Hillfields is a vibrant community on the edge of Coventry city Centre. Nearby is Fargo Creative Village which is the location for a special new exhibition that uses photography as the visual trigger to social history and community engagement.
To quote Ben Kyneswood: Hillfields is an amazing place. Out of the bomb damage and planning blight of the post war period it renewed itself through inward migration and high-rise housing, became a laboratory for innovative community projects from the early 1970s, the birthplace of two-tone in the late 1970s, and a site of successive regeneration attempts since. For fifty years this story has been recorded by internationally renowned photographers and community photographers alike.
This exhibition and book brings together the Richard Sadler, John Blakemore, Masterji and Jason Scott Tilley photographic collections of Hillfields, together with the archives of Coventry City Council and Hillfields History Group, and a new body of work by re-photographer Nick Stone. It is all part of Imagine, a community research project led by the University of Warwick which is revisiting past future visions of Coventry and Hillfields to help generate new ones.
The opening night saw many people from Hillfields, Coventry and the wider region share the top quality pictures, share personal, planning and community histories. An exhibition of this quality should be seen more widely and contribute to the west Midlands growing reputation for photography, past, present and the future.
The High Sheriff was pleased to be invited for many reasons including revisting the area where he produced Blazed, a TV drama for Channel 4 in 1995. It was filmed with many young people from the area including Syndey Stringer School pupils.
The exhibition will no doubt be an element of Coventry’s ambitious bid to be City of Culture in 2021.