Open Eye Gallery: Online: Whose High Street Is It?

Open Eye Gallery: Online: Whose High Street Is It?

Open Eye Gallery: Online: Whose High Street Is It?

Venue: Open Eye Gallery
Date(s): 29.6.22
Time(s): 17:20 - 18:30

Whose High Street is it?

Discussion on how to unlock the creative futures of North West town centres.


Our High Streets are transforming, what is creativity’s role in this change? This panel discussion will address this question bringing together voices behind cultural action in our town centres.

The High Street is a place for connection; to meet with others, dress up, celebrate individuality and feel part of the historical and cultural heritage of the town. As centres grapple with societal change, like the rise of online shopping, and the aftermath of lockdown, there is increasing interest in the role of arts, culture and design working with communities to redefine our civic spaces.

Find out more about the speakers below:

Wayne Hemingway MBE, Hemingway Design. Wayne Hemingway MBE co-founded HemingwayDesign with his wife Gerardine in 1981 Their first success was in founding the iconic Red or Dead brand .Since then it has grown to become an award-winning multi- disciplinary design studio with a portfolio of successful projects that traverses disciplines and sectors, and with clients including international brands and household names as well as numerous towns, cities and places across the UK.

The company has helped to redesign the Dreamland pleasure park in Margate, advised House of Lords select committees, publicly shamed the house building industry then demonstrated (by master planning and designing an award-winning housing scheme in Gateshead) that a better way is possible, co-designed a new uniform for Transport for London, rebranded FTSE 100 companies and thrown a 24 hour non-stop multi-arts festival for 30,000 revellers on a sandy beach in Suffolk. It has formed new creative communities in Blackburn and Bognor Regis, reimagined heritage buildings in Portsmouth, Preston and Plymouth, and influenced the urban fabric of Bournemouth, Dartford, King’s Lynn, Maidenhead, Manchester and Whitehaven, all with great acclaim.

Neil Harris, Business Manager for culture, arts & heritage, Wigan Council. Neil has over 25 years’ experience working across cultural organisation and public sector delivery at a national and local level, specialising in the development of cross-sector partnerships and policy development, with a particular interest in co-commissioned approaches to cultural development.

Simon Boase, Cultural Programme Manager, Historic England. Simon Boase is an arts and culture professional specialising in facilitating community-led local arts activity. At Historic England, he manages High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, the biggest community-led arts and heritage programme in England’s public realm. The High Streets Cultural Programme is funding over 60 local grants schemes which will take place from 2020-2024 in tandem with national commissions working across art forms to connect and celebrate high streets. Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment.

Casey Orr, award winning photographer and artist.

Casey Orr is a photographer and artist. Since 2013 she has travelled throughout the UK with her award winning photographic portrait studio Saturday Girl. In towns and cities on Saturday afternoons all fashionable folks are invited to be photographed. The series explores identity and self expression through fashion and portraiture. In 2024 the portraits will be part of an important national body of work developed across England with Open Eye Gallery

The panel will be moderated by James Lawler, curator and events organiser working behind the Saturday Girl About Town project. James works alongside Martin Green as one half of DuoVision whose main aim is to highlight undervalued artists, older artists & LGBTQ+ artists. They successfully ran The Gallery Liverpool where they showcased work by Jarvis Cocker, designer Pam Hogg, Caroline Coon & Marc Almond. They have recently curated exhibitions in London, Paris, Belfast & Stoke-on-Trent.

This is a free panel discussion taking place on Zoom. Make sure to RSVP your online tickets.

Image © Casey Orr, on set of Saturday Girl.