Reclaim. Suzanne St Clare and residents of Chester at New Art Spaces: Chester

28 July 2023 — 10 September 2023

Location: Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces: Chester, Grosvenor Shopping Centre, St Michael’s Square

This exhibition explores the themes of belonging and the local community as part of the Chester Rows High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme.

Working with Chester Pride, between January and March 2021 photographer Suzanne St Clare discussed experiences of lockdown and hopes for the cultural future of the city with the Chester LGBTQ+ community.  Together, they considered whether the time for retail-led regeneration had passed, and the notion of reclaiming – for the city and themselves. This collaborative response includes portraits in places of personal meaning and creative quotes inspired by their thoughts and vision for the city.

Through online sessions, St Clare has supported participants to create photographic stories through a process of dialogue and co-authorship. Each participant has shared three related contributions that express how they feel about their relationship with Chester. Each story includes a portrait of the participant in a place in Chester that is meaningful to them.

The other artist projects include Matt Baker, Artistic Director of Theatre in the Quarter, who used film to capture the views of Chester Residents, and local theatre company, Yet Another Carnival, who worked with people who formerly slept rough, on a spoken word project in partnership with Forfutures.

Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) scheme, backed by government funding, aims to help with the recovery of local high streets from regenerating historic buildings to helping to engage local communities through art and cultural projects. Find out more about Chester’s HAZ project.


Image: Neil Kendall quotation.