High Sheriff News

Imagine Hillfields Photography Exhibition

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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.

hilfields invite

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. IMG_9288

Check out the very informative website for Imagining Hillfields,which includes pictures from the launch and an online book of the exhibition. http://www.imaginehillfields.org/

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.


High Sheriff News

Beyond the Door

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The Koestler trust show @MAC has been running for a few weeks now and the response has been very positive, which it should be for a great insightful exhibition.

Koestler Chair Dame Anne Owers – Chair Former Chief Inspector of Prisons

I was proud to open the show with MAC’s Deborah Kermode and Koestler Trust’s CEO Sally Taylor and Chair Dame Anne Owers.

The feeling in the room was very warm, positive and uplifting for the exhibition of multimedia artefacts created by a wide range of people in prisons.

I was particularly proud as it was 3 years ago when I saw the last Koestler show @MAC and was moved to nominate the trust as a charity for my year as High Sheriff of the West Midlands. I am pleased to say that the generosity of people in the year enabled me to donate funds to the Trust which has helped with putting Beyond the Door on, as well as other exhibitions of offenders work across the Country.

The piece that inspired the title ‘Beyond the Door’ was ‘Flap Art’ by Barry. Movingly the drawing was done to fit in the cell door flap and the images were interspersed with the word ‘WAIT’.

The show has been curated by young offenders from Walsall Youth Service who were awarded certificates by myself and Dame Anne. The curators were assisted by members of the Youth Service, MAC exhibition team and the Koestler Curator Nami Chikhlia.

“Curating the Koestler West Midlands exhibition gave our young people the chance to engage in the arts and contribute to their rehabilitation. Using the arts as a channel helps bring young people back into education, training or employment.”     Emma Donnelly, Senior Practitioner, Walsall Youth Justice Service

“Being involved in this activity has actually inspired me to do art, it was a good opportunity to work with others and appreciate different forms of art.”      Beyond the Door Curator

All of the works of art are for sale with proceeds distributed to victim support, the trust and the artists.

You can see more about the show at: https://www.koestlertrust.org.uk/exhibitions/beyond-the-door/

Exhibition @MAC : https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/beyond-the-door-the-koestler-exhibition-for-the-west-midlands

And donate at : https://www.koestlertrust.org.uk/support-us/

BIG ART, High Sheriff News


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Multistory, the Black Country Agency that has been at the forefront of high quality community photography launched their new publication, HOME MADE in SMETHWICK  in local Library with photographer Liz Hingley.  The book is a good mix of food and families from “the town with everything on the menu”.  A good turn out heard from Liz and Emma Chetcuti, from Multistory, about how it was important to focus on the many varieties of family food that are prepared across Smethwick, by a wide range of families.

albert explains spirtual values

Albert Smith actively explained how he prepares and bakes his speciality bread and how sharing bread has a spiritual dimension. ” @bertie126

Short video of the book.  There are very few left! Best be quick to get in touch with Multistory for your copy. Each photograph is accompanied with the family recipe printed on transparent tracing paper which makes for a unique good quality and value book.” There are great variety of food favourites from around the world including cheese on toast, Lipi, Ginger Cream Stacks, Gadjrela (carrot Halwa), Chin Chin Cookies and Crayfish.

irene takes her own pic

And Irene Sawyer was there having travelled to be at the event and see her Mother and son in the exhibition.

sawyer family by liz H

More information and tour dates at http://www.multistory.org.uk/  and about Liz’s work – http://lizhingley.com/

albert, emma and liz

Albert, Emma and Photographer Liz Hingley listen.

Liz is described as a photographer and anthropologist and it becomes clear when talking to her and reading her introduction to Home Made in Smethwick that she does not ‘parachute’ into communities to ‘record’ them, but spends time with her subjects to understand who she is photographing: ‘puting the simple question”what is your favourite recipe”, from door to door, I was welcomed into homes to join the preparation of personal dishes rich with meaning and memory.’ The positive results of her approach are clear to see in the book and exhibition, which will be aired in libraries across the Black Country.

smet bearwood school

On my journey back to Birmingham I passed by an intriguing collection of metal pages on Bearwood School railings.