Harris – call for critical friend and project advisory group members

Harris – call for critical friend and project advisory group members

Per Harris’ Community Empowerment Guidelines, two new opportunities have emerged to apply to become part of a Critical Friend and Program Advisory Group.

Harris Your Place is the ambitious project that is redefining the city of Preston and reinventing Harris as a 21st century community, culture and learning space. Due to reopen in 2024, The Harris remains focused on providing service to the local community.

With a desire to authentically represent diversity within Preston, the Harris want their community to have a voice, to be involved in the decisions that affect them, and most importantly, to know they are being listened to.

critical friend

A group or organization from the Preston community, volunteer or faith area to form a supportive group, preferably two to eight people from the same group/organization who can ask difficult questions using critical thinking to assess a situation that needs improvement.

The Harris want to be accountable to the critical friend as they embark on a journey to focus more on the community. In return, applicants gain access to training programs, research trips, personal development and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Program Advisory Group

The Harris aims to form a group of six to eight program advisors who can offer suggestions, bring positivity and a fresh perspective, ask difficult questions, and use their local knowledge and experience to create new exhibits and events that are relevant to people from Preston.

The group will help select new exhibits and have a say in what exhibits, activities and events they would like to see at Harris.

The group will work together on ideas for public events that engage the Preston community and share positive, creative ideas and suggestions.

Councilor Peter Kelly, Cabinet Member for Cultural and Recreational Services at Preston City Council, said:

“We need help shaping Harris’ future to ensure we reflect the voices of local communities as we move through this exciting time of transformation.

“Local communities are of paramount importance to us, their involvement and opinions are valued and taken into account in all our work. This approach represents a new way of working for museums, taking a collaborative and co-curated approach to our program decisions to ensure Harris truly meets the needs of visitors and communities. Working in this manner will ensure that the Harris program and offerings reflect the diversity of our visitors and communities and ensure Harris remains relevant and valued.”

“These two brilliant opportunities will help drive a community-led approach where individuals can express their views on how they would like to see change.”

The Harris is interested in facilitating important conversations by listening and speaking openly to the community to effect change. Both groups should be made up of a mix of people representing different backgrounds and communities. There is a particular interest in hearing from young people, people from different professional backgrounds, people with young families, local creatives and learners, people from underrepresented backgrounds and people acting as representatives of local communities.

Applicants do not need to have any prior knowledge to apply for either opportunity as Harris supports all necessary entry requirements.

The deadline for both options is Monday March 13, 2023. Visit the Harris website for more information about the Critical Friend and the Project Advisory Group, as well as how to register your interest and the application process.

More information

About the Harris

Opened in 1893, the Grade II Listed building is owned and administered by Preston City Council. Based in Preston, Lancashire, The Harris is one of the leading museums, galleries and libraries in the region. Hosting art collections of national importance, exciting activities and events for all ages, and an award-winning contemporary art program, the Harris welcomed over 380,000 visitors in 2018-2019.

We are currently delivering Harris Your Place, a major capital project made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; city ​​funds; Preston City Council; Lancashire County Council; the Treaty between Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City; DCMS; Arts Council England, public donations and a wide range of trusts and foundations.

We will reopen our magnificent heritage building in 2024 and are already working with community partners to provide a program of events and activities during the closure and from day one of reopening.

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