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Pop-Up Events Tent Heading for Preston City Centre this Spring

MET build on site

MET build on site

11 April 2022

Opening May 14 2022, an interactive Mobile Event Tent (The MET) will be installed, as part of Preston's 'Pop-Up' projects, invigorating the city centre and helping to encourage people back into central Preston and supporting businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

The MET will be onsite and situated at the former Indoor Market site from the end of April 2022, and offer a full and free programme of creative events for the community, kicking off with a powerful storytelling event, reflecting on Preston residents' experiences over the last 18 months of the pandemic.

The project is being financed from £1 million of initial funding the city secured from the government's Towns Fund for a series of 'Pop-up' regeneration projects in the Harris Quarter. 

The city received a total of £20.9 million from the Towns Fund in March 2021, to support its wider Harris Quarter Investment Programme.

The contemporary structure of The MET has been designed and developed in Preston, in partnership with architect Charlie Mackeith of Research Design, and Professor Charles Quick of In Certain Places, UCLan. 

The interior walls have been decorated by artist Jenny Steele, who was commissioned to work with Preston City's different cultural groups.

The design is made from specially adapted shipping containers, a state-of-the-art fabric cover, and other materials to create an inspiring 150 square metre space capable of accommodating up to 100 people.

The MET will play a key role in encouraging people back into the city centre, generating economic activity, and providing work for local artists.

After the summer, it is expected that The Met will move on to various other locations across Preston to host community, networking, arts and music events.

Chris Hayward, Director of Development at Preston City Council, said:

"It's a great opportunity to be able to host a diverse city centre events programme, especially while the Harris Museum is undergoing much-needed renovations.

"The interactive and unique space that The Met will provide for residents, will be an excellent boost for the city and as part of the Towns Fund and Preston City Investment Plan."

John Chesworth, Executive Chairman of Harrison Drury Solicitors and Chair of the Preston Towns Fund Board added:

"The Pop-Ups programme is just the start of what will be a sustained programme of investment in the city centre using the Towns Fund money we've secured.

"We're incredibly excited to unveil these plans for The MET which will provide a truly unique event space for arts, culture, and other events including theatre, live music, business conferences, exhibitions and community events.

"The MET will be a valuable asset in attracting people to our City and helping boost the economy."

Professor Charles Quick, Professor of Public Art Practice at UCLan, said:

 "This will be an important piece of community cultural infrastructure, which like projects in the past and present, will not only contribute to the lives of people in Preston and surrounding districts, but will attract attention from much further afield. It will continue the tradition of Preston as somewhere that is the first to test new physical, architectural, and social structures." 

MET Event Listed

  • Saturday 14 May - Eventbrite - All Together But Different, 7pm - 10pm. An immersive performance tells the story of the people of Preston over the last 18 months.
  • Saturday 21 May - Andrew Newcombe: Vision 25-C, 7pm - 10pm. A drop-in to The MET for an interactive sound installation with Andrew Newcombe.
  • Saturday 28 May - Eventbrite - Under Wonderland, 2pm, 4.30pm, 7pm (40 minute performances). Through the Looking Glass has been cleverly re-imagined in an explosion of Funk for the family. The story is told through a thrilling fusion of Hip Hop music and Urban Dance.
  • Saturday 28 May - An Introduction to the Do's and Don'ts of Street Art, 12pm - 4pm, Up-cycle your very own spray can to take home with you. This workshop gives spray cans a new lease of life.  All instructors are fully DBS Checked and operate as drop-in. 
  • Saturday 28 May - Get Funky Learn New Dance Skills & How to Streetdance, 12pm - 4pm. Feel the beat and get moving at these Street/Breakdance workshops delivered by experienced tutors and the cast of Under Wonderland. Workshops will be taking place throughout the day to members of the public wanting to try their hand at some basic dance movements. All instructors are fully DBS Checked and operate as drop-in. 
  • Saturday 28 May - Skateboard Sessions drop-in, 12pm - 4pm. Wingz Skate team are offering sessions throughout the day for anyone who would like to give some basic skating a go. There will be five members of staff on the day delivering these sessions, complete with safety equipment, boards etc. All instructors are fully DBS Checked and operate as drop-in. 

Further Information

  • MET (Mobile Event Tent) which can be used for live performances, screenings, exhibitions and craft events and can be easily moved to different locations in the City. The MET will be initially sited on the cleared former Indoor Market site to support city centre events activity following the lifting of Covid restrictions. Future locations for the MET have still to be determined.
  • Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.

About In Certain Places

Founded in 2003 'In Certain Places' is an internationally recognised curatorial partnership based within the school of Arts and Media at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

In Certain Places explores the meanings and production of place via art-led research and has investigated the ways in which artists generate new understandings of places. Whilst locally specific, the activities connect with wider issues of art practice and place.

Recent large-scale projects in the city have included;

  • The Harris Fights
  • The Peoples Canopy
  • The Beautiful and Brutal, 50 years in the life of Preston Bus Station project. 

The other projects included in Preston's £200 million Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme are:

  • Preston Pop Ups: Bringing together new temporary event space, artworks and improvements to public realm infrastructure, aimed at boosting visitor activity in the Harris Quarter.
  • CEIAG Hub: The creation of a new Careers and Employment, Information, Advice and Guidance Hub in the Harris Quarter.
  • Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets: Investment to support the redevelopment of publicly-owned buildings in the Harris Quarter to support new cultural and community uses.
  • Illuminate and Integrate: A project to deliver improved pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure, street lighting and other public realm improvements within the Harris Quarter.
  • Preston Youth Zone: The development of Preston Youth Zone as a state-of-the-art facility for young people in Preston aged eight to 19.
  • #HarrisYourPlace: The refurbishment of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library, enhancing and protecting the building for generations to come.

For more information visit Invest Preston.

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