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08/27/2013 / katiemcgivney

Harris Flights: Interview with Joanna Heaton

“Its a unique experience” UCLan’s public engagement manager, Joanna Heaton on the Harris Flights installation, part of her job requires her to help UCLan’s researchers link up with groups outside the university.

Heaton intoned that one of the main benefits of a featured performance space was the “Bringing together (of) academics and community groups and our students and showing that there are no barriers, that we can all work togther, that performance is as relevant to each of those groups as to the other. Thats a huge part of my role as a public engagement manager, and about taking things out of the university as well, beacause not everybody will come here to UCLan”

Heaton also dicussed her role managing the science fair within the university noting, “Its interesting to see things born at the science festival now taking place at different events in the city”

On what she hopes the city of Preston will take away from the Harris Flights, “Its a unique experience and that these buildings that might look inaccessable and perhaps people don’t see the opportunities within the buildings, if we could get them in there they can see theres something in there for everybody”

On the popular assumption surrounding museums “I think people have a real difficulty, a museum is often seen to be a dull place for many people, but if you could just get them through the door or bring whats inside out to them and show them that there are many ways in engaging them (…) I think for the people of Preston it will hopefully get more people to engage with the Harris who normally would just walk straight past”

In regards to the impact of last years Guild Heaton stated, “Certainly within UCLan the guilds been a real catalyst for people thinking about working accross the institution and outside of the institution with different groups and I think its really raised awareness of what our community is. So from the universities perspective, were not just the university staff and students were a much bigger community and anything like this  that helps to keep the momentum of the guild going is beneficial.”

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