Latest News | 1 August 2023

Nationally-recognised Derby City Lab marks first anniversary

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Derby City Lab, which has recently been nominated for a top real estate award, is celebrating its first anniversary by announcing that it will now be open every week.

The St James’s Street venue, which has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious EG Awards, was created to engage, inform and inspire people about plans to shape the city going forward.

Over the past year, the lab has opened on an ad-hoc basis to host exhibitions and events.

Now, the venue will open on Wednesdays and Thursdays every week, from 12noon to 4pm, to allow people to drop in and find out more about the regeneration of the city and share their views.

Adam Rodgers, inward investment executive at Marketing Derby and Derby City Lab lead, said: “It has been an incredible first year for Derby City Lab, hosting a wide variety of events and exhibitions aimed at engaging people in the city’s future.

“As well as assembling an exciting programme of events and exhibitions going forward, we also wanted to make the Derby City Lab as accessible as possible, which is why we have introduced regular opening hours.

“So, if anyone would like to pop by on Wednesdays and Thursdays and find out more about Derby’s exciting future, we would be delighted to see you.”

The Derby City Lab was created thanks to a partnership involving Marketing Derby, Derby City Council, the University of Derby, Lathams and Clowes Developments.

Housed in a unit refurbished and supplied by Clowes, the lab is an initiative based on the concept of ‘urban rooms’, which have appeared in various cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam and Shanghai, to help local communities better understand the evolution of their place and engage them in shaping its future.

It was launched on 13 July, 2022, to coincide with that year’s Derby Property Summit.

Since then, the lab has hosted exhibitions by businesses and organisations such as Down to Earth Derby, Royal Crown Derby, the University of Derby and Derby City Council.

And it has been used as a venue for major cultural events taking place in the city, such as the FORMAT international photography festival and the Derby Book Festival.

Forthcoming events include a “make and trade” event, which will see the lab host workshops over the course of a fortnight – and an exhibition about the ongoing Our City Our River (OCOR) project.

Currently, the lab is displaying innovative design concepts for the city’s North Riverside area created by University of Derby architecture students.

The designs were recently featured at the Derby Property Summit.

Dr Boris Ceranic, senior lecturer and programme leader for MSc Architectural courses at the university, said: “The students were asked to come up with proposals for a sustainable, high-quality mixed-use development on brownfield land which will fully exploit the riverside setting.

“The students’ brief was to design a new riverside setting with a vibrant waterfront pedestrian area within the heart of the city.”

As being a place to stage exhibitions, the city lab is home to some permanent fixtures, including Marketing Derby’s Investor Showcase.

It features a lounge area, a “Tree of Truth” on which schoolchildren have attached their dreams for the city.

There are also opportunities to take part in focus groups and polls, for example, on what the priorities should be for the city centre.

Adam said: “We would be delighted to hear from those interested in using the space here at Derby City Lab, whether it is for an exhibition, roundtable event or a workshop.”

To find out more about Derby City Lab visit .

To enquire about using Derby City Lab for an exhibition or event, e-mail or

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