Location: Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces: Chester, Grosvenor Shopping Centre, St Michael’s Square
In 2022, artist Ciara Leeming worked together with participants from the Café 71, Spider Project organisation in Chester. This work was created by people from Café 71, who took part in a series of workshops during 2022, in which they creatively reflected on their relationship with Chester.
Over a period of several months, members used photography to observe the city with fresh eyes – and this process led to discussions about their personal experiences of the area. These ranged from seeing the Rows as a haven for young people or those wanting to escape the bustle of the high street down below, to memories of lockdown and feelings of alienation. They were also given access to photos from the Historic England Archive and invited to reinterpret them as they saw fit through the medium of collage.
The collaborative sessions were facilitated by photographer Ciara Leeming, and run in partnership with Open Eye Gallery and Cheshire West and Chester Council. It was funded by Historic England and is part of the Picturing High Streets project led by Photoworks.
Spider Project, Café 71 is a community space in Chester city centre which offers creative activities and non-clinical help and support for people who are experiencing mental health challenges.
Participating artists were James Crowe, GL, CE, TE and AM.
Image: Collage by AM