As part of her BA Filmmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013, Harley Spence returned to her home town Stockton to film a short piece on Stockton High Street.
She asked just one question to those filmed: ‘What do you think about Stockton?’
Some of the responses were positive- a few participants could envisage the future. They could see the long-term potential to return growth, prosperity and people to the High Street.
Yet, many couldn’t and keenly voiced their frustrations; seeing the town as a place lost, a home of only charity shops, chaos and lack in comparison to earlier glory days. Often with a sound of resignation to the opinion that the damage was irreparable.
Reflecting on the outcome and the stories told, Harley felt the narrative being used by many wasn’t a fair impression of her home. The place she knows. The community she plans to return to post-graduation to set up her own local business in advertising and wedding documentary film-making.
So she set about creating a new film project. One to find the hidden positive success stories and try to bring those to the fore, helping to present an alternative to the negative conceptualisations of our town.
Film is not the only creative talent of Harley’s, a passionate guitar player, she studied Music Technology at Bede College Billingham before securing her place at her first choice University. Her involvement in two local bands Red Rabbits and Human Traffic, the latter playing at the Riverside Festival in 2010, has given her insight into the vibrant local music scene in and around Stockton High Street.
Using this knowledge and bringing those skills together, she is creating a piece of film that documents the positive survival stories. Combating the story often voiced locally of decline and lack. In this on-going work she highlights the great unique shops that are building in strength, number and reputation. The live music session Saturdays at Sound It Out Records and the vivacious nights at KU Bar, The Storytellers and The Georgian Theatre.
You can see Harley’s previous works by clicking here and we can’t wait to see the final work of the latest piece!
Harley will be taking commissions to produce advertising and wedding documentary films when she returns back to Stockton around May 2014 – she is offering incredible discounts, and some limited free work as she builds her portfolio, to her first local clients. This is an amazing opportunity to work with a passionate, qualified creative- if you’d like to contact her to discuss any potential commissions she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Local passionate creatives making a difference – that’s Real Stockton.