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08/14/2013 / katiemcgivney

In response to ‘The pop-up designs changing the city landscape’

Having been a research intern on the Harris Flights project for over seven weeks now in addition to interviewing people, familiarising myself with public arts practice and its related discourses, the internship has also seen me cultivate an interest in other temporary art projects sporting a similar ethos to the regenerative Harris Flights. In which, I recently came across the following Guardian/Observer article, ‘The pop-up designs changing the city landscape’ (Moore, 2013) and found its inclusion of a variety of temporary interventions including but not limited to, a floating cinema and a refurbished car-park highly interesting as Moore (2013) notes

‘These are pop-ups, temporary constructions intended to enliven public places (…) initiate, design and build these glimpses of what a better city – more open, more social, more pleasurable, more surprising – might be. Often pop-ups defy economic gravity, relying on unfeasibly large quantities of unpaid enthusiasm and persistence in getting stuff on the cheap. (…) They are reminders that, for all its apparent fixity, built space is always in motion, always prone to being readapted and reimagined. At their best they use temporary pleasures to make permanent changes to the way people can inhabit their neighbourhoods.’


First day of construction on the Harris Flights – Photograph: Bernie Blackburn

One thing I did find disconcerting within the article was the lack of coverage on interventions situated within the North West, in which Harris Flights would have been an interesting case study to include, embodying Moore’s description accurately.

Through recent interviews with members from the institutions involved in the delivery of the Harris Flights, one of the largest strands of debate that has emerged concerned whether or not the project will raise the national profile of Preston. Opinions have been divided; while some felt Preston should receive recognition in the same vain Liverpool and Manchester have as embodying the attributes of a cultural capital. Others have stated that the projects intended audience is the city and the surrounding area of Preston, noting their opinions and viewpoints are those the projects hopes to have the biggest influence on.


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