Photography was used in the project in two ways; to capture Brierley Hill – artistically in content; and creatively to learn a new skill.

We were fortunate that Audiences Central through Arts Nation ran a photo competition to tie in with a Martin Parr photography exhibition running at Artspace at the same time. They themed this competition – what does Brierley Hill mean to you?

Photo Competition
This part of the project was run entirely by Audiences Central. People across Dudley Borough were invited to send in photos that reflected what Brierley Hill means to them.

Matthew Pearson, one of the competition winners in front of his photograph projection

There were photography-related prizes and the opportunity to have winning photos projected onto a building in Brierley Hill. The judging panel included a professional photographer.

A Brierley Hillness Flickr group was set up, via a website and entrants uploaded their photos or emailed them. .

A photo competition is a great way of collecting a range of images of the town – and documenting ‘life’ as well as buildings.

Currently there are 180 images taken in Brierley Hill in this group.

Pete Glews, one of the competition winners in front of his photograph projection

During a free public evening event at Artspace, the seven winning images were projected onto the side of a building nearby. A Brierley Hill Photo Competition Projection powerpoint presentation which also included promotion for the event and funder logos was looped for three hours.

Photography competition Projection from Jonathan Lee on Vimeo.

Running competitions, with good prizes, can bring in a wider variety of participants and their families into a community project. For us it was a good way of finding out what Brierley Hillness means to more people.

Projection is temporary and it can be expensive (e.g. the hire and insurance of projector), but it takes exhibitions to new audiences. The projection was positioned next to a bus stop and opposite a pub, and gained a much wider and diverse audience than would have seen the work if it were displayed in an indoor gallery space.

Creating Streetscapes Using Photoshop

In this half-day workshop led by Siddique Hussain, participants used digital cameras to take pictures of all the shops along a section of the High Street.  

Panoramic montage of Brierley Hill High Street by community participants

Digital photography is about learning about cameras, the art of good photography and using the computer to manipulate, enhance and share images in a creative way.

Having a streetscape panoramic image is useful as it gives people who do not know the area an instant ‘flavour’ of the place; showing the variety of architecture along a single street. It also helps people to appreciate the historic quality of the buildings. Many people do not look above the shop frontages.

Panoramic montage of Brierley Hill High Street by community participants

The workshops participants were shown how to overlap the images, turn the camera into portrait orientation and take it off the ‘auto’ setting. Participants were shown how to stitch the images together in Photoshop to form a streetscape panoramic.

We found out that using a busy high street as the focus of activity means you will have lots of traffic and parked cars to negotiate when stitching together images.


Download Approaches to Community Engagement and Lessons Learnt for a slightly extended and print ready version (PDF). Download a TEXT ONLY VERSION Approaches to Community Engagement and Lessons Learnt (Word).


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