About The Living City

The Living City is a They Eat Culture project, working in collaboration with the Mandala Health & Wellbeing outreach community.


  • Listening & Sharing – We have been listening to the voices of Preston people, asking them what they think makes a place great to live, work and play in. To find out what they value, fear and hope for. We have been sharing the diverse views of our community to support understanding.
  • Commissioning – We commissioned artists to document the thoughts and emotions of Preston people. 
  • Creating – We took our planned festival online in April, sharing dance, spoken word, live music, meditation and yoga with our community and provided free wellbeing classes from April to August.
  • Supporting Health – We delivered online wellbeing sessions through our partner Mandala Yoga & Wellbeing, to 550 Preston people during lockdown. You can see the evaluation here

What Next?
Next we want to support step-change transformation of our city by:-

  • Questioning – With so much changing we ask “Who decides what the new normal is and for whose benefit?”
  • Sharing – We aim to share diverse voices, to stimulate thinking and debate amongst communities and especially amongst policy-makers.
  • Transforming – We aim to help to build a more confident, creative, connected and fairer city for the future – a city that is healthy, vibrant and loved by those who live, work and play here.

Here are some words written by Christian Krupa, thinking about the idea of loss, grief, and finding new things, sometime around April 2020.

Loss, Grief & Finding New Things

In the past few months we have all lost things, some far more than others, some very publicly, others in a much more private way. These losses are varied, from jobs and money, to lives and loved ones. One thing we all have in common is a loss of freedom, of choice, of the simple right to be in a public space and meet people. We may all be feeling a loss, or impending loss of what our society is, how it functions and operates, and what that means for our individual lives.

This mass shared grief many of us feel is in some ways masking the individual griefs that are happening; not everyone is dying of the same thing and their passings are no less tragic in this crisis and will in many circumstances be related to the stresses on the health and other support systems. Even if not, there is a direct loss of comfort and ability to pass through grieving processes because of the social and physical distancing that the crisis demands.

Many of us have also found things, some good, others bad. From spare time activities, to increased respect for the job that teachers do looking after our children or the role that front line workers play in all of our lives. Some have found their lives and grief become intolerable while locked within the confines of their own homes, while others are feeling a freedom that they haven’t felt since summer holidays as a child. Some are finding a new sense of belonging within their communities, of recognising that they even are within a community, while others feel more alienated than ever.

This project seeks to preserve a slice of this moment, to sense, while this is white hot, what it is we are feeling we are losing, and what things we think we may find, or already have found.