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Prescot’s photographers in residence announced

by Alison Cornmell

Two socially engaged photographers with an interest in community engagement have been selected as Prescot’s photographers in residence. Their work in the area forms part of a major cultural programme ‘Picturing England’s High Streets’ and is part of the national cultural programme for High Street Heritage Action Zones.

Prescot is one of only six places in the country selected to be involved in the national project that will see the selected photographers, Tony Mallon and Lucy Hunter, engage with Prescot’s local communities and organisations. Together they will create a contemporary portrait of the high street from now, until 2024. The images produced will become part of the Historic England Archive.

The national photography project is being delivered by Photoworks in partnership with photography organisations nationally. Now, the Liverpool based photography gallery and archive, Open Eye Gallery will work to support the selected photographers.

Tony and Lucy were selected following an open call process that saw many experienced photographers apply to be part of the prestigious project and will both start in July 2021.

Tony Mallon will work with Prescot communities between now and 2024. During 2021/22, emerging socially engaged photographer Lucy Hunter will develop work with a local community group. Both will receive additional support from local partners The Shakespeare North Playhouse. The project will be co-authored with the local community, and will celebrate what is unique about Prescot, its stories and its people.  The project starts with a simple provocation; ‘Your high street: Investigate before, picture now and imagine the future……’.

Councillor Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member, said:

“Being chosen to take part in this exciting project is another great boost for Prescot. I’m delighted that these two photographers, with a strong interest in community engagement, will spend the next three years documenting this incredible town. From the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse and our year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture, to the ongoing work we’re doing to develop the town, it will be wonderful to have a visual record of our high street.”

Laura Collier, Creative Director and Programmer, Shakespeare North Playhouse said:

“We are so excited to be partnering with Tony and Lucy over the coming months and years, especially as we build up to the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse in summer 2022 and celebrate Knowsley’s Borough of Culture. Their ideas around enabling others to explore self-expression through photography is a strong foundation for empowering the thriving creative communities of Prescot and allows us to further explore our position as one of Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones.”

Tony Mallon
Tony is a Merseyside-based photographic artist who was brought up in Knowsley and attended an art foundation course in Prescot. He has 25 years’ experience of delivering socially-engaged art projects, including a recent three-year project in Kirkby. He has a passion and a desire to connect and collaborate with people who are usually excluded from participating in and producing art. His work also focuses on people and place, and how communities define themselves.

See Tony’s website with examples of his work here digitintherib.viewbook.com/

Lucy Hunter
Lucy is a London born photographer, now living in Liverpool. With a strong interest in social engagement, she completed an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Westminister. It was during her studies that she developed a keen interest in community, focusing her practise on social relationships, connection and the spaces that bring people together.

See Lucy’s website with examples of her work here: www.lucyhunterphotography.com/about

‘Picturing England’s High Streets’ is a three-year project that will deliver six photographer-in-residence programmes at six high street locations across England, as well as artist mentoring and a digital nationwide mass participation project. The project is part of the four-year national Cultural Programme led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The £7.4 million Cultural Programme is part of the broader £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative, of which Prescot is part of.  The Cultural Programme will be one of the biggest ever community-led arts and heritage programme in the public realm.

About the Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone
Prescot was selected as one of the 68 high streets to benefit from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone project in 2020. The £3.1 million heritage-led regeneration programme will see major investment from the Council and Historic England into a number of key projects in Prescot town centre. In addition, Prescot will see a series of cultural events as part of the HSHAZ Cultural Programme Local Grants, as delivered by the recently established Prescot Cultural Consortium, led by The Shakespeare North Playhouse.

About Open Eye Gallery
Founded in 1977, Open Eye Gallery is an independent charity and photography gallery based in Liverpool. One of the UK’s leading photography spaces, it is the only gallery dedicated to photography and related media in the North West of England and works at a local and global level. Open Eye Gallery believes photography is for everyone, informing our present and inspiring positive futures. Open Eye Gallery works with people to explore photography’s unique ability to connect, to tell stories, to inquire, to reflect on humanity’s past and present, and to celebrate its diversity and creativity. www.openeye.org.uk @openeyegallery

To find out what is happening in your area and get involved, please follow @HistoricEngland @Prescot_HAZ_THI #HistoricHighStreets  #PicturingPrescot and visit: www.HistoricEngland.org.uk/HighStreetCulture