Kate Jackson is fascinated by the resilience of small shops and businesses in Langley, still known affectionately by locals as Langley Village. The shops here make a considerable, yet often overlooked contribution to the area’s economy. Recently the Office for National Statistics reported a total of 1,772 shops disappearing from the UK’s town centres over the last year; almost five closing every day. At a time when the demise of the high-street is rarely out of the news, Kate’s project is a portrait of Oldbury high-street, its shops and businesses, the daily lives of the people who operate them.
This commission is part of the Forge Artist Open Call Programme which invited 12 West Midlands artists and/or curators to make new bodies of work for the Blast! Festival and take part in a mentorship programme.
Born in West Bromwich and raised in Wednesbury, Kate Jackson first started taking photographs of the local area and people in her teens and has continued to do so ever since. She is a member of Laundry, a group of artists who join together to develop and deliver collaborative projects. Much of her work to date is focused within Sandwell as she is passionate about working with people and communities in the area.