Harris Museum, The Birley and In Certain Places have been named among the North’s top 50 cultural organisations

Posted on - 7th January, 2020 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston City Centre, Preston News
The Harris overlooking the Flag Market Pic: Tony Worrall
The Harris overlooking the Flag Market Pic: Tony Worrall

The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, artist-led studio, The Birley, and public art project In Certain Places have been selected as three of the top fifty most socially valuable organisations in the north of England. 


Recognition has come from the seventh annual edition of Hannah Directory, a print publication, website and launch week of events celebrating the great stuff that people are doing in places in England’s north, and asking how even more of it can happen. 

Founded in 2013, the Hannah Directory takes a snapshot capturing some of the year’s best activity in the arts, music, business, new kinds of social organisation, scientific discovery and great stuff from any field.

Read More: Celebrating Preston’s artistic talent with the Harris Open

The directory is named after and inspired by Hannah Mitchell (1872–1956), a suffragette and rebel who tried to create ‘beauty in civic life’ in her work on public libraries, parks and gardens.

Unlike most awards, which only cover one field, Hannah Directory looks for outstanding contributions in any activity that is for the common good of places in England’s north.

The three Preston organisations unite artists, musicians, community groups, digital technology companies, and policy think tanks in the 2020 edition.

The Harris, The Birley and In Certain Places have been selected for this year’s top 50 based on their continuing determination to create high quality work which stands up against the best that can be found in the UK’s largest cities.

Andrew Wilson, coordinator of the Hannah Directory said, “Preston has been punching above its weight as a cultural destination for many years, and the strength of The Birley, the Harris and In Certain Places as innovative organisations which support the artist community are critical to this success”

Looking to the future, The Harris will be building on its success this year by progressing with its £10million #HarrisYourPlace project to revitalise its Grade I listed building and turn it into a community and cultural hub for Lancashire. 

The Birley – which more than tripled in size earlier this year, taking another floor of the building – was recently awarded Arts Council England funding to develop even further.

In Spring 2020 it will announce a series of workshops and activities, leading to a ‘relaunch’ celebration in early Summer.

In 2019, In Certain Places has led the Beautiful and Brutal: 50 Years of Preston Bus Station anniversary project which included two public artworks, PEOPLE by LOWPROFILE and Conductor by Keith Harris, a three month exhibition co-curated with the Harris and a national conference.

Two new publications on art and place, Practising Place and Searching the Shadows, have also been launched.

Read More: ‘Beautiful and Brutal’ exhibition to celebrate 50 years of Preston Bus Station

Tim Joel, Deputy Head of Culture at Preston City Council said, “We’re delighted to see such a strong showing from Preston in the Hannah Directory again this year.

“Preston has a rich cultural mix combining contemporary artist-led studios such as The Birley, with the UCLan-led In Certain Places work as well as our own Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, managed in partnership with Lancashire County Council.

“All deliver high quality cultural experiences alongside the many other community-led and start-up cultural businesses in this growing city.”

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