Jerome Whittingham

Stories from Fountain Road Estate told in new exhibition

This Sunday, Hull’s iconic blue-coated volunteers will unveil a new photography exhibition in the heart of the Fountain Road Estate which tells the stories of local people.

An old, unused out-building in Waterloo Street Park, has been transformed by large striking photography of local people in the latest Volunteer-led project by Absolutely Cultured.

Following on from the tulip planting project which took place in this area of the city, volunteers realised the potential for capturing the stories of such a fascinating community, while bringing neighbours from the estate together.

Commissioning Hull-based photographer and writer Jerome Whittingham, Jerome has been working with Absolutely Cultured’s volunteers to interview and photograph the people and architecture of the estate as they capture and tell its unique story.

The exhibition, entitled Stories From Fountain Road Estate, opens this weekend, with a celebratory event in the park that aims to bring the whole estate together.   The event coincides with the city-wide celebrations to mark the arrival of thousands of tulips, which were planted in neighbourhood across the city in November.

Ann Ware, one of the volunteers involved in this project, said: “I love the thought of getting communities to talk to each other. I think we should all know our next door neighbour and I think it’s sad that we don’t.”

Volunteer Syeda Nudrat, continued: “I witnessed the collective community effort during the tulip project and this needed to be celebrated further. I think through this project we are providing the residents with an opportunity to celebrate their community spirit and to build strong connections within neighbourhoods.”

Shaun Crummey, Head of Volunteering at Absolutely Cultured said: “We’ve seen the potential for residents in the area to share their stories. Following on from the tulips, this project is about connecting communities and supporting volunteers to make a difference in a different kind of way.

“Many residents said they want people to connect with each other and learn about their neighbours – and that’s what this exhibition aims to do.

“Through this project we’re genuinely excited to continue to support volunteers to energise their own communities and the city as a whole. To support the existing fantastic volunteer infrastructure of the city and help in building confidence within a number of communities.”

Jerome Whittingham, who photographed residents for this exhibition, said: “From first glance, the fixtures of this modern estate can seem unwelcoming to visitors, with so many bollards, barriers, metal fences and grills – all forbidding the visitor to ‘go there’ or to ‘do this and that’.

“However, behind the defensive architecture, are people just as warm and welcoming as those that embraced the community-spirit of the terraced housing in pre-war years.  Their stories are full of colour, wit, humour, tenacity, endurance, and ingenuity.”

Absolutely Cultured was one of 16 organisations selected to take part in the Connected Communities Innovation Fund, a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), providing grants to the best innovations that mobilise people’s time and talents.

A celebratory event will take place from 11am until 2pm in Waterloo Street Park on Sunday 14 April.