The University of Wolverhampton, Dr Peter Day, Senior Lecturer in Art and Design, and photography students, Jack Nelson and David Shepherd has collaborated with Heathfield Park Local Neighbourhood Partnership in creating the Heath Town Project. The Heath Town Project is a photographic archive of some of the people living and working in Heath Town, Wolverhampton in 2013. The Heath Town Project explores the idea that individuals in any one community are inextricably linked to and judged alongside the people whom they live with and amongst, and aims to create an alternate view. These images and their accompanying stories are an introduction to the personalities and identities of the individual inhabitants of Heath Town, a small yet diverse area of Wolverhampton. Rich in migrants and the inner city working classes, Heath Town is home to people from no fewer than 46 countries, as well as a deep and vibrant community of elders.
These portraits seem to have an ethnographic quality, in that they are a means to represent the culture of a people: the people of Heath Town, but these images are ultimately about how identity is created and defined, often by others. These images are momentary, yet simultaneously timeless. They are a display of that which is little-documented. They make visible that which is often invisible to history: the lives and times of individuals, the ordinary alongside the extraordinary. The project is part of the work undertaken by the Heathfield Park Local Neighbourhood Partnership, which is producing a Neighbourhood Plan for the area and photography projects created by the University of Wolverhampton. The initial stages of the Plan included undertaking a Household Survey, the findings of which identified that the image and identity of the neighbourhood are deemed crucial to the area’s development and regeneration in the future.
With thanks to: the Community of Heath Town and Heathfield Park, Wolverhampton; Wolverhampton Homes and Hope Community Project and the North East Neighbourhood Services Team for their assistance in promoting the project; Sue Lindup and David Cope - Chair of Heathfield Park Local Neighbourhood Partnership.