Case Study: Surviving Lockdown

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2.

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, MarketPlace supported Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC to create a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. The project developed into an exploration into the connection between the medium of photography to support people’s wellbeing and mental health.

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

An excerpt from the case study:

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC created a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. As photographers interested in using digital cameras to support people’s wellbeing and mental health, they invited local residents to contribute three words that summed up their life experiences during lockdown as a portrait and record of Wisbech in that time. The Creative Conversations in Lockdown commission created a book of resident feelings and stories left over a dedicated phone and text service called Lockdown Easedown. They were capturing a universal moment in time this project was revisited for further development.

As the pandemic continued, a further investment was made to continue to evolve this project idea and document the impact of the latest lockdown on residents. The power of sharing and telling stories that resonated from the first book, ‘Lockdown Easedown’, was highlighted as a development opportunity to be embedded from the beginning of this second commission. Partnering with writer Bel Greenwood, lunchtime online workshops developed the creative writing skills and contributions of Wisbech residents, the Click Therapy artists and community organisers to reflect upon their experiences.

The participants wanted to share their stories more widely, they lent themselves to being performed but the participants didn’t want to do that themselves, so a connection with the local theatre group was made. The vulnerable nature of some of the stories being shared could have left participants increasingly vulnerable by sharing them directly, alongside developing new skills to adapt and perform their work. Drawing upon the skills and interests of community producer Jodie Hicks, she reformed her theatre troupe to bring the experiences of selected stories to life and launch the second book, ‘Surviving Lockdown’.

“I’ve been in a theatre group with my friends Chris and Glenn for a couple of years. So we haven’t actually done anything for a long time, and then I started working for MarketPlace. Colin, Creative Agent, spoke about my interests, and I said my primary interest is theatre and stuff like that. Colin, just kind of, came up to me and said, ‘I have an idea I’ve been working on with Click Therapy that would lend itself quite well to kind of theatrical reading. And would you, or know anyone, [who would] be up for it?’ And I kind of thought, well, it seemed quite ideal for us and to see them as kind of monologues.” – Jodie Hicks, Alternate Orbit Theatre

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

A Rainbow Isolation…

In the Autumn of 2020 photographer, Mercedes Rollason, had an idea.

To present a positive, colourful and flamboyant portrait of the LGBTQ community living in Fenland and Cambridgeshire.

However, at the end of 2020, it became obvious that this concept was not going to happen quite as planned. Why? Mercedes discovered an LGBTQ+ community feeling disheartened, isolated and not enthusiastic about living in Fenland.

Mercedes discussed the project with Creative Agent Colin and together they explored how it might continue. People were not feeling positive enough to show themselves publicly in photographic portraits. What if Mercedes could interview them and combine their words with a visual portrait of the landscape around them?

Mercedes pushed forward and the result is a stunning and moving collection of quotes and photographs that the reveal the lives of individuals living in Fenland.

For February 2022 the photographs were displayed in March Library (Ely also requested a display and presented it at their main doors). Mercedes did see a big shift in the attitude and spirit of those she interviewed in December and January 2021. She said at the time:

“Coming out of lockdown really does seem to have put some positivity back in people’s lives. Isolation can be an overwhelming situation. The LGBTQ community was already feeling isolated so the pandemic just reinforced that feeling. Something changed around April. Colour seemed to return”.

If confidence can grow we would love people to contact us about photography and other artforms that might explore and reflect the realities of living in the Fenland LGBTQ+ community.

If you would like to take part in the next stage of the project please contact

Click the logo to visit Mercedes’ website

Chapter in our Lives by Regina Ray

As part of our Creative Conversations in Isolation commissions programme, photographer Regina Ray, was commissioned to make portraits of key workers in Newmarket, during the period of lockdown.

Regina is a medical photographer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and working during the Pandemic, she was inspired to ask the question:

‘If this was a chapter in your life, what would the bold print be?’

‘The WHY is obvious – because we love stories. We love to tell them and we love to hear them. We are fascinated by other people’s life stories and these stories help us define ourselves. But moreover, in times as unusual as these, when no one has prior experience, the sum of collective experiences will contribute to knowledge wealth and potentially makes us much more adaptive and prepared in the future. Storytelling is a way of collective learning and my aim is by telling individual stories to contribute to the collective survival knowledge base.’ Regina Ray.

Regina’s project was exhibited at Babylon Gallery, Ely as part of their All Together Now exhibition which took place in October 2020. Watch a short tour of the exhibition here.

Explore her full gallery here.

See how the project developed on the Chapter in Our Lives Facebook page.