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
FORMAT, QUAD (Derby) and GRAIN Projects (Birmingham) are delighted to announce a new collaborative project that will provide fifteen emerging artists and photographers with a professional development opportunity. This is the third East Meets West collaboration and follows two very successful previous editions.
During the Masterclass sessions industry and art form leaders will share their knowledge and practical advice on developing a successful career, self-initiated marketing, self-publishing, methods and applying for and obtaining funding. The sessions will also include guidance on portfolio development, production techniques, editing and sequencing for publications, expanding ideas and research, writing exhibition interpretation and project statements, exhibition layout and curation. The programme will also offer group portfolio review sessions where reviewers will provide feedback regarding work and current projects.
The Masterclass programme aims to offer guidance in a supportive collaborative learning environment in order to allow photographers to build confidence in their practice and network with fellow practitioners. The programme will offer a platform for participants to receive personal guidance and participate in career focussed discussions that will make a difference to their work and contribute to their professional development.
Masterclass participants will be given a chance to share their work at a dedicated FORMAT PhotoForum event. There will also be a production budget provided for participants to work as a collective to create a self-directed joint outcome of their choosing, such as a newspaper, publication, event or exhibition.
This opportunity is aimed at emerging photographers wishing to broaden their perspectives and push the boundaries of their personal development. We welcome diverse and innovative submissions.
Masterclass events, speakers, portfolio reviewers and workshop leaders include: Peta Murphy (Arts Council England), Mahtab Hussain (Artist), Abbas Zahedi (Artist), Natasha Caruana (Artist), Colin Pantall (Writer & Photographer), The Photocopy Club (Photographer, Curator & Publisher), Nicola Shipley (GRAIN), and Louise Fedotov-Clements (FORMAT & QUAD).
The cost for the Masterclass programme is £200 and will be payable once accepted onto the programme. We have two bursary places available at £150, for participants who live in either the West or East Midlands.
Due to expected high numbers of applications for this programme we are asking people to apply with your CV, a letter of interest explaining why you would like to apply for the programme and how you think it would benefit you, as well as a link to your website or a PDF of a selection of images. If you are based in the West or East Midlands please note on your application if you would like to be considered for both the bursary price and standard price.
Deadline for applications: Midnight 22nd September
Please send your applications to Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates For Masterclass Programme:
Friday 11th October 2019, 9.30am – 5pm, Birmingham City University
State of Photography Symposium
Saturday 30th November 2019, 9.30am – 5pm, New Art Gallery Walsall
Theme: Funding, Development, Survival Skills and Portfolios
Saturday 25th January 2020, 9.30am – 5pm, Birmingham City University
Theme: Writing & Photography, Picture Editing & Sequencing
Saturday 15th February 2020, 9:00 – 17:30, QUAD, Derby
Theme: Exhibitions, Audiences, Interpretation, Portfolios and Participation
Saturday 11th April 2020, 9:00 – 18:00, QUAD, Derby
The Photocopy Club Photo-Zine Making Full-day Workshop
Thursday 30th April 2020, 18:30 – 20:00, QUAD, Derby
East Meets West Masterclass FORMAT PhotoForum
Image Credit: (c) Tristan Poyser
Commissioned by GRAIN, this multifaceted body of work was developed, over a period of 2 years, with HMP Birmingham (the largest, category B prison in the Midlands, UK), and in particular its inmates, their families as well as a myriad of other individuals and organisations (such as charities, colleges, universities and youth centres.)
Martins’ work uses the social context of incarceration to explore the philosophical concept of absence and address a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. By giving a voice to inmates and their families and address prison as a set of social relations, rather than a mere physical space, Martins proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.
His project, thus, wilfully circumvents images whose sole purpose, he argues, is to confirm the already help opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment: violence, drugs, criminality race – an approach that only serves to reinforce the act of photographing and photography itself as apotropaic devices.
Composed of three distinct segments, encompassing archive/new photography, text and sound, Martins’ work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame.
This ambitious and thought-provoking project is now published as a beautiful, two-book publication, that includes a facsimile copy of an inmate’s journal, produced especially for this context, and carefully edited and appropriated by the artist.
In an excerpt from the journal, observed details accumulate to form a powerful way of figuring the dehumanising and life-denying force of the prison: ‘Sometimes all there is to do when you’re stuck on the wing is to lean on the thin high rails and watch what’s going on around you. That’s when I noticed thick grey fluff on a step. And more on another step. Then I noticed it at the edges of the floor and above me on the piping. It was on the top of the nuts and bolts and on top of the wires that made up the netting. It was everywhere and I had never noticed it before. The grey fluff had blended in with the grey clothing of the grey people that cast grey shadows on the grey walls. I suppose the ideal prisoner should be grey, dull and dismal in nature. THEY’VE CREATED THE PERFECT GREY SPACE HERE.’
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY & INCARCERATION HAVE IN COMMON WITH AN EMPTY VASE contains over 500 pages, 130 photographs and documents and is supplied in a genuine prison bag, along with a surprise element.
This publication will support exhibitions of the work at Galeria Filomena Soares (Lisbon), Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), the Macau Museum of Art (Macau, China), the Museum of National and Contemporary Art (Lisbon), the Geneva Photography Centre (Geneva), amongst others.
01 07 2019
GRAIN are delighted to be working with photographer Arpita Shah on a new
commission which will see the photographer work with South Asian women
across Birmingham and the West Midlands.
Shah’s project ‘Modern Muse’ will explore, represent and celebrate South Asian
female identity across the city and region. The series will visually and
conceptually explore the ever-shifting identities of South Asian women in
contemporary Britain and give an insight into the perspectives of what it means
to be a young British and Asian woman.
Shah would like to invite young South Asian women aged between 16-30 based
in Birmingham and the Midlands to be involved in the project, so if you’re
interested in getting more info please contact Arpita at: email@example.com
Arpita Shah is a photographic artist and educator 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 the
issues of cultural displacement in the Asian Diaspora.
Arpita’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Detroit Center of
Contemporary Photography (2013); Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Focus Festival in
Mumbai, India (2015); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); Autograph APB
in London (2018) and Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow (2019). She is also the
recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme
which she will undertake in NY in September of 2019.
Image Credit – ‘Haseebah’ Modern Muse © Arpita Shah
14 05 2019
GRAIN Projects is seeking an Intern with an interest in contemporary photography, the visual arts, projects and events and participatory opportunities, linked to audience development and community engagement. This is a unique opportunity to work with GRAIN to develop your knowledge, skills and professional practice.
The individual should be ambitious and organised and interested in supporting the development and delivery of our programme. They should have the ability to work on their own initiative and be interested in working with people including practitioners, audiences and participants.
The applicant must have some knowledge of professional photography practice.
Responsibilities will include:
– Supporting the team in developing ideas for events and activities
– Assisting with events, commissions and artist development activities
-Admin and marketing tasks
-Research including interactive research
-Communicating with creatives, communities and audiences
The applicant will be selected based on the aforementioned skills rather than educational history or in-depth work experience.
This role will pay a fee of £1000, inclusive of all travel expenses. This is a part time role & will be roughly be 10 – 12 working days across the 6 months.
Location: Midlands. The Intern will be expected to work remotely and at a range of venues in Birmingham and the West Midlands dependent on the GRAIN programme of activities. Background and context GRAIN Projects is an arts organisation established to benefit the photography community and to reach and engage with new audiences and collaborate with participants. GRAIN works with national and international partners. We research, develop and deliver new, ambitious high-quality opportunities to strengthen photography in the region including commissions, exhibitions and a professional development programme. We develop opportunities for artists, audiences and participants and promote the sector nationally and internationally.
If you are interested in applying for this opportunity please email your cv, a letter of application outlining why you are interested in this opportunity and how you feel you would fulfil this role and a testimonial from a current project contract, employer, lecturer or similar. Please email to Nicola.firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for this opportunity is 31 May 2019.
Please note applications must be provided in full as described above and no applications will be accepted after the deadline.
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery 17th May – 22nd September 2019
Made in collaboration with local residents, Settling is an exhibition of pictures that tell the stories of people who have moved to Stoke-on-Trent from around the world. Stories include the life journey of World War Two veteran Walerian Tyminski, Pat Phillips the wife and business partner of a local artist, and Aida Haughton’s story on finding love in post-war Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The exhibition has two parts; The first is a projection of The Settling Archive and original photographs from contributor’s personal albums, digital versions of which will be gifted to the City Archives to preserve these stories. The second is Welcome Home, a series of diptychs by photographer Sam Ivin, made with contributors to the archive. Individuals own images are shown alongside a portrait created by Ivin, reflecting on the experiences that have bought them to Stoke-on-Trent. Audiences are also invited to share their own stories to the exhibition.
The exhibition is supported by GRAIN Projects, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Arts Council England.
Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, 7 May – 22 June 2019
Indre Serpytyte (b. 1983 in Palanga, Lithuania) is an artist living and working in London, UK. Serpytyte is concerned with the impact of conflict and war on history and perception. She works with photography, sculpture and installation.
GRAIN Projects commissioned Serpytyte to collaborate on research and make new work. This new project will be exhibited in partnership with Rugby Art Gallery & Museum.
It is estimated that throughout both World Wars, the Ministry of Munitions employed around a million female munitions workers in thousands of arms factories. These women played a crucial role in Britain’s strategy of “total war”. especially after Britain’s shell crisis in 1915 when there was a severe shortage of artillery shells on the front line. The women worked extremely long hours as production was focused on a 24-hour shift pattern with only one day off a week.
Using archive material from Midlands collections as well as from the Imperial War Museum Serpytyte has examined the relationship between widely publicised propaganda images of the female factory workforce, as part of a political project of moral boosting, and the images, accounts and ephemera that tell the largely hidden and forgotten story of the so-called ‘munitionettes.’ In her work she will look at the history of female work and life in the context of war, violence and political strategy as well as the home as a place of waiting, loss and a repository for memory and objects. Domestic objects on shelves and mantlepieces provided keep sakes as well as reminders of lives and death. Most unsettling are the vases made from spent ammunition shells, many of which were made by women in munitions factories, decorated by soldiers and sent home for ornamentation.
In her work Serpytyte will use these vases as a way to explore the complex relationship between domesticity, ornament, labour, class, gender, war and trauma. The work will explore the objects and materials of war.
Rugby Art Gallery & Museum
13th June | 12.30pm
The event is free & no need to book, join the artist in the gallery from 12.30pm.
Image credit: Photography by Jonny Bark