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08/28/2013 / katiemcgivney

Harris Flights: Interview with Rod Dubrow-Marshall

Recently I was lucky enough to interview UCLan’s pro-vice chancellor, Rod Dubrow- Marshall who works closely with Preston City Council and various other arts groups to grow connections across the city, working in partnership to create events like Harris Flights.

In particular, I found his thoughts on the benefits of having a space for community groups as well as professional performers, and students from UCLan highly interesting in which he stated, “Preston city centre doesn’t have a performance space like this, obviously its a massive addition to the city to have that space thats freely available, thats freely bookable that artists of all different kinds can use and I think its really transformed that part of preston city centre, in the time its been up (…) I think its great theres that kind of open air auditorium that people can come and perform, test out and experiment, be creative”. Also saying, “I know from talking to some people who’ve already been on the steps theres a clamour for that space to happen more often”.

When asked what will the city of Preston take away from the Harris Flights, Dubrow-Marshall commented “I think they’ll take away that Preston really is a hotbed of creativity, theres an awful lot of creative and diverse talent in the city and Harris Flights has brought it together in one place, its displaying that rich panoply of events and performances, and thats something that needs to be captured and tapped into the future.”

On the regenerative effects the project might produce Marshall suggested, “I think it brings people into the city, it also potentially brings artists and creative talent (…) from the universities point of view students on creative arts programmes, are also having the opportunity to showcase what they are doing to a wider audience,  which means Preston is more of a magnet for capital (wherein) people are interested in investing not only their money, but also their time and creative talent, in projects based in the city.

He goes on to suggest that potentially it can have a regenerative effect” noting that “physically, of course, its an area that much of the time is empty, and therefore we have through this project completely turned it around and turned it into a space thats full of activity that people are coming to a lot more than normal. So for a temporary period the city centres being regenerated. The real question is how to build on that more permanently of course”

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