The Highrise Project is a collaboration between myself and photographer, Victoria Kortekaas. It explores the links between architecture and social relations within municipal highrise buildings and council-built estates. The project uses ethnographic and creative research, which is co-produced with residents.
Through exploring the history of social housing, our aim is to highlight the stories, benefits, and challenges of living in social housing, as well as related issues, including sense of community, family history, impact on health and wellbeing, class, etc. Our mission through this work is to use creativity and art as a way for people to tell their own stories and challenge negative stereotypes of people living on council-built estates.
The first phase of this project was supported by Leeds Inspired and Arts Council England as part of Index Festival, the official fringe of Yorkshire Sculpture International. We exhibited 2 large collages based on our research alongside a publication co-produced with residents from in and around Lincoln Green, an inner city area of East Leeds. Through connecting with Index, we were able to showcase the work of the residents as part of an international festival and to engage a wider audience with the cultural life of the city. We also received support and workshop space from Touchstone, as part of their Mentally Healthy Leeds programme.
We were also invited to present the artwork and project at In Dialogue 2019 at Mansions of the Future in Lincoln, and at The Future for West Yorkshire Regional Democracy in Huddersfield in January 2020.