Blog Archive

What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
15th January – 18th April 2021

What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase, an exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Edgar Martins, will open at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry on 15 January 2021 to coincide with Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations.Commissioned by GRAIN Projects, Martins worked for four years with the inmates of HM Prison in Birmingham, the largest Category B prison in the Midlands, and their families as well as a myriad of local organisations and individuals to create a new body of work that explores loss, conflict and confinement.

The resulting book, What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase was shortlisted as the best Photobook of the Year in Paris Photo & Aperture Photobook Awards as well the PhotoEspaña Book Awards.

By using image and text, new and historical photography, evidence and fiction, Martins’ work explores how we deal with the absence of a loved one, brought on by enforced separation through incarceration and lockdown.

The subject matter and focus take on a new and important resonance during these times of Covid-19 and the absence, loss and experience of confinement that this has brought to so many people.

Edgar Martins said: “By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing absence as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, my work tried to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration and confinement. I went to great lengths to avoid images whose sole purpose, in my opinion, is to confirm the already held opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment and to instead look at loss and absence.”

Artist exhibition tour:

See the online version of the exhibition here .

 

Photography by Garry Jones

GRAIN In partnership with Appetite have been running online photography workshops with Veteran service men and women, as part of the Appetite at Home programme.

The participants have been sharing photographs, stories and experiences of their time in the armed services as well as creating new photographic work, that explores themes around journeys, life development and the joy of the outdoors.

Please see a selection of photographs made by the participants:

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Main photograph by Teri Elder

Picturing England’s High Street is a three year project which will deliver six photographer-in-residence programmes at six high street locations across England, as well as artist mentoring and a digital nationwide mass participation project.

The photographer-in-residence programmes are a key part of this project. The six photographers-in-residence will work with local communities to reimagine the high street, producing images which will become part of the Historic England archive. High street users and the community are at the heart of this project and we are looking for photographers whose practice is socially engaged.

The six photographers-in-residence will be selected via open calls beginning in March 2021. Working closely with Photoworks, Open Eye Gallery, Photofusion and QUAD/Format we will select six photographers via an open call to be part of the six photographer-in-residence programmes working closely with local communities in Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent (GRAIN Projects), Prescot and Chester (Open Eye Gallery), in London (Photofusion) and in Leicester (QUAD/ FORMAT).

The photographer-in-residence programmes will also include mentoring support delivered by Impressions Gallery, PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Centre), Redeye The Photography Network, ReFramed and The Photographers’ Gallery.

Picturing England’s High Street will also include a digital mass participation project due to launch in 2022. More news on this will be announced soon.

How to apply

The Open Calls for Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Prescot and Chester will launch in March 2021. Followed by Leicester and London, which will launch in Spring 2021. Please sign up to register your interest and to be notified when each open call goes live.

Register your interest via

Open Calls: Historic England, Picturing England’s High Streets – Photoworks

The residencies will take place at different high street Heritage Action Zone across England. The locations are:

Coventry – working with GRAIN Projects

Coventry is a city with a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. Now a diverse and young city, and UK City of Culture 2021. Coventry’s buildings tell the story of a proud, innovative past built on peace and reconciliation. Today Coventry is a city of sanctuary, diverse cultures and communities. We are looking to select one artist to work as photographer-in-residence in Coventry. This residency will be led by GRAIN Projects and will draw on their regional expertise and existing connections in the local community. The open call for the Coventry photographer-in-residence will go live in March 2021. Find out more about this opportunity and our partner GRAIN Projects here.

 

Stoke-on-Trent – working with GRAIN Projects

Stoke-on-Trent is a city in Staffordshire formed by the federation of six towns. Since the 17th century the area has been the home of the pottery industry in England.  The six towns are tight knit communities, all distinct with a rich and unique heritage. We are looking to select one artist to work as photographer-in-residence in Stoke-on-Trent. This residency will be led by GRAIN Projects and will draw on their regional expertise and existing connections in the local community. The open call for the Stoke-on-Trent photographer-in-residence will go live in March 2021. Find out more about this opportunity and our partner GRAIN Projects here.

 

Prescot – working with Open Eye Gallery

Prescot was a market town known as ‘a town of workshops’ because of its diverse commercial activities that included all stages of watchmaking, pottery, coal mining and tool making. The photographer-in-residence programme in Prescot will coincide with the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse which is currently under construction in the town and Knowsley’s role in Liverpool’s Borough of Culture status for 2022. We are looking to select one artist to work as photographer-in-residence in Prescot. This residency will be led by Open Eye Gallery and will draw on their existing connections in the local community. The open call for the Prescot photographer-in-residence will go live in March 2021. Find out more about our partner Open Eye Gallery here.

 

Chester – working with Open Eye Gallery

Chester’s regeneration plan and the High Street Heritage Action Zone is focused around the Chester Rows and surrounding area. We are looking to select one artist to work as photographer-in-residence in Chester. This residency will be led by Open Eye Gallery and will draw on their regional expertise and existing connections in the local community. The open call for the Chester photographer-in-residence will go live in March 2021. Find out more about our partner Open Eye Gallery here.

 

London – working with Photofusion

We are looking to select one artist to work as photographer-in-residence in London. This residency will be led by Photofusion and will draw on their expertise and existing connections in the local community. More information about this opportunity and details about the open call for the London photographer-in-residence will be released in Spring 2021. Find out more about our partner Photofusion here.

 

Leicester – working with QUAD/ FORMAT

We are looking to select one artist to work as photographer-in-residence in Leicester. This residency will be led by QUAD/FORMAT and will draw on their expertise and existing connections in the local community. More information about this opportunity and details about the open call for the Leicester photographer-in-residence will go live in Spring 2021. Find out more about our partner QUAD/FORMAT here.

Public Programme:
What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase

by Edgar Martins

In association with the exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

17th Feb, 6 PM, Zoom, Book here:
Edgar Martins will share with audiences the process of making and developing the project as well as the production of the book that accompanies the exhibition.

17th March, 6 PM, Zoom, Book here:
Edgar Martins will be in conversation with artist, writer and educator Mark Durden. They will discuss the project in detail, examining the themes, intentions and results of the work.

About the exhibition:
What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase, an exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Edgar Martins, at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry to coincide with Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations.

Commissioned by GRAIN Projects, Martins worked for four years with the inmates of HM Prison in Birmingham, the largest Category B prison in the Midlands, and their families as well as a myriad of local organisations and individuals to create a new body of work that explores loss, conflict and confinement.

The resulting book, What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase was shortlisted as the best Photobook of the Year in Paris Photo & Aperture Photobook Awards as well the PhotoEspaña Book Awards.

By using image and text, new and historical photography, evidence and fiction, Martins’ work explores how we deal with the absence of a loved one, brought on by enforced separation through incarceration and lockdown.

The subject matter and focus take on a new and important resonance during these times of Covid-19 and the absence, loss and experience of confinement that this has brought to so many people.

Edgar Martins said: “By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing absence as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, my work tried to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration and confinement. I went to great lengths to avoid images whose sole purpose, in my opinion, is to confirm the already held opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment and to instead look at loss and absence.”

For full information about the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum opening times and Covid – 19 restrictions please visit www.theherbert.org 

About Edgar Martins:
Edgar Martins was born in Évora (1977) (Portugal) but grew up in Macau (China), where he studied Philosophy and where he published his first novel entitled “Mãe deixa-me fazer o pino”. 
He studied for a BA (Hons) at the University of the Arts (London) and an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art (London).
 His work is represented internationally in several high-profile collections, such as those of the V&A (London), the National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), RIBA (London), the Dallas Museum of Art (USA); The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum/Modern Art Centre (Lisbon), MAAT/EDP Foundation (Lisbon), Fondation Carmignac (Paris), MAST (Italy), amongst others. 
His first book—Black Holes & Other Inconsistencies—was awarded the Thames & Hudson & RCA Society Book Art Prize. A selection of images from this book was also awarded The Jerwood Photography Award in 2003.
 Between 2002 and 2018 Martins published 15 separate monographs, which were also received with critical acclaim. These works were exhibited internationally at institutions such as PS1 MoMA (New York), MOPA (San Diego, USA), MACRO (Rome), Laumeier Sculpture Park (St. Louis, USA), Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon), Centro de Arte Moderna de Bragança (Portugal), Centro International de Arte José de Guimarães (Portugal), Museu do Oriente (Lisbon), Centro de Arte Moderna (Lisbon), MAAT (Lisbon), Centro Cultural Hélio Oiticica (Rio de Janeiro), The New Art Gallery Walsall (Walsall, UK), PM Gallery & House (London), The Gallery of Photography (Dublin), Ffotogallery (Penarth, Wales),The Wolverhampton Art Gallery & Museum (UK), Open Eye Gallery (Liverpool), amongst many others. In 2010 the Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian (Paris) hosted Edgar Martins’ first retrospective exhibition. 
Edgar Martins was the recipient of the inaugural New York Photography Award (Fine Art category, May 2008), the BES Photo Prize (Portugal, 2009), the SONY World Photography Award (Landscape cat. 2009; Still-Life cat 2018; Architecture cat., 2018), the Int. Photography Awards 2010 (Abstract category), etc. He was nominated for the Prix Pictet 2009.
He was selected to represent Macau (China) at the 54th Venice Biennale.

About Mark Durden:
Mark Durden is an artist, writer and educator.  He has written extensively on contemporary art and photography. His most recent publications include Double Act: Art and Comedy (2016), co- written with David Campbell, and The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory (2019), co-edited with Jane Tormey.  With Ian Brown and David Campbell, Durden regularly exhibits as part of the artist group Common Culture.  Their current solo show Little Deaths opens at Rampa in Porto in March 2020.  With Campbell he has co-curated a number of substantial exhibitions on art and comedy: Double Act (Bluecoat, Liverpool and the MAC, Belfast in 2016) and The Laughable Enigma of Ordinary Life (Arquipélago, centro de artes contemporâneas, São Miguel in 2017). Together with João Leal, and in collaboration with Scopio Network, Durden is currently working on a photography project in response to the architecture of Álvaro Siza. He is Professor of Photography and Director of the European Centre for Documentary Research at the University of South Wales, UK

Familiar Faces by Adina Lawrence, is an exhibition in and about Newcastle-under-Lyme. GRAIN partnered with  Appetite and Newcastle-under-Lyme BID.

The exhibition captures the familiar faces and the unique welcome of Newcastle town centre through the power of photography. Running from Friday 29 January until Sunday 1 August, the exhibition of portraits will be seen across three sites in Newcastle-under-Lyme; on Ironmarket, High Street – next to the war memorial – and High Street – near to Poundland.

Photographer Adina Lawrence captured the portraits of Newcastle workers in the Town Centre during December 2020; to highlight local retailers, shops and businesses and celebrate the historic town centre as it is now. The images shine a light on the diversity, strong offers, culture and heritage of the town and the businesses’ resilience during the most challenging of times.

The exhibition includes portraits that capture the wide range of businesses across the town centre, from business owners and staff to new businesses starting out, thriving market stalls to established shops who have been operating in the town for up to 500 years, independent unique outlets to international chains.

Access and Useful Info 

  • Please support us by adhering to our COVID-Safe measures whilst enjoying Familiar FacesHands / Face / Space
  • Please adhere to the lockdown guidelines by visiting Familiar Faces whilst doing your essential shop or during daily exercise

About Adina Lawrence:
Adina Lawrence is a Black British portrait photographer who makes portraits of people that show character, personality, strength and  diversity. Her pictures are compelling contemporary portraits that tell a story.  She is based in Stoke-on-Trent and has BA Hons degree in Photojournalism from Staffordshire University.

Instagram – @adinamya

The project is a collaboration with Appetite, Creative People & Places and is supported by New Vic Theatre, Partners in Creative Learning (PiCL), 6Towns Radio, Staffordshire University, Newcastle-under-Lyme BID, Go Kidsgrove, Keele University and Arts Council England.

Exhibition photograph by Andrew Billington

In 2020 Laura Dicken was awarded by GRAIN and New Art West Midlands the International Bursary Award, in partnership with Galleri Image and Aarhus Billedkunstcenter.

Laura has created ‘You Are Another Me’ an inclusive, socially engaged arts project which explores the experiences of women (and female identifying individuals) from a variety of backgrounds who have, for different reasons, migrated alone.

She took an extended amount of time for research and development over the Summer of 2020 to radically adjust her practice so that she can still co-author and co-create with participants in a meaningful way under the new remote circumstances brought on by Covid restrictions. This has been achieved by embracing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, email and WhatsApp.

Working closely with the Aarhus Billedkunstcenter Project Manager, the artist has made connections with local organisations in Aarhus who support migrant women and has invited potential participants to take part in the project. Laura will still collaborate with participants through conversations, shared images and storytelling, but will now do so digitally rather than through in person workshops.

Laura will be delivering an artists talk at Galleri Image and Aarhus Billedkunstcenter remotely in 2021

GRAIN have worked in collaboration with young people from across Shropshire, including Telford Young Carers, Shropshire Young Carers, XYZ and Steps Forward youth groups, to make photographs that document young people’s lives during a year like never before.

The young people took part in both online & in person workshops creating their own photography projects to tell the stories of how they live their lives, what it’s like to grow up in a rural area and their experiences of Covid – 19 and life in lockdown.

The resulting photographs offer a documentation of this historical time period and reveal the importance of family, friends and the outdoors to the young people.

The project was led by Stephen Burke, in partnership with The Hive, Shrewsbury, supported by Frosts Photo Centre and Arts Council England.

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From March to October 2020 GRAIN commissioned and supported artists, writers and photographers to make new work in response to the Covid- 19 pandemic, lockdown and new laws around social distancing. The commissioning and bursary programme was a national response supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Players.

12 photographers, writers and artists made new work responding to the unprecedented, uncertain and disturbing time of the pandemic, the affects of lockdown in the public realm and the personal and private space.

We are excited to be sharing work by; Andrea G ArtzLydia GoldblattChris HoareDaniel DaleFreddy GriffithsJemima YongNgadi SmartShaista ChishtyAnneka FrenchAnna SouterJamila Prowse and Lewis Bush.

Find our more about each of the Photographers, Writers and Artists here.

Image Credit: Pandemia to Pandemia, Andrea G Artz

From March to October 2020 GRAIN commissioned and supported photographers to make new work in response to the Covid- 19 pandemic, lockdown and new laws around social distancing.   The commissioning and bursary programme was supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Players and Birmingham City Council.

7 photographers made new work in Birmingham responding to the unprecedented, uncertain and disturbing time of the pandemic, the affects of lockdown on communities and individuals at work and at home.

We are excited to share the work of; Jaskirt Boora, Andrew Roberts, Barnaby Kent, Chris Neophytou, Joanna Fursman, Olivier Jamin and Yas Lime.

Find our more about each of the Photographers and Artists here. here.

Image Credit: All People Are Like Grass, Barnaby Kent

From March to October 2020 GRAIN commissioned and supported photographers to make new work in response to the Covid- 19 pandemic, lockdown and new laws around social distancing.   The bursary programme was supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Players and Appetite; Creative People & Places.

3 photographers made new work in Stoke on Trent responding to the unprecedented, uncertain and disturbing time of the pandemic, the affects of lockdown on communities and individuals at work and at home.

We are excited to share the work of; Robyn Clark, Sarah Peart and Holly Johnson.

Appetite is a Creative People and Places programme supported by funding from Arts Council England and led by the New Vic Theatre in partnership with Partners in Creative Learning, 6Towns Radio, Staffordshire University, Newcastle Business Improvement District (BID), Go Kidsgrove and Keele University.

Find our more about each of the Photographers and Artists here.

Image Credit: Sarah Peart


Copyright 2016 GRAIN.