The Collective Weekender festival (Preston (Sept 9-12, 2021) – call out

Festival of creativity launches in Preston

A new four-day creative arts festival is set to showcase Preston talent – and encourage everybody to take part in the arts.

More info and apply here

The Collective Weekender, taking place in September, has been created by The Brewtime Collective, an independent group of creative practitioners working in the city – a festival created by the people of Preston – for the people of Preston.

The creative arts festival aims to showcase the best creative arts which the city has to offer through 20 individual events.

An event doesn’t necessarily need to be workshops with participants, it can be a performance with an audience, in a venue, or (say) a pop-up in a high street shop, or a workshop, or a talk, or a reading – it can be whatever the creative practitioner wants it to be.

The Larder on Lancaster Road will be the home of the festival, with many of the creative events held there.

Shirley Bailey, project manager and member of The Brewtime Collective, said:The Collective Weekender was originally planned to happen in May 2020, and we’ve twice had to put it back so we’re really excited that we’re finally able to get on and host it in September.

“The artistic intention is that the festival will build on, and strengthen, the growing sense of community amongst Preston’s Creatives and introduce new audiences to Preston’s cultural scene.

“The Collective Weekender aims to showcase some of the brilliant creative talent Preston has to offer.

“We want all of the workshops to be exciting, unusual and, most of all, fun. The idea is that we encourage everyone to come along and see something new or try out a new piece of creativity – and come away with a brilliant experience of Preston’s thriving cultural and creative scene.

“All events are free and will be programmed during the day, over lunchtimes, tea-time, and in the evenings either at The Larder, our lovely Weekender base, or somewhere else in the city centre that creatives might want to use.

“Preston’s independent creatives are invited to submit proposals for quality art happenings, performances, installations, and pop-ups that are characteristic of their practice and great fun for fellow creatives and audiences to experience.” 

Creatives can take part by applying through the public call-out via application packs downloaded from (deadline for applications is Monday, August 09, 2021).

The festival runs from Thursday, September 09 to Sunday, September 12. All sessions are free to attend.

The Brewtime Collective is a self-organised network of independent artists, activists, cultural practitioners, and influencers that have been meeting regularly since 2019. They’re passionate about the arts, creativity and culture in Preston: supporting other creatives, building networks, connecting folks, sharing opportunities, developing collaborations, from a starting point of inclusivity and generosity of spirit.

Bernie Velvick, bid writer, co-project manager and fellow member of The Brewtime Collective, said: “This network building is essential for Preston’s journey toward a vibrant, supportive and sustainable cultural buzz.”

For details of the call out visit or check out the Facebook group

Contact Shirley Bailey on for further details and to get an Application Pack.

The Collective Weekender is funded by the Arts Council and Preston City Council.


Festival dates: September 09 to September 12, 2021
Festival home: The Larder, 50 Lancaster Rd, Preston PR1 1DD.
Twitter: @brew_time_

More info and apply here

Face of Preston – faces wanted for photography project

The Face of Preston – Drop-in sessions

For anyone who lives or works in Preston who wants to be photographed for an arts project.

Photo will be of face only.

I’m particularly interested in representing all communities in Preston – so please step forward to help me represent Preston’s diverse multi-cultural community.

Friday, June 4

11am-1pm – Preston Market (outdoor market, near the hoardings)

2.15pm-2.45pm – outside St Stephen’s Church, Bird Street, Broadgate

Saturday, June 5

11am-12pm – Preston Market (outdoor market, near the hoardings)

12.30pm-1pm – former BHS hoardings, Fishergate (opposite M&S)

These are free sessions – anyone can come along and have their photograph taken.

Reminder of the project:

The Face of Preston is a project to display four large-scale faces (approx. 2.4m high) of people who represent Preston.

The images will be displayed outdoors on the hoardings of the former BHS building on Fishergate, Preston.

There is no guarantee that your image will be one of the four chosen (but it is possible that your image could be part of a future project in Preston – I really hope this is possible).

I will have consent forms to sign before I take your photo (so that I have permission to use the photos in the project and to promote the project).

I will publish the photographs online so that you can get a copy of your image, free of charge.

I will be contacting everyone who has already expressed an interest in taking part in this project.

If you have not previously contacted me you CAN still come along to the photo sessions.

If you can’t make these session on Thursday and Friday it’s still possible I can photograph you – so do get in touch!

List of Lancashire Festivals 2021

With loads of live events beginning to take place, I’ve made a Lancashire list of festivals taking place in 2021.

There will be festivals I’ve missed out – please feel free to get in touch if you would like your festival added (personally, I would love to know about it!)

Please note – I’m not involved in any of these so contact festivals directly for more information.

June 21-30 – Preston Live Arts Festival

July 17 (Sat) – Making a Mark (Harris Museum, Preston)

July 23-25 – Cloudspotting (Gisburn Forest)

July 24 (Sat) – Fleetwood Moves (Marine Hall)

July 24-31 – Waterfoot Wakes (Rossendale)

July 25 (Sun) – Preston Moves (Avenham Park)

Aug 1 (Sun) – Caribbean Carnival (Preston) [VIRTUAL ONLINE EVENT]

Aug 14 (Sat) PrestFest (Flag Market, Preston)

Aug 14/15 (Sat/Sun) – RockPrest (Moor Park, Preston)

Aug 15 (Sun) – Windrush Festival 73 (Hurst Grange Park, Penwortham)

Aug 20-22 – Preston Pop Fest (New Continental, Preston)

Aug 26-29 – Glastonferret (Preston)

Aug 30 (Bank Holiday Monday) – Burnley Canal Festival

Sept 3-5 – HAZ Festival (Burnley)

Sept 3-5 – British Country Music Festival (Blackpool)

Sept 4 (Sat) – Preston Mela

Sept 9-12 – The Collective Weekender (Brewtime/Get Creative) (Preston)

Sept 11 (Sat) – Confessional festival (Blackburn)

Sept 17-Oct 2 – Lancashire Encounter (Preston)

[Sept 26 (Sun) – Preston 10k]

Oct 1-31 – British Textile Biennial (East Lancashire)

Oct 2-12 – Preston Arts Festival

Oct 15-30 – Lightpool (Blackpool)

Nov 5-6 (Fri/Sat) – Light Up Lancaster

[Nov 14 (Sun) – Remembrance Sunday]

Nov TBC – Derelict LIVE (Preston)

Thanks for supporting Lancashire Fringe Festival

Lancashire Photography Festival

Lancashire Photography Festival, Preston, Apr 03, 2021.


Preston – outdoors – on now until May 23

I’ve been blown away by the response to Lancashire Photography Festival.

Holding an outdoors art event like this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s one of those ideas you sometimes have, but never think will actually happen. I had been talking up the idea of an outdoor arts-based festival for two or three years around Preston but could not get anyone interested in doing it with me. But when lockdown came along it quickly became obvious that an outdoors art exhibition at a time when all other arts venues were closed was a no brainer.

I began a massive period of research last summer which started with putting the images of cult artist Cold War Steve in the windows of The Larder on Lancaster Road. I talked to dozens of outdoor photography festivals around the world, plus specialist producers and printers who have staged similar exhibitions, installations and events.

Special thanks during this phase goes to freelance producer Julie Brown, Imitating The Dog’s Simon Wainwright and their projection specialist Andrew Crofts. Nic Greenan, lead of cultural partnership for Bradford City Council could not have been more open and helpful speaking to me about the outdoor photo installations in Bradford. Photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn supported me and the advice and encouragement of Jean-Christophe Godet, the artistic director of Guernsey Photography Festival, gave me the belief that a festival in Preston was possible.

Aimee Grundell’s openness and willingness to talk about her experiences of printing and installing outdoor images was absolutely invaluable. She went on to oversee the printing and installation of the festivals two major exhibitions – John Davies’ landscapes on Winckley Square and Peter Dench’s The British Abroad on the hoardings of the former BHS building on Fishergate. If Jean-Christophe gave me belief and insight to make it all possible, Aimee stepped forward and made the dream a reality.

There was a huge amount of planning for this festival before any image was ever printed. Finding locations and gaining permissions was far from easy. There were a few problems. Quite a few. I did complain to the council a couple of times when things weren’t happening.

I should also give huge thanks to those people who came and helped me install almost 200 images around Preston. It took me a week to put paste the images up and – timewise – I would not have been able to get all this done without people turning up and picking up a brush. For the first three days I had massive help from Teddy Cook and Betsy Byrom, then along came Jill Reidy, Norma Foulds, Charlotte Young, Richard Davis, Dave Bennett, Jill Cross and Ruth Wenham. Then I had huge problems with a five-metre high image of Preston Bus Station – this would not have gone up if it was not for Tarquin Scott and Richard McCann.

It was brilliant to do workshops and engage with over 120 local photographers, with many of them going on to produce six-image documentary photo essays, most of which can be seen at Preston Market hoardings. There are too many people here to mention – including Preston Photographic Society and all the Blackpool Sixth Form College photography students who have taken over windows of The Larder – but I’d like to thank everyone for taking part, and also thank those who helped on the organisation side.

Doing any kind of photography project during lockdown is hard – doing a documentary one is even harder, especially as some people taking part had little or no photography experience. But it was brilliant to see the beautiful and diverse images produced by people who had taken part in the workshops.

And possibly as important as the photographs are the people who have shared information about the festival to all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ve not begun collecting data on this properly (a quick check tells me the #lancsphotofest hashtag has reached 200,000 people) but I know from the multiple mentions and notifications I get every time I look at my phone that this festival has been loved and shared by so many people. I’ve heard countless wonderful stories and read unbelievably kind words about the festival – I was even told that the people of Connecticut, New England, USA, want their own outdoor festival after seeing images from this one in Preston. So if you are one of those people reading this who has shared details about the festival or photographed it – thanks for all your support.

I got funding for this festival from the Arts Council England to develop my own career as a producer. I’m so grateful for them for that. This festival is a move away from my work as a producer with theatre and performance (I also delivered Lancashire Fringe festival in 2017 and 2019 if you didn’t know) but it has been a brilliant experience.

The festival is essentially a pilot – to test ideas and see what works and doesn’t work. Some of what I have done has not worked. Also, there were initial plans for some special events and projection installation but these were dropped because of lockdown and social-distancing concerns. I hope these can be added in the future. I did not have enough money to do some massive full-building prints. Floor prints in the Fishergate Centre didn’t happen because they were closed. If I had a bigger budget, more images would have been cut to fit irregular spaces and window shapes. I hope all that can come if this festival develops into something bigger. For that to happen, I am going to need support from Preston to enable me to develop this festival into a truly unique event in the north of England, if not the UK – and then the world.

And now, with work on the festival done, I now turn my attention to my next project. I just don’t know what it is yet.
But like any good freelance photographer and producer, I’m available for work.

Garry Cook
@gazcook @EnjoyTheShowUK
(Sorry if I forgot to mention anyone)

PS No one has told me if there has been any complaints about the photos of drunk people on Fishergate. But I’m telling you now they’ve made people laugh out loud.

Lancashire Photography Festival – map and line up

Here is thefestival map and details of who is showing images at all 17 locations in Preston.
The festival launches on April 2, 2021 across the city of Preston, Lancashire.

Download the festival pdf here:

1. Landscapes by John Davies (Winckley Square)

John Davies is one of the UK’s leading documentary photographers. His stunning large-scale black and white images of industrialised scenes are recognised around the world. // Twitter: @JohnDaviesLive

2. The British Abroad by Peter Dench (former BHS building, Fishergate)

Photojournalist Peter Dench has tirelessly documented British culture at home and abroad.

The London-based photographer produces beautifully brash colour images depicting brutal scenes of alcoholic excess. Photos from his series The British Aboard are presented here. // Twitter @peterdench // Insta: @denchphoto

3. The History of Preston (former Past Times building, Fishergate)

Seven historical images highlighting significant moments in the history of Preston, including the unveiling of Preston War Memorial, Avenham Park during the 1862 Preston Guild and Edith Rigby.

4. Beauty Spots by Dave Bennett (Old Cock Yard)

During the lockdown, Bennett walked daily for exercise, taking photographs along the route. He documented the increase in the number of people on his country walks, and the incidents which followed. The images were taken in the Peak District. // @djbnet

5. The Mask by Alf Myers (Avenham Street)

Myers is a Preston-based street photographer who focuses on people. This series was taken during lockdown. // Twitter: @AlfMyers // Insta: @alfmyersmono/

6. A Small Dose of Covid by Cory Robinson (Yates’/Co-op bank tunnel)

These stark documentary images were taken at one of the UK’s new mass vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral, one of 18 sites opened earlier this year.


7. Planet Earth by NASA (side of Stanley Arms, Lancaster Road)

This photo of Planet Earth was taken by the Apollo 17 crew on December 7, 1972. Take a selfie of yourself with Planet Earth. // @NASA

8. Preston Bus Station by Ashley Hardman (Lowthian Street, rear of Healthrack)

Preston Bus Station is easily the most iconic building in Preston, known around the world for its striking Brutalism concrete architecture. // Insta: @ashley.hardman.1

9. Protection by Richard Davis (Lowthian Street, rear of Healthrack)

Davis’ work has been exhibited by the British Culture Archive in London, Manchester & Berlin, as well as having work promoted by renowned Preston-based photography publishers Cafe Royal Books. This series of images were taken in Manchester during the pandemic.

Insta: @richarddavismcrphotography // Twitter: @WiredDavis

10. Suspended Travel by Charlie Holt (Lowthian Street)

Images by artist Charlie Holt capture the frustration of being unable to visit both faraway destinations and places closer to home. // Insta: @charlieholtart

11. Living Rooms (Lowthian Street)

Three large-scale living-room portraits by Tyler Duncan (@tyidunky98), Claire Walmsley-Griffiths (@cjgriffithsphoto) and Joe Fenna (@fennaphoto).

12. Photo essays by various photographers (Preston Market hoardings)

Fourteen photographers from across the country – but mostly based in Lancashire – exhibit their photo essays on subjects as diverse as family, loneliness, vaccination and lockdown life.

13. Preston Guild 2012 by Bernie Blackburn (Lancastria House,
Lancaster Road)

Artist Bernie Blackburn has photographed his hometown of Preston for the over two decades.

Twitter @bernieblac

14. Self-portraits by Preston Photographic Society (former Club Arena, Tithebarn Street)

Members of Preston Photographic Society have produced 20 self-portraits for Lancashire Photography Festival. // Twitter: @prestonphoto // Insta: @prestonpps

15. Doorstep Portraits by Zo Taylor (former Tithebarn pub, Tithebarn Street)

Taylor is a Blackpool-based photographer. These Doorstep Portraits were taken during lockdown in 2020 to help raise funds for Streetlife, a charity which supports vulnerable young people in Blackpool. // @ztphotography

16. Blackpool Sixth photography students (The Larder, Lancaster Road)

Over 30 documentary photography images by A Level students from Blackpool Sixth Form College. // Insta: @blackpoolsixthphotography

17. Suspended Boris by Foka Wolf (secret location)

Cult artist Foka Wolf has become one of the UK’s leading satirists by publishing spoof posters and prank adverts. Their installation in Preston, hidden down one of the city’s darkest alleys, is a controversial art work featuring Prime Minister Boris Johnson. // @fokawolf

18 [Blue dots] Moor Park skaters by Garry Cook (various locations)

Twelve life-size images of skaters, scooter riders and BMXers who use Preston Skatepark at Moor Park are sited at various locations across the city, including Tithebarn Street and Old Cock Yard. The images were taken by Garry Cook // @gazcook

Photo festival brief information

There’s a unique outdoor photography festival coming to the streets of Preston in April.

Lancashire Photography Festival will featuring the iconic work of John Davies and the bold, brash imagery of Peter Dench, the festival launches on April 2nd, 2021, with all works across the city able to be viewed from the street, in a covid-safe way.

Davies stunning black and white work will be shown in a stand-alone installation in Winckley Square while Dench’s vivid colour images will be displayed on the hoardings of the former BHS building on Fishergate.

The work of dozens of local photographers will be shown on the hoardings of Preston Market, plus projects by Blackpool Sixth Form students and Preston Photographic Society will also be shown in the city.

Images of Preston skaters from Moor Park skate park will be displayed at multiple sites across the city and there will be several unique, large-scale installations on walls across the city.

All images in the festival will be able to be viewed from the street, in a totally safe, socially-distanced way compliant with lockdown restrictions. This means it’s free!

The festival is set to launch of Friday, Apr 2nd – a few days after the stay-at-home lockdown guidance is scheduled to be lifted in England – and will last for seven weeks.

I’ve organised the festival – in the hope that it can become a regular event in the city, displaying the work of photographers from around the world.

16:25 An afternoon boat party for the many British seasonal bar workers and promoters in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. They are performing a dance to the 1979 funk anthem recorded by The Gap Band, Oops Up Side Your Head.
Stockport Viaduct © John Davies 1986
Poster on Preston wall. Photo by Garry Cook.

F/Stop photography exhibition – Blackpool

More covid-safe, lockdown loving photography is coming to Lancashire!

As well as producing Lancashire Photography Festival in Preston (which takes place in the outdoors across the city from Apr 2 to May 23, 2021) we are also supporting the outdoor F/Stop exhibition in Blackpool.

This free exhibition takes place in 11 tram stops across Blackpool and features the work of 22 female photographers.

F/Stop has been created by HIVEArts. Some of the photographers in F/Stop have also been involved in Lancashire Photography Festival workshops and will be exhibiting their work in Preston.

The photographers involved are:
Amanda Joynt, Ann Worsnip, Anna Bloomfield-Ravliuc, Caro Lyn, Caran Caravan, Dawn Mander, Dawn Urquhart, Emily Japp, Esther Parkinson, Hannah Doyle, Helen Yates, Irina Rojin, Janet Parker, Joanne Fletcher, Kate Yates, Katy White, KatyJane Maria, Laura Dyer, Libby Nightingale, Lisa Pool, Marianne van Loo, Nicola Morley, Sophie Gorner, Sophie Wells, Sophie White, Stephanie Cottle, Zo Taylor.

The F-Stop exhibition takes place the Golden Mile and in HIVE café from April 1 to May 1, 2021.

Lancashire Photography Festival photographers taking part

Unique outdoor photography festival announces photographer line up

A new outdoor photography festival being held in Preston will showcase the work of two of the world’s leading documentary photographers.

Lancashire Photography Festival, created by photographer Garry Cook, will display projects by renowned photographers John Davies and Peter Dench on the streets of Preston.

John Davies is part of the British photography establishment, with his stunning large-scale black and white images of industrialised landscapes recognised around the world.

The Durham-born photographer, who now lives in Liverpool, has published over 20 books and exhibited throughout Europe, North America and Japan. His landmark publications include ‘A Green & Pleasant Land’ (1986), acclaimed publisher Dewi Lewis’ first photobook, and ‘The British Landscape’ (2006).

Since 2006, Davies has also been active with campaigns to save open and green space.

Davies said: “To view the landscape as a pictorial composition of elements is simplistic. To perceive the landscape within the context of its functions is a way people can deal with the complexity of meanings that are presented in our environment.

“We are collectively responsible for shaping the landscape we occupy and in turn the landscape shapes us whether we are aware of it or not.”

Photojournalist Peter Dench has tirelessly documented British culture, publishing several acclaimed books including England Uncensored, A&E: Alcohol and England, and Dench Does Dallas.

The Dorset-born photographer, who now lives in London, has developed a reputation for producing beautifully brash colour images depicting brutal scenes of alcoholic excess. His project The British Aboard will be shown at Lancashire Photography Festival.

Dench said: “During my career, I’ve had the privilege to work on assignment in over 60 countries across the globe but it’s towards the British I’ve consistently pointed my lens. It’s my home, my passion and its people are the ones I want to document most, warts and all.

“When not annihilating themselves with alcohol at home, many young Brits can be found slowly turning pink in the party resorts across Europe. I look forward to exhibiting some of what I witnessed at the festival.”

Lancashire Photography Festival will also show the work of dozens of local photographers, plus projects by Blackpool Sixth Form students and Preston Photographic Society. Cult artist Foka Wolf, known for their controversial spoof posters across the UK, will also exhibit work at the festival. Images of Preston skaters will also be displayed at multiple sites across the city.

The festival will see images exhibited on walls, hoardings, in shops windows and on specially built displays. There will also be unique innovative photography displays, including a planned shop-window installation. The city-wide exhibition will include sites on Preston Market and on the hoardings of the former BHS building on Fishergate.

All images in the festival will be able to be viewed from the street, in a totally safe, socially-distanced way compliant with lockdown restrictions.

The festival is set to launch of Friday, Apr 2nd – a few days after the stay-at-home lockdown guidance is scheduled to be lifted in England.

Organiser Cook said: “I’ve wanted to hold an outdoor photography festival for a long time. After a few months of lockdown last year it was obvious that an outdoor exhibition was the single best way to keep people engaged with the arts and culture in a safe way.

“I was able to bring an exhibition of Cold War Steve’s work to Preston last summer during lockdown, putting large scale prints of his work in the windows of The Larder on Lancaster Road.

“Thousands of people saw Cold War Steve’s wonderful work and were able to see it at any time of the day a totally safe way. The reaction to it was tremendous – people absolutely loved the art.

“That success enabled me to secure funding for this photography festival. It will start off this spring in a small way, an experimental pilot event, but the plan is to make it into a major festival held every year.

“An outdoor festival is such an obvious thing to do in lockdown when all cultural venues are closed, as they have been for most of the past 10 months. This festival will allow people in Preston to experience great art in a unique way.”

Cook added: “I’m already working with Preston BID, the Harris Museum and the city council’s cultural department to help make this festival the best it can be.

“Although lockdown means this pilot festival will be kept small, the aim for future years is to help define Preston as cultural destination for visitors through the world-class photography projects which will be put on display in the city.

“I really want the festival will inspire local people and make them proud that this unique event is taking place in Preston. And I want to inspire the people who run the city and get them involved so that we can come back next year with an even bigger and better outdoor festival of photography.”

Full details available at