© Tim Mills, Newspaper Cutting # 8, from the series Twelve Shilling Paradise, 2012-2014

Picturing High Streets is a three-year project as part of the national cultural programme for High Street Heritage Action Zones. The photographers will use a socially-engaged approach, working alongside local communities,  to create a contemporary portrait of England’s high streets between now and 2024. Starting in July 2021, the six photographers-in-residence will work with local communities to reimagine the high street, producing images which will become part of the Historic England Archive.

To host each residency, Photoworks and Historic England have partnered with photography organisations across England, including GRAIN Projects, Open Eye Gallery, QUAD/FORMAT,  Photofusion and local partners.

Users of the high streets and the community are at the heart of Picturing England’s High Streets, and each selected photographer has a link to the local high street area

The six artists are:

Tim Mills, Coventry 

Tim Mills will be working with GRAIN Projects in Coventry and local partners the Historic Coventry Trust, Culture Coventry, Coventry University, Coventry City Council and Coventry City of Culture Trust. Mills uses photography and reappropriated archive material to explore and engage with communities and place.  His work is often presented as installations within public contexts and outdoor locations.

Natalie Willatt, Stoke 

Natalie Willatt will be working in her hometown of Stoke, with GRAIN Projects and partners including Stoke-on-Trent City Council, B Arts and the communities of the town’s high street and the Spode factory site.  Willattt uses photography to provide access to the arts and to empower people to use creative practices to tell their own stories.

Suzanne St Clare, Chester 

Open Eye Gallery is supporting established photographer Suzanne St Clare, who will be working with various communities in Chester from 2021-2024. Adding to this, during 2021/22, emerging photographer Ciara Leeming will develop work with a local community group. Both will receive additional support from Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Tony Mallon, Prescot 

Open Eye Gallery is supporting established photographer Tony Mallon who will be working with Prescot communities from 2021 – 2024. During 2021/22, emerging photographer Lucy Hunter will also develop work with a local community group. Both will receive additional support from The Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Khatun, Leicester

QUAD/FORMAT are delighted to be supporting Khatun, an emerging artist who is originally from Leicester. During the two year residency Khatun will work with leading cultural partners in the city, alongside diverse individuals and communities in the Leicester HAZ area of Church Gate and Granby Street. Khatun’s work explores the modernity of Britain’s identity and past notions of heritage and heritage sites.

Rehan Jamil, Tower Hamlets

Photofusion are happy to support local artist Rehan Jamil in his residency taking place at Tower Hamlets.  Rehan’s passion and enthusiasm for documenting and working with his community shows in his dedicated practice.

The photographers will also benefit from mentoring support delivered by Impressions Gallery, PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Centre), Redeye The Photography Network, ReFramed and The Photographers’ Gallery.

As part of the project we have launched @PicturingHighStreets, an Instagram account where the public is invited to look at the high street as never before.Starting on Wednesday 28 September 2022, people are invited to join in with a fortnightly challenge that will create a rich and varied picture of our high streets. To complete the challenges – fronted by photographers, celebrities and community leaders – people will need to visit their local high streets and discover the secret stories of these places of commerce, conversation and community.

The most evocative photographs will be featured on the Picturing High Streets Instagram channel. A selection of photographs submitted before 6 December 2022 will be displayed in a national outdoor exhibition opening in March 2023 filling advertising space, outdoor exhibition panels and shop windows on high streets across England. These photographs will also enter the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history.

Follow @PicturingHighStreets on Instagram and post your pictures using #PicturingHighStreets.

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