Tuesday, October 20, 2020

"Hold Still" moves offline and onto billboards around the UK


Back in September I wrote about the "Hold Still" digital exhibition on NPG website. Since then the digital exhibition has had over 4.8 million page views to date.

Hold Still is an ambitious community project, launched in May 2020, to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown.

Today the National Portrait Gallery announced that a Community Exhibition can now be seen on billboards around the country. 


From today, the final selection of portraits, unveiled in a digital exhibition in September, will be:

  • exhibited for a period of four weeks on billboard and poster sites across the country, including at bus stops, in high streets and outside train stations. 
  • Groups of works will be shown on posters in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and London. 

  • Many of the portraits will also be displayed individually in the entrant’s hometown with locations ranging from 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). 
  • Some of the portraits will also feature on community screens in over 1,500 Co-op stores across the UK.
  • One of the portraits ‘Melanie, March 2020’, taken by Johannah Churchill, has been recreated as a hand-painted mural in Manchester city centre.
All one hundred works will also be on display at Hold Still Exhibition at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire from 23 October until the 6 December 2020.

The exhibition has been led by the Duchess of Cambridge as Patron of the National Portrait Gallery. Today The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Waterloo in south London to mark the launch of the UK-wide Hold Still community exhibition and viewed the final one hundred Hold Still portraits displayed on billboards outside Waterloo station, one of 112 community exhibition sites in 80 towns, cities and areas across the UK. 



The Hold Still community exhibition sites are in the following towns, cities and areas across the UK. Some locations have more than one community exhibition site.
  • A - Aberystwyth, Arundel, Alrewas (National Memorial Arboretum), Ashford (Kent), 
  • B - Baldock, Balham, Belfast, Bethnal Green, Bingley, Birmingham, Bishop's Stortford, Bootle, Borehamwood, Bournemouth, Bradford, Bredbury Romiley, Brighton, Bristol,  Brockley, Burgess Hill, Burnt Oak
  • C - Cambridge, Cardiff, Carshalton, Cheltenham, Cockenzie And Port Seton, Croydon, Cumnock
  • D - Dulwich
  • E - Eaglescliffe, East Ham, Eastbourne, Edgware, Edinburgh
  • F - Fareham, Finsbury Park, Folkestone, Forest Hill
  • G - Gidea Park, Glasgow South, Gosport, Gravesend
  • H - Harringay, Hemel Hempstead, Hitchin, Hyde
  • K - Kensington
  • L - Lancing, Lewes, Litherland, Liverpool
  • M - Manchester, Marylebone, 
  • N - Norwood, Notting Hill
  • O - Oxford
  • P - Peterborough Rural, Poole, Preston, Purley, Putney
  • R - Ramsgate, Reading, Roehampton, Rotherham
  • S - Sale, Southampton, Southfields, St Ives, Stenhousemuir, Stoke On Trent, Sutton
  • T - Teddington, Tottenham, 
  • W - Walthamstow, Wanstead, Waterloo, Westminster (National Portrait Gallery), Wimbledon, Wokingham


About the Exhibition

Hold Still invited people of all ages from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait, which they had taken during lockdown, in a six-week period during May and June. A panel of judges, including the Duchess of Cambridge and National Portrait Gallery Director, Nicholas Cullinan, selected the final 100 portraits from 31,598 submissions.

Focussed on three core themes – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness – the images selected present a unique record of our shared and individual experiences during this extraordinary period of history, conveying humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope.

The exhibition is supported by the Co-op, which launched ‘Co-operate’ in April to help connect vulnerable people to local and national support initiatives and has recently provided emergency relief funding to 4,500 community causes. 


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