Imagine Hillfields – Jason Tilley

So today I had the opportunity to be involved in a talk on Jason Tilleys and his work on Hillfields, named: Imagine Hillfields. Whenever we have a discussion with Jason, I always get so excited because I love his stories and the meaning of the development of his work. It’s so interesting because his stories are so personal to him which is engaging to listen to. Jason gets excited about his work, and because he is so warm and passionate about his projects, it comes through in the people who he talks to. I’ve done a review on his exhibition last year on his ‘People Of India’ project, which you can find on my blog. After People Of India, he then did this project, Imagine Hillfields. I’m just going to show you some of the images from this piece, then talk about what happened in the talk and my take on his photographs.

This project is a historical look at community development in the Hillfields area since the 1970s. In 1969 the Home Office commissioned twelve action research projects called the Community Development Projects that sought to understand why certain areas were deprived. Jason wondered what the CDP researchers thought action research was and who informed this thinking. This helped Jason to conduct some research, was he going to learn from this project, or was the research which has already been conducted, stronger his points on Hillfields.

This project came together by, John Blakemore, Jason Scott Tilley and Richard Sadler, all from the Hillfields area of Coventry, as well as Nick Stone, a photographer specialising in re-imagining the past and present within a single image, as well as other community groups.

As Jason worked with John Blakemore, he wanted to do his own approach to Hillfields. As part of the Hillfields project, Jason Tilley took 100 portraits of Hillfields residents. They were asked three questions for the Imagine research:

What is the best thing about living in Hillfields?

What is the worst thing about living in Hillfields?

What is the future for Hillfields?

100 quotes will accompany the 100 photos to illustrate the life of the person sitting for portrait. Jason hopes to mimic the photographic history of the area, in Taylor Bros Studios and ICA Studios, by creating a pop-up studio in the same location of 20 Primrose Hill St.

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