High Street Explorations: Historic England

participatory projects

This project, commissioned by Historic England, is a collaboration between Katy Hawkins, artist and creative producer, and myself, Ellie Shipman, participatory artist and illustrator. 

We have been having conversations with communities in Bedford and Keynsham to create High Street Exploration Cards prompting local exploration, reflection and discussion of each High Street alongside maps of each area featuring local icons. 

The High Street Exploration Cards are applicable to the exploration of any High Street and intended to prompt reflection and new conversations about local perspectives on High Streets. If you would like a pack or bespoke workshop in your community please get in touch. 

Throughout this year high streets across England have been further impacted with COVID restrictions, compounding existing challenges for retailers known as ‘the death of the high street’ as shoppers prioritise online purchasing and even large chain stores go out of business (The Guardian, 2019). We know high streets are more than retail however (Historic England, 2020) - they provide sites for informal meetings, for exchange, for experiences to unfold and local pride to build. They are sites of heritage, stories, community, architecture and place. This project aims to put this hidden infrastructure to the fore, prompting new interpretations of high streets from the communities who know them best.

If you are interested in a pack of High Street Exploration Cards, arrange a bespoke workshop or to find out more do get in touch with Katy Hawkins at hawkins.katyg@gmail.com