High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
Ten new films created by contemporary filmmakers in collaboration with young creatives explore what the future of the high street could be.
Released during March 2021, the films pose hopeful provocations at a time when these communal spaces have been hit hardest.
The films were organised by major regional arts bodies and commissioned as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones Cultural Programme, led by Historic England.
Inspired by Leeds, Ouston, Wallsend, Hexham and Whitley Bay, 'High Streets' is a fun, kinetic exploration of what high streets are now and what they could be in the future.
The five filmmakers with autism and learning difficulties explore high streets from a unique perspective. They study the past and imagine the future using animation, voice-over and split screens.
After a steady decline through the 80s and 90s, the past couple of decades have seen a reverse in fortunes for Stirchley High Street as people brought fresh energy with new ideas and commitment that are making a positive impact.
In this short film, shop and business owners, residents and users are asked their thoughts on what this high street means to them and how they see its future. What it reflects is the deep connection this community feels to Stirchley, and to each other.
In this short film, youth group Art Press and actor/filmmaker Araba Aduah consider the changes they have seen in Croydon town centre surrounding the high street in recent years and what their vision for the future is.
Filmed in Sheffield, this short film explores the high street as a character seen through the perspective of young people’s experiences of public spaces.
The score for the film features an original poem made in collaboration between poet Otis Mensah and young people’s group, the Society of Explorers, as well as an original piano composition written and performed by Mensah. Using the score as a starting point for the film, filmmaker Smart Banda developed a comprehensive visual identity for Mensah’s work. This informed a series of 35 millimetre black and white images captured by photographer Peter Martin that Banda then sequenced and entwined with Mensah’s poem.
East of England
Bringing together voices, memories and the inventive ideas of a local community in Southend-on-Sea, this short film catalogues the public consciousness around how we can learn to adapt and build a better future in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exploring the importance for public space to be experienced and constructed collaboratively, the film takes as its subject the past and present condition of a high street in transition.
Collaging together imagery of architecture, tracking shots and a series of creative responses from participants, ‘S for Southend’ is a collective vision for reimagining the future of Southend High Street.
This short film focuses on the cultural diversity of Nottingham and on its local businesses and traders, as well as familial relationships. The film was developed through working with local young people, and features a soundtrack by an up-and-coming young composer.
'Carrying Us' is an audio-visual patchwork that explores the past, present and personal of Brighton’s high street through spoken word and video collage.
Imagining the high street as a vessel - a container of both commerce and community - three young Brightonians interrogate what pockets we want to preserve and protect. This is their high street, a place of potential, imagined and collective hope for a different future.
The film is a collaborative project created by Elsa Monteith, Hazel Davis and Adam Laurence, participants of the Lighthouse Young Creatives programme.
Filmmaker Abhi Arumbakkam’s 'Ode to Oxford Street' will explore London’s famous shopping street’s past, present and future.
Using photographs from Historic England’s Archive, combined with contemporary footage of Oxford Street and interviews with those who shop there, this short film will traverse time with a nod to what a future Oxford Street might look like.
A short film shaped by the memories and histories of the people of Penzance. Blending animation with the interlocking streets between Market Jew Street, Causeway Head and Chapel Street, Penzance.
What does the high street offer young people in St Helens? How has COVID-19 impacted their community? What are their hopes for the future? Ten young people share their voices and perspectives in this short film.
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