Durham is one of the largest counties in the UK, 2,700 sq km, vast rural areas, post-industrial towns and a university city, home to an ancient cathedral and a UNESCO world heritage site. It has a proud past but a more challenged future.
Place Lab was initially developed as a concept to support local connectivity for a county-wide city of culture bid. The bid wasn’t successful, but the Place Lab idea took root in local communities and with policy-makers; the local authority and the university realised the concept could transform local place-making, community decision-making and economic agency with culture at its heart. Now at feasibility stage, Place Labs are planned in 13 towns. Each will be autonomous and locally defined, connected to each other through a research hub. This is creative practice as an agent of change at scale in a large yet local geography with built-in learning and exchange.”