About our Image Capture Project

Description and purpose of the project....

We are living in extraordinary times and the volunteers who run the Heritage Centre in Bellingham have launched an ambitious project to develop a photographic record of the impact of the Coronavirus on everyday life. They are asking people who live, work and visit the North Tyne and Redesdale area to help by capturing images on their phones and cameras of how Covid-19 is affecting their lives and communities.

Life changed dramatically for us all in March as the disease took hold of the nation, halting normal activities and imposing lockdown, hardship and uncertainty. The Heritage Centre itself saw its doors close to visitors, but volunteers are determined that something positive should come out of this unwelcome event and have launched a project called 2020Vision aimed at collecting images of life under Coronavirus. They hope that this will provide a valuable visual record of daily life in the area between March and October of this life-changing year.

“We would like to invite people to take photographs of life under lockdown and the effects of the virus as they go about their everyday lives,” said Steve Gibbon, Chairman of the Heritage Centre. “For future generations, these images of local businesses and shops, the leisure and tourism sector as well as the private lives and activities of friends, families and children, will provide a fascinating record and insight into how the communities dealt with the effects of the virus. It would be good to be able to record just how individuals and the community coped with new ways of working: social distancing, home schooling, wearing masks, even queueing. Historians will also see it as an extremely valuable resource.”

The Heritage Centre currently has a wonderful collection of historic photographs of the North Tyne and Redesdale area which can be seen online, but the volunteers see this 2020Vision project as recording history in the making. “Our current situation trying to live with the virus will live long in our minds,” said Stan Owen, who has a special interest in photographer W P Collier. “We want local people to take an active part in recording the aspects of life that matter to them and then submit them online. The Heritage Centre showcases their community and their history, and in years to come it will be their descendants who will be looking at the community’s story of the virus.”

Initially the project is gathering photographs taken between March and October this year, but there are hopes that it might be possible to continue image collection in this way providing an even more comprehensive visual record of 21st century life for posterity.

It will not be necessary to wait a lifetime to see the images submitted during this project. The Heritage Centre will be sharing some of the photographs over coming months online and it plans to show many more through a future exhibition.

How you can contribute....

Easy! Just go to our submission form, enter some details, select your image (or take one on your smartphone or tablet) and click submit. Straight forward.

What we will do with your images and data....

We will capture and store the image and associated data to our museum archove database for future use. Imagine, in 5, 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years time, people could be viewing one of your images and comparing it with how they live then.

We will also send you an email with the images and data we have generated - not just your original image, but 5 variants includimg sepia and greyscale versions for potentially comparing with similar images from the 1920s.

We are also putting together a digital exhibition of a selection of some of the images we receive. You will be able to see this later in 2020. Some selected images will also be posted to Social Media from time to time during the time the project is running.

What are we looking for and why?

Views from your bedroom window, empty streets, unusual notices or activities. It may seem perfectly mundane now, but in time these images will form an historic reference of these difficult times. Or even, a comparison with an image from 100 years ago from our online collection. Let your imagination create some interesting ideas.

Where are we interest - area map?

Primarily we are interested in images associated with the area of the North Tyne and Rede valleys upon which our heritage is based. If you submit an image from further afield we may well choose to keep it for the future, but are unlikely to use it immediately.

The map below gives a rough idea of the catchement area for the Heritage Centre.