Kentish Town photography exhibition launched by social enterprise to support local high street recovery

Town Spot Presents, an inspiring outdoor photography exhibition by social enterprise Town Spot, has recently launched in the shop windows of 17 independent businesses across Kentish Town.

The purpose is to showcase stories of the hard-working people behind high street businesses and connect residents more to where they live. The exhibition will run until mid-October. 

The project has been crowdfunded by local residents, Camden Council, and Matthew James Estate Agents via a successful campaign initiative launched by Camden Council Future High Streets team, in partnership with civic crowdfunding platform Spacehive.

Councillor Beales, Cabinet Member for New Homes, Jobs and Community Investment

“Camden’s high streets play a crucial role in community life and have been facing a broad range of challenges which have been compounded by the impact of the pandemic. We are excited that through partnering with Spacehive, we have been able to support organisations, businesses, and local residents to collaborate and take forward action to support the recovery of their local high streets.

“Town Spot Presents is a great opportunity to connect people with local businesses and support footfall on Kentish Town high street. I believe it is community-driven projects like these that will make a real difference to the future of our high streets."

Councillor Beales, Cabinet Member for New Homes, Jobs and Community Investment

The crowdfund forms part of the council’s pledge to fund the delivery of innovative, forward-thinking projects that support the re-imagining of our high streets and recovery post-pandemic for a sustainable future.

Town Spot founder Mike Gyi, 31, is confident that this new project will create an even stronger sense of community in the area: “Every business in Kentish Town has a unique story and I want to help them tell their stories in a physical and impactful way so that they attract more customers.”

The project has come to life in collaboration with local Kentish Town residents, Karishma Puri, a documentary photographer, and Olivia Burney, a freelance journalist. At each location there will be an eye-catching window display with a portrait of the people behind the business, along with a quote or two. People will be able to use their phone to scan the QR code to read more information about the business online.

The stories showcase Kentish Town’s oldest businesses, along with the newly opened ones — social enterprises, artist studios, music venues, barbers, restaurants and pubs. There are tales of celebrities who had keys at Rose and Crown, and Italian imported pistachios at Caliendos.

Shiu-Kay, Owner at SKK Lighting, one of the businesses showcased said:

“It’s the first time someone has promoted us. I think it’s a very good idea, it looks good. I’ve noticed more people coming into the shop already. It’ll be nice to see what the result is after a few more weeks.”

Matthew Stacey, Managing Director at project sponsor Matthew James Estate Agents said:

“Love the window vinyl! I was convinced that this project will help bring the community together in some way and that can only be a good thing, more so now than ever. I’m only too delighted to be a part of it. It has already connected us to the local community in a closer way which is so important to us. Lots of people are stopping to take notice and learn more about our business."

Town Spot Presents is available across Kentish Town for the mid-October. Why not use this map to tick off all 17 businesses and end up with a coffee or pint at your favourite? 

See full list of businesses and interviews here: 

@kentish.townspot | #TownSpotPresents | #LiveMoreLocal