07 09 2020
Supported by Arts Council England we are delighted to announce our first online portfolio review day. During the morning our guest expert reviewers will give short presentations on their career and advice for developing your career, in the afternoon there will be opportunities for one to one portfolio advice and reviews. On the day we will be joined by curator and artist Bindi Vora, artist Edmund Clark and artist Tom Lovelace.
Each review will cost £5 (plus booking fee) and last 25 minutes taking place on Zoom. Please note you can purchase a maximum of 3 reviews (one per reviewer). Spaces are limited so we recommend you book a.s.a.p.
Schedule for 3rd October:
10.00 AM – 10.15 AM – Registration and Introduction from GRAIN.
10.15 AM – 11.15 AM – Presentations from Bindi Vora, Edmund Clark & Tom Lovelace.
11.30 AM – 3.40 PM – Individual Portfolio Reviews, book your time slot below.
*This event is now fully booked.
Bindi Vora is an artist, curator, and curatorial project manager at Autograph, London. Since joining Autograph in 2018 she has co-curated solo exhibitions by Lola Flash and Maxine Walker. She is currently curating Poulomi Basu’s Centralia as part of the 2020 Louis Roederer Discovery Award.
Bindi previously held the position of curatorial assistant at the Hayward Gallery, organising exhibitions Lee Bul: Crashing and commissioning the inaugural Hayward Billboard by Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Prior to the Hayward Gallery she curated the off-site commissions for The Photographers’ Gallery, which included the international touring exhibition Work, Rest & Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today, featuring thirty-eight acclaimed photographers and artists and In Fine Feather at Selfridges London.
Edmund Clark’s work links issues of history, politics and representation through a range of references and forms including photography, video, documents, found images and other material. A recurring theme is engaging with state censorship to represent unseen experiences, spaces and processes of control in contemporary conflict and other contexts.
Clark has published six books and been exhibited widely including in major solo museum exhibitions at the International Center of Photography Museum, New York, the Imperial War Museum, London, and Zephyr Raum für Fotografie, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim.
Edmund Clark teaches postgraduate students at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. For four years Clark was artist-in-residence in HM Prison Grendon, Europe’s only wholly therapeutic prison.
Lovelace is a London based artist, lecturer and curator working at the intersection of photography, sculpture and performance. Lovelace is a Tutor at the Royal College of Art and London South Bank University. Central themes to his research and visual inquiry encompass the collaborative histories of photography and contemporary Minimalism. His curatorial projects include With Monochrome Eyes (2020), Rehearsing the Real (2019), Concealer (2018) and At Home She’s a Tourist (2017). Residencies include Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017), Lendi Projects, Switzerland (2015), European Capital of Culture, Aarhus, Denmark (2013) and the Anna Mahler International Foundation, Italy (2012). Lovelace exhibits with Flowers Gallery (London & New York) and Alma Zevi (Venice).
25 08 2020
Arpita Shah, Maryam Wahid, Nilupa Yasmin & Caroline Molloy
6pm – 8pm
£3 (plus booking fee)
This online event follows on from GRAIN and The New Art Gallery Walsall’s collaboration on the exhibition ‘Too Rich A Soil’ which opened on the 15th November 2019 and closed early due to lockdown. The exhibition presented new work that dealt with themes of identity and representation, from three British artists’ of South Asian descent, Arpita Shah, Maryam Wahid and Nilupa Yasmin. This session, originally intended to be a face to face symposium has been rescheduled as an online event. Each artist will have the opportunity to share a selection of their practice and contribute to crucial conversations about the politics of representation.
The event is organised by GRAIN in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall and will be chaired by academic Caroline Molloy. Places must be booked in advance and there is a small fee of £3.00 to attend.
Arpita Shah is a photographic artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She works between photography and film, exploring the fields where culture and identity meet. As an India-born artist, Shah spent an earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities. Shah’s work tends to draw from Asian and Eastern mythology, using it both visually and conceptually to explore issues of cultural displacement in the Asian Diaspora.
Maryam Wahid (b. 1995) is an award winning artist. Using the art of photography, Wahid’s work explores her identity as a British Pakistani Muslim woman.
She expresses the origins of the Pakistani community in her hometown Birmingham (UK) by exploring her deeply rooted family history; and the mass integration of migrants within the United Kingdom. Her academic background in Art, Photography and Religious Studies alongside her fascination in cultural cognition and religious ideologies have progressively influenced her work. Her work is autobiographical but delves into human experiences and existence today. She is keen to photograph the complexity of places around the world and the places people call home.
Nilupa Yasmin is a photographic artist based in Birmingham, West Midlands. Yasmin has a keen interest in the notion of culture, self-identity and anthropology, which she combines with her love for handcraft and photographic explorations, to repeatedly draw upon her own South Asian culture and heritage.
Her research examines the principles of craft in art based practice; becoming an evident methodology shown throughout her work whilst investigating ideals and traditions that are very close to home. Repeatedly drawing upon what it means to be a British Bangladeshi Muslim Woman, she aims to create a space of representation for the underrepresented, through her photographic practise.
Caroline Molloy is an artist, academic and writer. She is Programme Leader of Fine Art and Photography at UCA Farnham, alongside of which she is in the final stages of her PhD thesis that looks at the performance of transcultural identity in studio photography at Birkbeck, University of London. She has an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, and an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art. Caroline is well read in post-colonial and decolonising theory; her research interests are in raising the audibility of the maginalised voice through the activation of archives. She regularly writes about photography and visual culture for Visual Studies, The Journal of Visual Practice, Source Magazine, 1000words and Photomonitor.
GRAIN is delighted to have awarded the Format Festival Portfolio Award 2020 to Oliver Raymond Barker for his work ‘Trinity’. This is the fourth occasion that GRAIN has awarded a special prize at Format International Photography Festival.
Oliver Raymond Barker works with the mechanics and alchemy of photography to make images, objects and structures that expand upon what photography is and can be. Working predominantly with alternative analogue techniques he uses photography as a tool to uncover imagined narratives, unseen processes and underlying systems.
Recent exhibitions and displays include Belfast Photo Festival (2019), UNSEEN (2018), Newlyn Art Gallery (2017) & Four Corners Gallery for the London Pinhole Festival (2017).
Trinity engages with the unique ecology of the Rosneath peninsula in Scotland: the landscape itself, the networks visible and invisible that have been imposed upon it and the complex histories embedded in its fabric. Early christian pilgrims voyaged to remote corners of the British isles such as Rosneath in search of sanctuary; peregrini who sought to use the elemental power of nature as a means of gaining spiritual enlightenment. Today, the peninsula is dominated by the presence of HMNB Faslane and RNAD Coulport, the home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent Trident. Existing alongside these sprawling sites are the small, temporary constructions of itinerant activists – locations such as the Peace Wood bear traces of their occupation.
The works made originate from 20 x 24 inch paper negatives, exposed in a unique custom built ‘backpack’ camera obscura – designed to allow creation of large format images in remote locations.
12 05 2020
With thanks to Arts Council England we are pleased to announce our new online programme which means we can continue to share new work, support the making of work and engage with projects from the safety of our homes.
As part of our online programme we have a series of commissions and bursaries aimed at exploring, responding to and documenting the current historical and significant time we are experiencing.
The commissions and bursaries will support photographers and writers to make new work in isolation ( at a social distance), reflecting on these times & contributing to creativity and wellbeing. Outcomes will be shared with audiences via our digital platforms. (Health & safety is particularly important, all projects must follow the government guidelines for the lockdown and social distancing).
We are interested in work that responds to the following themes; Social Distancing, Family, Community, Caring, Togetherness, Relationships, Health & Wellbeing, The Economy, Work, Key Workers.
We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds. If applicants have any additional needs and would like support with their application please do get in touch at
There are a number of strands to this programme and the opportunities are open to photographers, artists and writers who are based in England. Please send your applications to Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org, within your email please state which strand of the programme you are applying for.
Commission: Fee £2000, Deadline 10th June 2020
- We are awarding 2 commissions aimed at artists & photographers with a track record of producing high quality work.
- A strong commitment to working at a professional level
- Ambition for their work and practice
- The work created must be able to be shared digitally
- The work must be made in a 5 month period between June and October 2020.
- To Submit please send your CV, examples of previous work & website links, and description of the work you propose to do (maximum 500 words) to Stephen.email@example.com
Micro Bursary: Fee £500, Deadline 15th June 2020
- We are awarding 6 bursaries aimed at emerging artists & photographers including recent graduates from 2020.
- The bursary will also include advice from the GRAIN team.
- The work created must be able to be shared digitally before October 2020.
- To Submit please send your CV, examples of previous work & website links, and description of the work you propose to do (maximum 200 words) Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing Bursary: Fee £250, Deadline 15th June 2020
- We are awarding 2 writing bursaries.
- The work created must be for text that has a photographic theme.
- Submit a CV, examples of previous work & website links, and a short synopsis of the writing you would undertake to Stephen.email@example.com
20 03 2020
Photographer Andy Pilsbury was awarded a Photobook bursary to support the development, creation and production of a new photobook dummy. The bursary includes professional feedback and guidance through a number of portfolio reviews with industry professionals.
Titled The Flesh & the Fantasy, the book dummy presents five stories connected by the export of American culture and its manifestation by outsiders in the UK. Interwoven with dreams and reality, or flesh and fantasy, Andy presents a multi layered narrative of symbolism, ideology and culture that journey through different genres and iconic subcultures commenting on both historic and contemporary themes.
With the American Dream becoming toxic and corroded in the USA, there still is an allure to Europeans who seek to transcend the monotony of life at home through embracing American narratives and clichés.
The timing of this work is extremely notable with the run up to the American elections, Trumpism and its political impact and the UK’s so-called special relationship with the US, alongside our positioning in Europe post Brexit.
Andy used long time friends and collaborators, Wild Ilk to design the book, and it was printed by Team Impression in Leeds. Hardback 200 x 250mm, perfect bind, 107 pages.
As part of the bursary, Andy was able to attend the FORMAT International Photography Festival portfolio reviews to present the book dummy to a range of industry leaders including figures from galleries, agencies, magazines, media, photography festivals and publishing. Throughout the day the work was received very positively with plenty of feedback to move the project forward.
Andy Pilsbury is a photographer whose particular interest is the presentation of American culture within the UK. Drawn to communities, individuals and subcultures he forms wider narratives based on his own experience and notable historic and contemporary themes.
Alongside personal and commissioned projects he works as a Senior Photography Technician at Birmingham City University, educating students in the craft. He is commercially represented by Lisa Pritchard Agency, London.
30 10 2019
GRAIN worked with a group of young people from the rural town of Whitchurch, Shropshire. Jamie, Rowan, Kelsey, Robyn, Matthew, Noah and Dylan attend the youth group at Beechtree Community Centre in Whitchurch. They created their own photography projects to tell the stories of how they live their lives, what the town and community mean to them and to explore what its like to grow up in a rural town.
Whitchurch is a market town in northern Shropshire. It lies 2 miles east of the Welsh border, 20 miles north of the county town of Shrewsbury, 20 miles south of Chester, and 15 miles east of Wrexham. At the 2011 Census, the population of the town was 9,781.
You can see the work created by the young people by following the
@WittyPhotographers Instagram page.
The project was led by Stephen Burke and in partnership with The Hive, Shrewsbury and supported by Labyrinth Photographic and Arts Council England.
Image Credit: Photography by Robyn
13 10 2019
During September 2019 artist Nilupa Yasmin undertook a residency at Brixton Market to make new work based on her meetings and making with the market stall holders. During the residency she remarked on a very evident wave of energy she received from the space. This energy, colour and vibrancy is translated into the new images and woven work that she has made. Weaving has become a sense of performance for Nilupa during this residency. In the new work there is a character in each piece along with an injection of the excitement and surprise in what she’s making.
Photofusion members observed Nilupa making work on the Saturdays and were intrigued by the pattern making and how different images related to each of them.
Nilupa Yasmin’s work is primarily lens based, while taking a keen interest in the notion of culture, self-identity and anthropology. Combined with her love for handcraft and photographic explorations, the artist repeatedly draws upon her own South Asian culture and heritage. The practice of weaving, passed down through inheritance, has become an integral exploration in the development and expression of human value. Her research examines the principles of craft in art-based practice; becoming an evident methodology shown throughout her work whilst investigating ideals and traditions that are very close to home.
Her work is exhibited at Photofusion until 20th November 2019.
19 09 2019
GRAIN in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall presented an exhibition which brought together three photographers, Arpita Shah, Maryam Wahid and Nilupa Yasmin whose practices are rooted in the exploration of cultural identity.
Together they presented new and existing work focused around portraiture, culture and female identity. Through making work both about and in collaboration with their families and communities, these artists celebrate the rich and varied roles of women in society.
This exhibition provided an opportunity to expand upon narratives around the Asian diaspora and in particular the roles and identities of women.
A selection of works from Shah’s series ‘Purdah – the Sacred Cloth’ were shown; which presented contemporary women based in the UK from a variety of South Asian backgrounds who chose to practice traditions of head covering or veiling. West Midlands based Wahid and Yasmin created new work. Wahid’s portraits of women encountered in Pakistan, aim to recognise and celebrate women’s contribution to the economy and society. Yasmin’s self-portraits, with their multi-layered and manipulated surfaces, reflected upon femininity and cultural identity.
Exhibition Dates: 15th November 2019 – 19th April 2020..
Image Credit: Photography by Jonny Bark
29 08 2019
‘What’s it like to be sixteen years old now?’ This is the central thread running through the ambitious touring exhibition SIXTEEN. Photographer Craig Easton conceived this work following his engagement with first-time voters in 2014. Unlike the rest of the country, sixteen year olds in Scotland were given their suffrage for the first, and as yet only time, in the UK.
Later Craig invited award-winning fellow photographers Robert C Brady, Linda Brownlee, Lottie Davies, Jillian Edelstein, Stuart Freedman, Sophie Gerrard, Kalpesh Lathigra, Roy Mehta, Christopher Nunn, Kate Peters, Michelle Sank, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Simon Roberts and MFA candidate David Copeland to join forces with him to develop the project.
Together they collaborated with more than one hundred and seventy young people from diverse communities across the country to explore their hopes, fears and dreams. Each photographer selected a theme and a location. These span large conurbations such as London and Manchester, and include Wales, Northern Ireland, the north and south west of England, and the Scottish Islands.
Sixteen is an age of transition. At a time of increasing national and international anxiety, these young people are shifting from adolescence to become the adults who will live in a politically reshaped country, divorced from the European Union. It is an issue they had no say in. Working with photography, film, social media, audio recordings and writing, Craig and his colleagues give voice to those rarely heard.
The incisive portraits and the young people’s candid testimonies reveal whom and what they really care about and reflect the trust engendered between the sixteen year olds and the photographers. This gives the project significant potency, and highlights how social background, gender, ethnicity and location influence a teenager’s life and ambition.
A bespoke series of work from the broader SIXTEEN portfolio has been selected for this public realm exhibition, which is produced and commissioned in partnership with GRAIN, Birmingham City University, Millennium Point Trust and Arts Council England. It includes finely wrought portraits of local sixteen year olds by the internationally acclaimed photographer Kate Peters who grew up in the Midlands.
Join us for the exhibition launch after The State of Photography III symposium, from 5.30pm – 7.30pm at the Parkside Building, Birmingham City University.
Image Credit: (c) Kate Peters, Anthony, 2018
23 08 2019
Friday 11th October 2019
9:30 am – 17:30 pm
Birmingham City University, The Parkside Building, B4 7BE
The State of Photography will consider, explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops and responds in this political moment. How do we look at our world today, how do we collaborate and work with communities and what does the world look like to photographers?
We invite acclaimed and outstanding photographers, artists, writers and curators who work collaboratively and in the fields of community photography and socially engaged photography to join us, to give important historical context, to debate contemporary approaches and to talk about their practice at this time of political uncertainty, international crisis and creeping right wing ideologies. Each have different approaches to making their work, to engaging with individuals and communities and to telling stories. They have been artist, story teller, observer, collaborator, explorer and researcher.
Some collaborate closely with community members, marginalised groups and those with little or no opportunity to speak out, others offer a more external perspectives on social issues and situations. Does one offer a better more ethical way? Is it important to come from a community or do you become too involved? Is objectivity important? How do we ensure the engagement is sincere and does not exploit? And where does the artist and author feature in the work?
The role of photography is changing, particularly as work is commissioned and made for exhibition and gallery settings. Photography can impart the greatest truth of our times and sheds light on injustices, inequality and other aspects of our society. It has been and remains one of the strongest vehicles for change as photographers explore polities, gender, society, sexuality, diversity, economics and environment. It seems today – a time of political unrest, flux and crisis – more essential than ever to explore the role that photography can play.
During the Symposium we will hear from the perspective of the photographer, curator and academic. They share our concerns about the present and offer a diverse range of practices, experiences and stories that document the state of humanity and the world today.
The State of Photography Symposium aims to present new bodies of work, question and challenge ideas, as well as offering advice and talking about positive approaches to influence change, provoke, prompt and give a voice. We will hear from and celebrate those that create self-initiated projects and commissioned bodies of work and see a range of photographic practices that are at the cutting edge of photography now.
- Daniel Meadows
- Anthony Luvera
- Julian Germain
- Clementine Schneidermann
- John Hillman
- Liz Wewiora
- Anand Chhabra
- Sam Ivin
- Concession: £18
- Standard: £25
*Please note prices include tea/coffee at registration but do not include lunch.Book your tickets here
Image Credit: Photography by Jonny Bark