‘Reclaiming’ is a new photo stories exhibition opening on 13 August at The Rainbow Tearooms (28 Bridge Street, Chester) plus the Chester Pride festival site on 13 and 14 August.
The photo stories were produced by photographer Suzanne St Clare working with residents.
Suzanne collaborated with members of Chester’s LGBTQ+ community during Spring 2021 exploring their experiences of lockdown and their hopes for the cultural future of the city. Their collaborative response includes portraits taken in places that are important to them and creative quotes inspired by their thoughts and vision for the city.
The photo stories in the café space will change every eight weeks, with the full set of work being displayed over the next six months.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “What a perfect way to launch this year’s Chester Pride.
“Reclaiming was one of three pilot projects for the Chester High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme. These were artist residency projects developed with local communities to explore their sense of belonging to the city, through a process of engagement, discussions and discovery.
“Thank you to all who engaged in this project including University of Chester students, Chester residents, Proud Marys LGBTQ+ choir, Silver Rainbows, Live! Cheshire, Chester Pride, The Proud Trust and Chester Centurions RUFC.”
Richard Euston, head of the Chester Pride charity and contributor to the exhibition said: “I realised Chester was the place I wanted to be whilst walking on the Walls at the University Open Day. I began to understand its history and how this is reflected in today’s society. Chester isn’t just where I live, it’s a place I can give back to.”
This project is part of Chester High Street Heritage Action Zone and was funded by Historic England, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Open Eye Gallery and National Lottery Heritage Fund supported by Arts Council England and Chester Pride.
Historic England’s Pippa Brown said: "It’s brilliant to see Chester’s rich diversity reflected in this project. People have been so generous in sharing their thoughts and stories to ensure the voices of their communities are heard.”
For more details about the Cultural Programme Refresh, celebrating the historic city:
For more information about the Chester High Street Heritage Action Zone project visit:
Chester’s Rainbow Tearooms are open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5pm and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
About High Streets Heritage Action Zones
Historic England is working with local people and partners through grant funding and sharing our skills to help breathe new life into high streets that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. The High Streets Heritage Action Zones 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.
About Historic England
We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories these places tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.
Pictured - Richard Euston