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Local Colour

Local Colour

Local Colour

Research Centre
Art and Design Research Centre


An exploration of the impact of gentrification on the high street

Becky Shaw was commissioned by IncertainPlaces Preston to explore the impact of gentrification on the high street. One aspect of interest was the role of big retail chains in generating positive development at the same time as being responsible for homogenising diverse areas. Her research focused on the store H&M and she spent time with staff exploring the process of supply and demand – and how much local diversity buyers could or should affect. In response she made the work Local Colour. She made a photographic sample of every different woman’s garment in shop windows in the entire high street. This process was repeated June, July, and August, to catch the movement across seasons, and from excitement to the slump at the end of a season.

This three-part enquiry also allowed Shaw to see which windows stayed the same and which changed most quickly. Unexpectedly, it was clear that the big retail chains change their window displays most. The photographic samples were tiled by hand into tables, designed to be similar to the colour prediction charts made for Premiere Vision. Her intention was to reverse the expectation of supply and demand and to reflect backwards at what demand was anticipated through what was supplied. The prints were made into three limited edition prints accompanied by an ‘anti-prediction’ text, and distributed through some of the retailers with whom she worked.

Researchers involved

Dr Becky Shaw - Post Graduate Research Tutor in Art and Design

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