FORMAT23: Picturing High Streets: Uncovering the stories behind the shop fronts

Outdoor exhibition across Derby

Since September 2022, people across England have been sharing their high street photos with Historic England on Instagram as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones Cultural Programme. Chosen from thousands of images, this collection of 60 reveals just some of the stories behind our shopfronts.  


From high street heroes to candid street scenes, the images invite you to take a fresh look at your high street. Together, they celebrate the history, experiences and connections of the people and places that make up an often-overlooked fixture in our lives. A panel of judges including designer and retail expert Wayne Hemingway MBE, artist Camille Walala, Ben Hope, Clear Channel’s Marketing Director and Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England have chosen 60 of their favourites to form this collection, giving you a snapshot of a year in the life of the English high street. 


The project continues until September 2023. You can still submit your high street photos for a chance to be included in the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history.  


As part of the wider Picturing High Streets public call out, FORMAT and QUAD invited the people of Derby and Derbyshire to respond to the theme ‘Art in the Streets’ between December 2022 and January 2023; showing us the people, public art and performances that turn their high street into a piece of art. From street art to street dance, murals to window displays, local characters to hidden hangouts, the people of Derby have responded with photos that celebrate Derby and Derbyshire in all its forms! 


For the images submitted to #PicturingDerby, the Historic England and FORMAT team were supported by Derbyshire’s Lord-Lieutenant Mrs. Elizabeth Fothergill, CBE and Director of Black Country Visual Arts, Anand Chhabra as judges to help choose the winning images which feature in this outdoor exhibition in Derby.  


As part of this project, FORMAT has selected 60 submissions to feature on Derby’s high streets, with 30 chosen as our ‘Hero’ images by our jury. Working with Jack Arts and supported by Historic England and Derby City Council this outdoor exhibition gives a view of the best and most celebrated parts of the country’s high streets with a specific focus on FORMAT’s home city of Derby; charting and celebrating the history and experiences of the people and places that make up an often-overlooked fixture in all our lives.  


There is still time to take part. 


Check out @PicturingHighStreets on Instagram to see the fortnightly callouts and submit your image using #PicturingHighStreets