a process whereby they record journeys taken or pilgrimages made in parallel, being careful not to influence each other’s initial outputs.

Writer and curator Lauren Velvick will be contextualising and providing a critical narrative for the development of the work of the artists in a regular Expanded City blog.

The artwork will be profiled at The Expanded City Symposium in the late spring, a one day event which will critically explore the ideas and issues that arise during the research process.  A final presentation and publication of the work will take place in the autumn.

For further information click here or contact [email protected] or [email protected] 01772 893204.