Touring Exhibition 

Picturing High streets was a three-year programme by Historic England and Photoworks, in partnership with national and regional photography organisations, to create a contemporary portrait of England’s high streets. 

From March to November 2023 an outdoor exhibition was experienced by over 1.1 million people in spaces and formats across England. It featured 64 images collected from the @picturinghighstreets call-out submissions alongside works by resident artists in ten locations. It celebrated local people, captured familiar scenes and invited audiences to consider the value and role of their local high street.  

A panel of judges selected the images from thousands submitted by the public. The panel included: Wayne Hemingway, designer and retail expert, Camille Walala, artist, Ben Hope, Clear Channel’s Marketing Director, Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, Jonathan May, Interim Director, Photoworks and Shoair Mavlian, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery.

The exhibition featured panels in Bristol, Derby, Norwich, Bradford and Walsall, window vinyls in Middlesbrough, Hastings, Prescot and Stoke-on-Trent and projections outside The Photographers’ Gallery in London. Photographs were also chosen to feature on Clear Channel UK advertising space which was experienced by 33.5 million people across 150 towns and cities in England.  

The Historic England Archive 

Since September 2022, people across England have been responding to an online national call out to submit their photographs of the high street on Instagram under the hashtag #PicturingHighStreets. 

In January 2024 these 204 winning photographs entered a brand new collection in Historic England Archive – the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history – alongside 173 new images taken as part of local projects with resident artists on high streets.

The Picturing High Streets collection offers a permanent time capsule of today’s high streets for everyone to explore now and in years to come. These are free and available to view through the Historic England website.  

‘It was such a joy and a privilege to have photographs included in the Bradford outdoor exhibition and in the Historic England National archive, but also just looking at the work of everyone else around the country. The whole thing has inspired me and given me more confidence when doing street photography.’ – Project Participant. 

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