Film launch explores Adelphi Square’s future – for Preston’s university and its residents

Posted on - 15th August, 2020 - 1:37pm | Author - | Posted in - Friargate, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment, UCLan, University campus
A still from the new film, Adelphi
A still from the new film, Adelphi

The launch of a film about Adelphi Square has sparked discussion about what the future holds for the new public space.

Blog Preston hosted the live launch of Adelphi – a 15 minute creative documentary about UCLan’s new public square and its surrounding spaces – with one of the film’s makers, Jonny Randall, and Charles Quick, who is Professor of Public Art Practice at UCLan and co-curator of In Certain Places.

As well as premiering the film itself, Jonny and Charles answered questions from Blog Preston and viewers at home.

Watch the film, Adelphi:

'Adelphi' film by Jonny Randall and Tom Diffenthal from In Certain Places on Vimeo.

Watch the live launch:

'Adelphi' Launch Event from In Certain Places on Vimeo.

Read some of the highlights from the discussion:

Jonny on Adelphi being designed as a conversation starter

“We made a decision not to do a documentation of the start and end of the process of building – instead the film is about speculating on what the space might be, and what kinds of things might happen there. How might it be used by people.

“We also wanted to look at possibilities and embrace uncertainty – you can plan all you want but there’s no way of knowing what will happen.”

Charles on how the Square will physically link to the city centre

“The university and the city have been working hard to perhaps in future pedestrianise Friargate, and change Ringway to make it more pedestrian friendly. On Friargate, you can walk across the world by eating in different places, and you get a real mixture of people, not just students.

“The Square could link the university via Friargate so much more with the city. With the Flag Market, the space in front of the bus station and Avenham Park, Preston will be a premier city for outdoor spaces.”

Jonny on the new square bringing the people of the university and the city together

“In making the film I found local people felt they’d had input in consultancies and the building process, but it also seemed like there was a sense of a students and residents divide in the city. That’s something I would hope the creation of this space can address. It’s important to see it as a shared space and somewhere that offers events and other things that are for both sets of people.

“When I spoke to the florist Margaret Mason, she put it wonderfully: ‘I want it to not be us and them but us’. Hopefully the Square will bring everyone together, not just as audience members but as instigators of events.”

Read more: UCLan prepares campus for safe return of students during welcome week

Charles on the importance of outdoor spaces in a Covid-19 world

“With Covid-19, all our spaces are changing. We even navigate streets in a different way than we used to; there are different cycle lanes and stickers on the floor to queue at shops. Covid will have an influence on the Square.

“In some ways it’ll be helpful for the university to have a large outdoor space, which it doesn’t currently have. Outdoor spaces are becoming more valuable, so we’ll see how it can be of use when it opens in Spring next year.”

Charles on continuing the conversation

“We all feel like owners of public spaces such as parks, even if we don’t own the deeds. That’s the measure of success of a public space – that it’s a place where people feel they have the freedom to express themselves and it doesn’t just belong to the organisation or the council.

“We welcome comments through this article. We’re also discussing forming a group to connect the community and the university, so we can use the space to the best possible advantage.”

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

What questions do you have about the new Adelphi Square and the possibilities of how it will be used? Let us know in the comments.

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