Chester has been selected as one of six sites to participate in Historic England’s three-year project ‘Picturing England’s High Street’. 

The heart of the historic city of Chester is The Rows, a unique and distinctive feature of the city’s heritage, that have survived and evolved for over 600 years. The Rows are a huge heritage asset with a visible history to be told. These two-level shopping areas are part of Chester’s unique high street. 

Chester’s photographer-in-residence will work with local communities to reimagine the high street, producing images which will become part of the Historic England archive. They will be selected via open call beginning in March 2021. The residency will be supported by Open Eye Gallery, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester High Street Heritage Action Zone with high street users and the community developing content with the selected photographer.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We’re excited to be chosen as one of just six cities and we will now be working with a second photographer in residence as part of the Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme.  This national project will enhance our cultural programme and will greatly increase the opportunities to work with residents celebrating what is important to them and the local communities.”

Sarah Fisher, Director, Open Eye Gallery: “We are delighted that communities in Chester will be able to draw upon the expertise of a photographer over the next three years to create images that are meaningful to them. Local people are the heart of England’s high streets and their voice is crucial to the high streets future success.” 

The national photography project is led by Photoworks in partnership with the country’s leading photography organisations to deliver this ambitious three-year project. Working closely with Grain Projects, Open Eye Gallery, Photofusion and QUAD/Format the project will select six photographers to be part of the six photographer-in-residence programmes working closely with local communities in Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent (with GRAIN Projects), Prescot and Chester (with Open Eye Gallery), in London (with Photofusion) and in Leicester (with QUAD/ FORMAT). 

An open call will be seeking photographers whose practice is socially engaged to become photographer-in-residence at each of the six chosen high street locations across England. Artist mentoring and a digital nationwide mass participation project will be launching in 2022 will also form Picturing England’s High Street. 

Find out more about this opportunity here: https://photoworks.org.uk/opportunities/.

Shoair Mavlian, Director, Photoworks said: “We are very pleased to be leading Picturing England’s High Streets – an ambitious programme which provides exciting opportunities for photographers and local communities across High Streets in England. We will work with a range of arts organisations to facilitate this three-year project and look forward to engaging with communities across the country.”