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08/14/2013 / katiemcgivney

Harris Flights: Interview with Lorraine Norris and Bernard Hayes Part 1

Part one of a recent interview with CEO of Preston City Council Lorraine Norris and Corporate Director of Community and Business Services, Bernard Hayes,  their thoughts on urban regeneration through cultural intervention, alongside the possibility of raising the national profile of Preston city are particularly interesting.

When asked about the kind of obstacles those in public arts practice and its adminsitration face, Hayes answered “Non withstanding the project barriers, weather etc, our difficulty in Preston I think is really that we haven’t got a coherent arts and culture partnership where we can bring all the partners from all the arts and cultures centres together, so we can work together on these projects and benefit on the cross-fertilization of ideas and thats something the council is really keen to put in place moving forward”.

Hayes added, “We certaintly want to involve our community and arts groups in being able to put on public performances. Harris Flights is a fabulous opportunity to kickstart this. We are moving forward wanting to put on the flag market, which is a fabulous performance space for Preston, a series of performances of community arts events and cultural events throughout the summer and we’re trialing that going forward this year”.

When asked about what she hopes the city of Preston will take away from the intervention Norris commented, “I hope there will perhaps be a discovery of some of the talent that is actually in the city for some people, and that we might be able to bring in some exciting things from outside the city, but the main thing really is we want to encourage people’s enagement in cultural activity open new experiences to them, some of which I’m sure they’ll love and some of which they may say well thats not for me” adding “this is an opportunity for some of our homegrown talent to which there is plently in Preston to use this as a blank canvas to offer to people”.

Norris also provided some insight into the legacy of the guild stating, “We knew that when we came out of Guild year we’d certainly have a challenge to sustain that level of activity because we just did not have the resourses to keep that going moving forward, but our objective has been to say we would like to bring activity into the city centre, we would like to have on offer in the city centre on a regular basis some sort of cultural, lesiure, entertainment experience as part of a reason for being in the city centre as a draw to bring people in. The Harris Flights is really the first one of those post-guild experiences, one of the things that attacted us to this project was the ability to have multiple events”.

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