Since September 2022

Historic England and Photoworks invite you to look at the high street as never before. Over the next 12 months, we’re asking you to uncover the stories behind the shopfronts and post your own photographs on Instagram using #PicturingHighStreets. Your photos will contribute to an unofficial photographic archive of the English high street; charting and celebrating the history and experiences of the people and places that make up an often-overlooked fixture in all our lives.

Starting on Wednesday 28 September 2022, you’re 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 – you will need to visit your 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 – alongside a selection of others submitted from January 2023 onwards – will also enter the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history.

We know high streets are struggling. Their futures feel uncertain and they are facing a pivotal moment in their long histories. Help us record a year in the life of the high street and tell the stories behind the shopfronts.

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

For more information on how to get involved, please follow the guidance on Historic England’s website:


Further resources:

Photograph + #1 6 Street : Photography+ Street focused on urban environment that surround us and the communities that use them. Launched to coincide with the announcement of Picturing High Streets.

Independent Thinking Podcast: Stories behind the shopfronts: Celebrating high street culture with Historic England

Picturing High Street Residencies: The six Picturing High Streets photographers in residence will use a socially engaged approach, working alongside local communities, to create a contemporary portrait of England’s high streets from July 2021 until 2024.

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