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Carrying Us (2021) - Elsa Monteith, Hazel Davis, Adam Laurence

Part of Future of the High Street by Historic England

Film premiere & release: 26 March 2021

Lighthouse-produced short film will be released on 26 March 2021



Carrying Us (2021) is an audio-visual patchwork that explores the past, present and personal of Brighton’s high street through spoken word and video collage. Imagining the high street as a vessel – a container of both commerce and community – that can be held up to the light, three young Brightonians interrogate what pockets we want to preserve and protect. This is their high street, a place of potential, imagined and collective hope for a different future.


Creators: Elsa Monteith, Hazel Davis, Adam Laurence



About the film

Carrying Us is a collaborative project created by ​Elsa Monteith​, ​Hazel Davis​ and ​Adam Laurence​ from the Lighthouse Young Creatives 2019-2020 cohort. As first-time filmmakers, they were guided through the process by their Story telling mentor Kitty Wallace and supported by Lighthouse to produce the film.


The concept of the film is focused on the idea of containment, inspired by their collective interest in The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, by author Ursula Le Guin. Through viewing the High Street as a vessel that contains both business and community, their film follows a journey into the high street via bus, and explores the experience of the high street from different perspectives. The film features layers of phone, camera and archive footage to represent different themes, and through narration and spoken word it aims to communicate that the essential aspects of people and community are at the core of the high street.

About the artists

Elsa Monteith

Elsa is a forward-thinking freelance creative working with design studios, arts organisations, exhibitions, and radio platforms to help advance accessibility and representation in and beyond the arts industry. Elsa has been published internationally, writing on intersectionality, neurodiversity in the arts, and interdisciplinary music culture, whilst working in several different mediums including curating audio, delivering conceptual art projects, collaborating with film, and facilitating inclusivity in practice workshops. Elsa looks to work with like-minded people with a vested interest in progressive thought, innovative action, and shared spaces.


Elsa led the script writing process of the project, working alongside spoken word artist Hazel Davis. She wrote and performed the narration in the voiceover for the soundtrack, which frames Hazel’s rhythmic spoken word. Elsa’s cinematography, captured on her phone, is present throughout the film and leads the visual journey.


Hazel Davis

Hazel is a spoken word artist, writer and creative producer with a grassroots focus. Hazel is the co-founder and curator of community-centred arts showcase The Westbury Sessions, platforming progressive young talent across spoken word, hip hop and experimental music scenes. Hazel is a team member at accessible political magazine The Fight Continues and presenter of Poets’ Corner, a monthly session on Platform B radio showcasing spoken word, lyrical rap and experimental poetry.


Hazel’s focus on the project was in devising and performing the spoken word featured in the soundtrack. They formed the piece alongside Elsa’s narration, inspired by the conversations surrounding the collaborative creation of the concept. She also contributed to the collection of phone footage to show the personal and human aspect of the film.


Adam Laurence

Adam is a radio, podcast, events and film producer based in London. In 2018 he founded Search History, an experimental music and performance event series dedicated to unearthing and showcasing the best talent within the underground scene. Search History draws on Adam’s interest in moving beyond norms of genre in event spaces and the airwaves alike. Adam is currently developing a new podcast series dedicated to the state of music education in the UK, featuring an exciting range of guests who reflect on their experiences and discuss what a more accessible and progressive future for the sector might look like.


Adam contributed his experience in sound and music to the project by directing the sound design and composition for the film. He worked closely with the composer & sound designer, Alice Boyd, to direct a soundtrack that communicates the different aspects of the concept, creating a sense of place and complementing the spoken word and narration.

About the project

This project was supported by Screen Archive South East, who provided access and use of their archive for the film.

The film was commissioned by Historic England as part of their High Streets Cultural Programme. You can find out about all of their planned projects for 2021 here.