News & Press

Mark Collins Hayes Photo 1 IndustryThe Our Hayes Our Heritage Project and Hyatt Place West London/Hayes are proud to present an exhibition of photographs taken in and around Hayes by local photographers in a free two-week public exhibition at Hyatt Place West London/Hayes, 4–17 June 2018.

There will be an evening reception and prize-giving on 8 June 2018, 6-8pm – both the exhibition and prize-giving are free and open to all, so please do come along, celebrate with us, meet the photographers and show your support for local artistic talent.

The exhibition includes a selection of images commissioned especially for the Our Hayes Our Heritage project taken by local professional photographer, Toby Van de Velde. Also on display are the three prize-winning entries from our photography competition, alongside the shortlisted entries and further works by burgeoning local talent.

First prize goes to Mark Collins for his evocative piece, ‘Industry’. “It really speaks to me of the area’s historical position in industry,” said competition judge, Toby Van de Velde. “In black and white it gives a grainy, well composed vision of the heart of Hayes’ working heritage.”

Second prize goes to Michael Gaga-Hale for his capture of the early morning commute. “It’s atmospheric lighting and silhouetting of modern day commuters coming and going to work from Hayes and Harlington Station juxtaposes against the first place image very well. A complimentary pair,” Toby explains.

Third prize goes to Annette Sissons for her atmospheric shot of Nipper. “EMI, and Nipper the dog, have such an important place in the history of Hayes,” said Toby. “The moody sky against the harsh industrial buildings with Nipper filling the foreground works well.”

The Our Hayes Our Heritage project is led by Uxbridge College and supported by A New Direction, Hillingdon Community Trust funded by Heathrow, Segro & Barratt London. The project utilises the industrial heritage of Hayes, with a focus on EMI, Nestle and the Grand Union Canal, as a springboard for local cultural activity. The project aims to enhance community cohesion, bringing together different groups and ages through the exploration of local heritage.

As part of the project, Toby facilitated two film photography workshops – one with Age UK Hillingdon and one with young carers from Hillingdon Carers at Hayes and Harlington’s Young People’s Centre – and also led a film photography walk from Botwell Green Library around Hayes Town, encouraging locals to use their cameras to pay attention to the town and see it with fresh eyes, documenting places and faces.

“As a Hayes resident for five years, and a Hillingdon Borough resident for 11 years, plus a photographer on the Uxbridge Gazette for 13 years, I know Hayes very well,” said Toby, speaking about his involvement in the project. “The opportunity to be involved in the Our Hayes Our Heritage Project was one that I was very pleased to be given.

“The wealth of diversity in Hayes, coupled with its history, makes it a fascinating area, and the chance to be involved in documenting its residents and scenery is one that I have very much enjoyed doing.

“The enthusiasm shown by the participants in the photography courses was amazing to witness, and the changing face of the area as I document the old and the newly developed side by side, shows that Hayes is a place that not only has history, but also has a future as well.

“The resultant exhibition and online resource that will come from the work I am involved in, will be a source of fascination and delight for generations to come, I am sure.”

Find out more about the Our Hayes Our Heritage Project, share your own photos and memories quoting #ourhayesourheritage and get involved:

glyph logo May2016 @ourhayesourheritage


Our thanks go to Hyatt Place West London/Hayes for hosting the exhibition. The Hyatt team also recently hosted work by local artist Komal Madar and Uxbridge College Art and Design students – it is wonderful to see a local business supporting arts and heritage and engaging with the local community in this way.

Unity 2018 1200 DSC 0168Students from Afghanistan, Eritrea, ‘Kurdistan’, Somalia, Syria, Egypt and Vietnam gave compelling presentations about their countries of origin to peers who have grown up in the UK, as part of the Unity 2018 event.

They talked about the unique histories and cultures of their homelands, from human rights issues such as fair elections and whether girls as well as boys are allowed to go to school, to the right to free speech and the consequences of civil conflict, to religious festivals, and the most beautiful scenery and tastiest dishes. They also shared that despite there being an estimated 35 million Kurds living on the borders of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey where the countries meet, Kurdistan is not recognised as a permanent nation state.

The ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students also proved they could teach as well as learn by getting the audience to say words such as ‘hello’ in their own languages.

The group gave their speeches using the information boards they had created, which featured important landmarks, food and facts, and were displayed in the LRC at Uxbridge College in Hayes.

Unity at Uxbridge College is an annual event which brings together students from all backgrounds to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences of life, and to promote British values. This year Unity ran for four days with a series of class groups visiting the exhibition to hear the talks.

Claire Beale, Course Team Leader - ELT - Young Learners, said: “Unity is a fantastic opportunity for both students and staff to find out more about each other’s cultures - I certainly learned a lot! For those who have been raised in the UK and grown up in peacetime with rights like a democratic vote, access to education regardless of gender, and laws to protect everyone’s human rights, it can be a real eye-opener to find out that there are so many people of their age who have not been able to take these things for granted. And it was great to see English speakers learning foreign languages as well as the reverse!”

Ofsted, which requires British values to be promoted as part of spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) education at schools and colleges, defines them as relating to: democratic process; the rule of law; separation of power between the executive and the judiciary; freedom to choose a faith and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs, and combatting discrimination.

For more photos from the event see

Richard Taylor with photo IMG 9120A powerful talk by Damilola Taylor’s father Richard on the tragic consequences of knife crime was part of a hard-hitting awareness week held at Uxbridge College in response to the Mayor of London’s ‘London Needs You Alive’ campaign.

Richard (pictured giving his talk to Uxbridge College students) began campaigning to combat violence amongst young people after his 10-year-old son was tragically killed in Peckham in 2000. He spoke to students about the personal and community impact of Damilola’s untimely death.

Richard’s charity, the Damilola Taylor Trust, is committed to supporting young people to lead safe and healthy lives, and to reach high to fulfil their potential. A donation was made to the charity through student fundraising.

Richard’s talk was attended by around 500 learners, with another 1,000 watching on live stream. The event was one of a number held during the awareness week at College, which also included a first aid workshop from the charity StreetDoctors, and a range of other talks, workshops, exhibitions and tutorials. The week was inspired by Sadiq Khan’s campaign to educate young people about the risks of knife crime.

Liam Plumridge, Course Team Leader for Employability, Progress and Review, who organised the event as part of his work supporting tutorials and student development activities said: “This series of events gave our students an important insight into what are unfortunately becoming increasingly serious issues for all young people, not just in London but all over the country and worldwide. It is a top priority at Uxbridge College to do everything we can to help our learners to stay safe and make well-informed decisions in every area of their lives, and I have no doubt that this week of events will support them in doing so.”


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