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08/20/2013 / katiemcgivney

Harris Flights: Interview with Alex Walker Part 2

Part two of a recent interview with Alex Walker, head of arts and heritage at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

Once again the topic of building upon the Preston Guild’s legacy came up, in which I found Alex’s comment that, “Harris Flights is very much inspired by the guild and the way all the community groups came together to produce something really special (…) the animation of the flights is dependent on hundreds of people at different points getting involved and participating” highly relevant.

When asked about the navigation the building walker commented, “The Harris gets a lot of visitors, but we do have a slightly difficult entrance in that you don’t come in the front, you come in at the sides, and the face that the museum presents onto the market square has this big wall which is not particularly inviting (…) we don’t want to be imposing we want to be inviting this (Harris Flights) will be an informal sort of entrance to the museum and it will only be temporary, although there will be some people I’m sure who will upon seeing the steps be drawn into the building for the first time”

On whether the project will inspire long term fixtures and changes to the the city Alex suggested, “This is part of an intention by the council to make the city more animated, in particular the area around the market square theres been a lot of work done to make it more welcoming, the pavings been relayed, theres work going on currently on the war memorial which will look absolutely beautiful once its finished and this project will demonstrate what a fantastic space the market square is as a venue for all sorts of events and activities including cultural and artistic events.”

On the topic of regernative effects the project may produce Walker offered, “Well we all know that city centres are having difficult times at the moment, theres the draw of internet shopping and out of town shopping and town centres in order to draw people in have to offer new sorts of experiences that you can’t get normally ordering something off Amazon and so having activities happening in the city centre we hope will encourage more people to come in and use the city centre to feel alive”

When asked about Preston’s creative community, Walker commented, “We have got a great creative community in Preston and its developing month by month, theres new emerging arts organisations that have appeared in the city in the last five years or so (…) the Harris Flights will provide a showcase for many of those groups to show their work and talent”

Lastly on the topic of gaining a national profile for the city Walker infered, “This project is a little bit wacky, a little bit unusual, its quite striking were taking a very sort of serious monumental building and doing something temporarily to it to give it a completely different aspect and to have lots of poeple animated, using it and occupying it (…) so hopefully it will capture the attention of people beyond Preston”. She also went on to comment that everyone who they’ve talked to locally and beyond locally have expressed an interest in the project


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