23 03 2020
Photographer Clare Hewitt, awarded the 2019 GRAIN Bursary Award, has developed a project that aims to look at isolation through working with a community of individuals and a woodland of trees.
Through support from STEAMhouse, Clare has created, developed and produced 24 pinhole cameras that have been installed into 12 oak trees at The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research.
The pinhole cameras will be living in the community of trees for the next year, forming part of her project based on the ways that trees communicate in contrast to rising levels of human isolation and loneliness in rural areas.
Recent studies have found that isolation and loneliness are increasing in the UK, and lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).
In her work Clare aims to address this issue through building a community of individuals who identify as lonely or isolated, and working with them to create a year-long photographic study of a community of ancient oak trees.
Although trees appear to be individual organisms above ground, scientific research shows that their complex communication methods facilitate survival, nurture and pass on wisdom, and send warnings when they are under attack. In a time when loneliness is increasing, segregation is being encouraged politically, and isolation driven through technology, there is much that can be learnt from the unity of the forest. This project is also supported by STEAMHouse, Birmingham City University.
Clare Hewitt is a photographer based in Birmingham. After completing a degree in Law at Oxford Brookes University, Clare went on to study Commercial Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth. She found that both subjects relate to a complex interest in human beings, their habits, behaviours and experiences, and through photography she could explore this in a more creative way.
In 2011 Clare’s work was selected for Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed at The Photographers’ Gallery, and has since been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, 2013. In 2016 and 2017 she was included in the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward emerging photographer selection for Eugenie and Kamera, and the British Journal of Photography’s nationwide Portrait of Britain exhibition. Clare has recently been shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society’s IPE #161, and selected for 209 Women, a photographic portrait project that marks the centenary of women achieving the vote in the UK in 1918.
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.
24 09 2018
A new large scale art installation to celebrate 100 years of Votes for Women by Helen Marshall
The ‘Face of Suffrage’ artwork, a floor-based, 200 metre-square photo mosaic, is made up of more than 3,700 images of females from across the West Midlands and beyond. When viewed from above, it shows Hilda Burkitt, a leading face from the suffrage movement in the West Midlands. Evaline Hilda Burkitt was born in Wolverhampton in 1876 and died in 1955. She was the first suffragette to be forcibly fed a total of 292 times and had a job at the Birmingham WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) headquarters, in Ethel Street, near New Street station. Hilda threw a stone at Prime Minister Herbert Asquith’s train as it pulled out of Birmingham New Street after he attended a male-only budget meeting and she was imprisoned at Winson Green prison.
The image is made up of a combination of historical pictures of women involved in the suffragette movement from the West Midlands in the early 1900s and of females today using photographs submitted by the public be part of the commemoration. The artwork will be on display until Friday 14 December – the day which marks the 100th anniversary of women voting for the first time.
The mosaic was created by artist Helen Marshall of The People’s Picture, who has installed similar projects across Britain marking other historic and significant occasions.
The artwork was on display between Thursday 15 November to Friday 14 December – the day which marks the 100th anniversary of women voting for the first time.
A unique exhibition accompanied the artwork and could be seen at Birmingham Hippodrome from 16 October 2018 – 31 January 2019.
This project was supported by Network Rail, Cross Country Trains, GRAIN Photography Hub, Arts Council England, LSE Women’s Library, Birmingham City University, Birmingham Hippodrome and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
About Artist Helen Marshall and The People’s Picture
The People’s Picture is a project by award winning artist Helen Marshall. Marshall’s practice is rooted in photography and socially engaged practice. The People’s Picture combines thousands of photographs to tell a story, commemorate an important occasion or bring attention to important social issues. You can find out more about her previous body of work, education and exhibitions at helenmarshall.co.uk.
Each photo mosaic is assembled from thousands of photos yet every single one tells a story. In 2006 The Big Picture broke the world record for the largest photo mosaic in the world. Clients include BBC Television, Tate Britain, Canary Wharf Group and The Photographers’ Gallery. The People’s Picture projects have been featured in the national news and are held in private and public collections in a diverse range of locations including cathedrals, museums, airports and on the street.
Marshall is an image maker and a storyteller. She has a track record in photography, design and collaborative practice. Her work is made for an audience at large, often outside the gallery or institutional art space. Realised in the public realm, the work has a performative relationship with photography. By engaging people as the primary producers and contributors of the work the art takes on a new identity. Popular icons and faces are featured as the emblems of our time. Commissions include queens, footballers, soldiers, and the average person on the street.
10 08 2017
Photographer Sam Ivin has worked with individuals and community groups in Stoke on Trent to explore migration to the city. During the residency he has focused on the participant’s personal photographs and stories, working with people who moved to the city from after World War II to the present day. These include Sikh families in the 1950’s, war veterans, and more recent individuals. They have travelled for a wide range of reasons: professional opportunities, education and refuge from difficult circumstances.
Most participants have engaged with the project through a series of workshops, others through individual meetups. During the project those taking part have taken photographs, shared photography collections, made photo collages and told their stories, focusing on what led them to live in Stoke-on-Trent. Fascinating, brave and poignant stories have been captured and recorded alongside precious photographs that tell something of the participant’s story.
Photography is part of these people’s journey; from the places and people they left to their new lives in Stoke-on-Trent. Photographer Sam Ivin has created a new archive of photographs from people’s contributions.
Sam Ivin is a photographer whose work focuses on social issues and the people connected with them. His pictures attempt to demonstrate the impact situations have on his subjects. By documenting their stories and perspectives he hopes to provide a more personal, tangible understanding of them. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport graduating in 2014. Since then he has been awarded numerous significant photography prizes including the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award, May 2017, The GMC First Prize, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, March 2017, the Best Graduate Single Image, Runner Up, British Journal of Photography (BJP) Breakthrough Award 2016 and the Winner of Best Single Image, Human Category at Renaissance Photography Prize 2015.
A selection of the archive, entitled ‘Settling’ will be exhibited in Stoke on Trent at The Big Feast Festival during August 2017.
Image Credit: Walerian ‘Val’ Tyminski
Photographer: Unknown/Possibly Fellow Soldier
Location: Florence, Giotto’s Bell Tower in the Background.
Description: Val poses for a photograph in Florence. He spent a year in Italy after World War II had ended, occasionally the Polish Army would go on one or two day excursions to nearby places of interest.
21 06 2017
Following an Open Call photographer Sam Ivin has been awarded the new Residency commission in Stoke on Trent. The residency will see Ivin engaging with individuals and communities that moved to or migrated to Stoke-on-Trent from within the UK or internationally. Those that have made their home in the city and work in the city have made Stoke-on-Trent a diverse community and the city it is today.
Photography is part of these people’s journey; from the places and people they left to their new lives in Stoke-on-Trent. These photographs will be in people’s family albums, stored in shoe boxes, treasures and keepsakes for themselves, their families and friends.
Ivin will create an archive of photographs and a new work for exhibition. The archive will tell the participant’s stories of arriving in the city and where their journey started from. A positive project, Ivin will celebrate commonalities using images from local people’s own photography collections, having them work with these images to present a contemporary archive and a work for exhibition.
The residency will take place between June – September 2017.
During his previous project, Lingering Ghosts, Ivin visited Sanctus St. Mark’s, a refugee support group based in St. Mark’s church in Stoke-on-Trent. This body of work, commissioned by Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, saw him working with refugees in all parts of the UK. Since publishing the award winning and critically acclaimed Lingering Ghosts in February 2016 and exhibiting the work around Europe Ivin has become increasingly interested in the integration of migrants in UK cities.
Ivin will create an archive of photographs focusing on the migrant community in Stoke on Trent by looking back through family and personal archives, having conversations and delivering workshops. He will investigate the topic of immigration through migrants’ perspectives.
Sam Ivin is a photographer whose work focuses on social issues and the people connected with them. His pictures attempt to demonstrate the impact situations have on his subjects. By documenting their stories and perspectives he hopes to provide a more personal, tangible understanding of them. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport graduating in 2014. Since then he has been awarded numerous significant photography prizes including the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award, May 2017, The GMC First Prize, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, March 2017, the Best Graduate Single Image, Runner Up, British Journal of Photography (BJP) Breakthrough Award 2016 and the Winner of Best Single Image, Human Category at Renaissance Photography Prize 2015. www.samivin.com
Featured image above: Sam Ivin. Pakistan from Lingering Ghosts. 2015, Fabrica, Treviso, Italy.
Sam Ivin. Sudan from Lingering Ghosts.2015, Fabrica, Treviso, Italy.
17 12 2016
International Residency Exchange Artist
Artist Dimitri Haddad was awarded the International Residency Exchange based on a proposal he developed to consider Birmingham’s textile industry. Through research and photography he explored the innovations of the industrial revolution and the impact of globalisation.
During the residency Dimitri undertook research at the Library of Birmingham archives and within the built environment to find traces of the industrial revolution. He found that the first modern cotton spinning machine was invented by John Wyatt and Paul Lewis and was first operational in Birmingham’s Old Square. He contrasted this with the city’s retail offer, shopping centres and busy shopping and commercial spaces.
During the residency Dimitri documenting the city, particularly the shopping areas, created a series pf photographs and hand printed this imagery onto textiles inspired by the pre-industrial age. At the end of the residency period he handmade a dummy photo book incorporating a poem by poet John Dyer. The photo book, with text, take the form of a textile pattern book.
The residency was developed in collaboration with the IED, Madrid and the exchange opportunity was awarded to Dimitri Haddad and to Anneka French. This opportunity is part of a broader series of continuing professional development conceived and developed by GRAIN.
Image credits: Dimitri Haddad, 2016
19 04 2016
The new residency opportunity, in collaboration with the IED Madrid, has been awarded to curator and writer Anneka French for her exciting proposal that looks at her relationship with photographic practice.
During the residency she aims to produce original curatorial research and new writing while expanding her professional development on an international scale.
Anneka’s research investigates the body within the physical space of the city, particularly investigating photography and performance through the lenses of curating and writing. She is a freelance curator and writer and has worked at Tate Modern, Ikon Gallery, New Art Gallery Walsall and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Anneka also works as editorial manager of contemporary art magazine this is tomorrow and writes reviews and essays for a range of platforms including Apollo Magazine, a-n and Photomonitor.
The residency is a special opportunity to research and devise new work that contributes to professional development, portfolio and the cultural significance of the spaces/hosts/communities.
This opportunity is part of a broader series of continued professional development opportunities conceived and developed by GRAIN in partnership with IED Madrid, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University.
The Residency has been designed as an exchange. At the same time a residency will be undertaken by an artist, photographer or curator from Madrid/Barcelona in the West Midlands, UK.
‘Photograph by Mitra Saboury’
06 02 2015
Artist Faye Claridge uses archives, folklore and reminiscence to imagine our past relationships and our current sense of national and personal identity. In 2012 she started an artists’ residency at the Library of Birmingham, exploring the Sir Benjamin Stone Collection of over 22,000 photographs amassed by the Birmingham MP and noted amateur photographer (1838-1914).
Stone’s obsession was to “record history with the camera” for future generations. Claridge’s work questions how we can approach such an ambition today and her work asks how our sense of self, geography, community and time can be formed through the celebration of real and imagined customs.
From the residency Claridge has produced three new projects, the most prominent of which is Kern Baby, a giant corn dolly and photographic event. The finished work is a five meter-high version of a harvest figure originally photographed by Stone in 1901. Currently installed in the grounds at Compton Verney until December 2015, Kern Baby then moves to the Library of Birmingham in May 2016.
Claridge also followed in Stone’s footsteps to Cheshire and Warwickshire, making a series of photographs, The Children Of The Choosing, from Knutsford Royal May Day and A Child For Sacrifice from work with the Marton Museum of Country Bygones. Some of this work is still in progress and will be seen at the library in 2016.
After the research residency at the Library of Birmingham, supported by Turning Point West Midlands, Claridge secured funding from Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue her Stone-inspired work.
Credit: © Faye Claridge – Kern Baby (installation view, Compton Verney)
02 12 2014
I Sell the Shadow to Save the Substance new work by Lucy Hutchinson is exhibited on The Photographers’ Wall from 2nd December 2014 – 22nd February 2015.
The body of work is the result of a residency undertaken by the artist at The Library of Birmingham, awarded by Turning Point West Midlands.
The work is a response to the study of Carte-de-Visite images from the library’s nationally and internationally significant photography collection. The Carte-de-Visite images, taken in Birmingham Studios, document the Victorian middle class dressed up in their finery. Staged against opulent backdrops and scenery the images often contrasted the subjects’ social status by using props as a representation of position and wealth.
In response to these historical images, the artist has developed three female identities. The characters and sets created are representations of women of British middle class heritage who have lived in Hong Kong for a number of years. Using the conventions of classical portrait structure, the presentation of these characters explores how these subjects, who no longer relate to either culture, attempt to remain quintessentially British.
Through combining contemporary and historical status symbols directly associated with ‘Britishness’, ranging from influential designers to ideas of moral hierarchy which are present in the British middle class, the artist has explored how these characters present their status and questions the importance of authenticity in images.
Tbe work is exhibited on The Photographers’ Wall, The Library of Birmingham.
Image Credit: © Lucy Hutchinson