Responding to the Archive : GRAIN initiated professional development activities

Responding to the Archive

‘Responding to an Archive’ is a project in two halves offering two diverse responses to the Library of Birmingham photography collection. 

The first is ‘In Camera’, where GRAIN commissioned artist Mat Collishaw to research and respond to the Library of Birmingham photography collection.  Collishaw selected to work with a collection of orphan crime images to create a new installation.  The second is ‘Spirit is a Bone’, a GRAIN commission which invited artists duo Broomberg & Chanarin to make a new publication in response to the ‘archive’.  The work is to be published by Mack Books in late 2015. 

As part of this latest project GRAIN has initiated professional development activities to provide new opportunities for emerging practitioners.  The activity is supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University (BCU).

Over the last few years GRAIN has delivered professional development as part of its programme including mentoring, paid internships, curators’ bursaries, symposia, masterclasses, courses and portfolio development days.

Currently Birmingham based emerging curator and writer Oli McCall is working alongside the GRAIN team, reflecting on the project and the artists’ responses and writing and blogging about the work.  See for more information.

Recent BCU photography graduate Nicola Onions is working with GRAIN to increase her work experience in visitor engagement and experience.  Nicola participated in GRAIN’s 5plus5 international exhibition exchange during 2014 and has been selected for New Art West Midlands 2016.

Mark Wright, graduated in photography from BCU earlier this year. He is making a new series of work that takes a lyrical and poetic stance on the mundane.  Rather than this being a literal response to the ‘In Camera’ exhibition it is a development of his current practice that is influenced by the artist’s approach

Image credit: Photographer unknown, ‘Railway Guards, Chief Guard and Assistant, Moscow’, c. 1870

Albumen print from a collodion negative.  Sir Benjamin Stone Collection MS 3196 Library of Birmingham


Copyright 2016 GRAIN.