DREAMLINES: Picturing Bristol High Streets
On display at High Street venues across Bristol in August 2023
The stories of Bristol’s high streets and the communities who inhabit them will be told in collaboration with leading Bristol-based and international photographers this summer.
Photographers Khali Ackford, Michael Alberry, Sebastian Bruno, Jade Carr-Daley, Mohamed Hassan, Chris Hoare, Kirsty MacKay, Lua Ribeira and Clementine Schneidermann amongst others have been commissioned to co-create work across Bristol’s historic high streets. The photographers either live in Bristol or have strong ties to the city. Their images will be created in collaboration with writers, facilitators and the communities which they depict. The results of their collective work will go on display in a series of public exhibitions across four of the high streets—Filton Avenue, Shirehampton, Stapleton Rd and Two Mile Hill—in August 2023 to share the stories and ideas which matter to them most. Bristol Photo Festival will also deliver additional workshops and other activities in Church Road, Filwood Broadway, Stockwood, Brislington and East Street.
DREAMLINES: Picturing Bristol High Streets is organised by Bristol Photo Festival which will return to the city in 2024. The project is funded by Historic England as part of its four-year programme of cultural activity celebrating England’s high streets. It is also one of the activities under the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project.
Michael Alberry (Filton Avenue) will be photographing spaces and landmarks to explore ideas of community, working in collaboration with Ebenezer Church, The Filtons Choir and the Filton Primary School.
Kirsty Mackay (Filton Avenue) will be exploring the impact of the cost of living crisis on local communities.
Chris Hoare (Shirehampton) will set up a temporary portrait studio to create a record of those living in the area. In addition, he is working with community groups for both the old and the young to both remember and re-imagine the high street.
Clementine Schneidermann (Shirehampton) will be working with The Shire Stitchers to collaboratively produce a series of personal quilts using creative portraiture.
Khali Ackford (Two Mile Hill) will be working to explore the everyday hidden heritage of the area where many businesses have historic roots, for example, Bakers Corner which has been in place for nearly 100 years and The Nylon Shop, a haberdashers operating for over 60 years.
Sebastian Bruno (Two Mile Hill) will be collaborating with The Hive, an organisation working with neurodiverse groups, on a series of workshops will take inspiration from the cinema.
Jade Carr-Daley (Stapleton Road) will collaborate with businesses in the area that act as community hubs, and building on her ongoing work with Black mums and women’s groups to reflect recent challenges.
Mohamed Hassan (Stapleton Road) photographed during Eid Mubarak, and working with cultural groups in the area.
Lua Ribeira (Stapleton Road) will be working with young community groups as her project develops over the summer.
Some of the resulting photographers’ work will be displayed in traditional exhibition settings, but the project will also utilise community noticeboards, window displays and posters as well as being accessible online. In addition, a writer will be announced in the coming weeks, who will respond to the work being created across the city and in the communities.
“Our mission as a festival is to enable communities—via collaboration with leading photographers—to reflect upon their experiences and explore how we live together today. The photographers we have commissioned will not only make a record of time and place, but also explore the playfulness and nuances of the photographic medium. While Bristol is one city, it contains many layers and stories. While some are well-told, others are often overlooked. By documenting the different high streets, we hope to both reactivate them as cultural destinations and also create a collective portrait that tells the story of Bristol today.”Alejandro Acin, Director, Bristol Photo Festival
“Through support from our City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, together with Historic England, DREAMLINES: Picturing Bristol High Streets will provide a creative photographic promotion of our priority high streets in a series of collaborative projects and exhibitions over the summer. The aims of the project are to help animate the high streets and encourage Bristol’s citizens to explore and celebrate the places they live, making connections to each other and adding to a sense of belonging and identity. The exhibitions will also help increase the number of people visiting and using the high streets, providing much needed support to the local independent businesses that help give our high streets their character.”Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance, Property and Culture
“DREAMLINES: Picturing Bristol High Streets promises visual storytelling on a grand scale. This exciting project will bring nine communities across Bristol together with talented photographers to explore identity, belonging and pride of place. From Brislington to Shirehampton, Picturing Bristol will be a truly creative way for people to share what matters to them about the place they call home. The project was inspired by Historic England’s Picturing High Streets project, a celebration of today’s high streets through images taken by people across the country.”Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programmes and Campaigns at Historic England
Notes for editors
These images are representative of the photographers’ past work and are not the work created for this project, which is currently underway. The project images will be released in June/July.
Bristol Photo Festival supports leading photographers, artists and writers to develop long-term collaborative projects that explore how we live together today. These projects are presented alongside major commissions that focus on bringing the best of international photography to the city. Our work is cyclical and always in progress. The first edition took place in 2021. This has been followed by a period of making with the major presentation scheduled for autumn 2024.
DREAMLINES: Picturing Bristol High Streets is being delivered as one of the activities under the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project.
Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. Its role is to protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. Historic England cares passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists, Historic England shares its passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.
High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative: Taking place in more than 60 high streets across England, and receiving £7.4 million from UK Treasury, Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund, it’s the largest ever community-led arts and heritage programme. By restoring local pride and attracting people back to their local town centres, the High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme is playing an important role in Levelling Up and acting as a powerful catalyst for increasing opportunities and prosperity. To find out more visit here