October 20, 2020

Hold Still

By Ali Jones, Customer Director 

I’m excited to tell you all about Hold Still, a community photography exhibition we’re supporting with the National Portrait Gallery and the Duchess of Cambridge. If you’ve not heard about Hold Still, it’s an ambitious community project launched in May 2020 to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown. People from all ages were invited to submit pictures and portraits which focused on three themes – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.  

The project gained lots of media coverage and an overwhelming response with 31,598 entries including over 650 images from 99 schools across the UK. Of the entrants 100 were selected to represent a unique record of our shared and individual experiences during this extraordinary period of history, the images chosen conveying feeling of humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope. 

The National Portrait Gallery and Kensington Palace approached us and asked for our help. The aim was to create a national outdoor exhibition where the images could be shown across the UK and within local communities. 

For us, community is at the heart of everything we do. It’s in our DNA. So, we were incredibly proud and excited to be given an opportunity to be a partner and bring these incredible, striking and powerful images to life across our towns and cities.  

Bringing the exhibition closer to you 

Steve Murrells joined The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this morning in Waterloo to view the 100 portraits. This is one of the 112 community exhibitions in 80 towns and cities across the UK.  

There are plenty of ways you can experience the community exhibition. Portraits will be on city centre posters throughout Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and London. What’s even more exciting is that we’re also taking this exhibition to local communities too. Many of the portraits will also be displayed in the hometowns where the pictures were taken. These locations include Belfast, Liverpool and Southampton to more rural areas such as Blaenau Ffestiniog (Gwynedd), Delabole (Cornwall), Marston Moretaine (Bedfordshire), Knypersle (Staffordshire Moorlands) Oban (Argyll) and Thorpe Audlin (West Yorkshire). 

On top of this, a beautiful mural of Melanie has been painted right in the heart of Manchester in the Northern Quarter which took four days to paint.  

Co-operate, our community platform has also become a Hold Still hub. Here, you can find out more about the exhibition, a link through to the National Portrait Gallery’s digital exhibition and search where across the UK the posters sites can be found.  

Finally, the exhibition is also available to experience in our stores too. Our community screens in 1,500 Co-op stores across the UK will also be displaying a selection of the portraits. We’ll also have a selection of portraits on display at our North Lancing store from Saturday 24 October displayed for 25 days. 

We want to give as many people as possible an opportunity to see, connect with and experience the Hold Still exhibition. We’re so proud to have played a part in a project that will forever reflect one of the most challenging periods in our history. 

Please enjoy this outdoor exhibition in your communities. We also have some beautiful and striking content hosted in Social Hub that you can share with your social media networks. Please join the conversation on Yammer or on social media using #HoldStill2020. 

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. The mural of melanie is stunning. What a picture it paints; yes literally but also emotionally. So humbling.
    Ditto GE; a book of the images would be great. A future part of history. Great that our stores will display on screen too.

  2. Hello, what an amazing exhibition and fantastic to have the Backing of The Co-op and The Duchess of Cambridge too.
    I wonder, is there any opportunity to exhibit this in an additional location?

    You see, as well as being a Co-op Member Pioneer Co-ordinator, I am Director of a new Social Enterprise called Junction 7 Creatives C.I.C, in Stevenage, Herts. We are Creative Producers working with the community and key partners such as Stevenage Borough Council, Hertfordshire Year of Culture, Stevenage Reimagined, BEME (Black and Ethnic Minority Empowerment), etc, working on various projects, such as getting Artists from under represented groups to mount work into our many underpasses, etc, etc.

    We are due to open soon in a meanwhile space in the Town Square and we are planning to hold an exhibition themed ‘The Heart of a Town Lies In It’s People’, with similarly poignant and personal creations.

    How wonderful it would be to be able to feature this in the heart of a community space.
    If this is possible, please can someone contact me at Geraldine.strohm@coop.co.uk.

    Co-op never ceases to amaze and excite me. Thank You.


  3. This is beautiful, poignant and has given me goosebumps.
    How wonderful to be part of this.
    Well done to all involved

  4. Would be lovely if eventually the chosen photos could be printed in a book which could be purchased, with profits going to various charities.

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