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The Harris unveils new space celebrating diversity and identity

15 March 2024

The Harris, Preston's cultural hub, is thrilled to unveil the newly imagined First Floor Balcony. This revitalised space is designed with a clear purpose: to immerse visitors in a blend of library services, art and museum collections.

Scheduled to reopen in 2025 as part of the ambitious £16 million Harris Your Place project, The Harris is on a mission to provide an unparalleled experience for its visitors.

Central to the vision of the First Floor Balcony is a dynamic display of portraits, sculptures, and historical artefacts curated to delve into the themes of identity and belonging. The Harris is committed to developing its collections to tell more diverse stories and encourage conversations about people's individual sense of identity and their identity in relation to others. The Harris is keen for all of visitors to encounter something that speaks to them and their lived experience.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council said:

"Our goal at The Harris is to cultivate a strong sense of identity and belonging. We believe that by showcasing diverse artwork and stories, visitors will be able to connect with others through shared experiences and find elements of themselves or their history within our collections and exhibitions. The First Floor Balcony is a testament to our commitment to creating a space that celebrates the richness and diversity of Preston."

The First Floor Balcony will serve as a platform for rotating displays, offering an authentic space for Preston community groups to share their stories. Starting with an exhibition spotlighting Preston's Caribbean community, visitors will be immersed in the rich tapestry of the city's multicultural heritage.

Anticipate a range of exhibitions within the space, from portraits celebrating Prestonians to explorations of evolving self-expression styles, along with collections commemorating the city's footballing history and interactive installations for deeper engagement with the collection.

While The Harris currently operates from alternative local spaces, it has exciting plans for pop-up exhibitions and events in 2024, building anticipation for the grand reopening in 2025.

More information

Image credit: Planning and design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

About the Harris

Established in 1893, The Harris, a Grade I listed building, is owned and managed by Preston City Council. Renowned as one of the region's premier museums, galleries, and libraries, The Harris hosts art collections and activities catering to all ages. With over 380,000 visitors in 2018/2019, it remains a cornerstone of cultural engagement in Preston.

We are currently delivering Harris Your Place, a major capital project made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; Towns Fund; Preston City Council; Lancashire County Council; the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; DCMS; Arts Council England, public donations and a wide range of Trusts and Foundations. For more details visit The Harris - Harris Your Place.

The magnificent Grade I Listed building is poised to reopen in 2025, offering a diverse array of events and activities.