Events

100 Years of The Wasteland

17 November 2022

Events

National Poetry Day Celebration: The Environment

6 October 2022

Exhibitions

(Re)Production: Parenthood and the Art World

16 June - 3 July 2022

Events

In Conversation: Mindful Photo Project

2 July 2022

Exhibitions

Mindful Photo Project @ HMP Thorncross

9 June - 6 July 2022

Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: BA Hons Photography with Social Practice – UCEN, Manchester, with Open Eye Gallery

2 July - 5 July 2022

Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 28 June 2022

Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Hugh Baird University Centre

18 June - 21 June 2022

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: Follow The River, Follow The Thread

1 April - 12 June 2022

Past Events

Sustainability – Climate Change and the impact from Industry

17 May 2022

Open Source Exhibitions

Open Source #22: Bags For Life – Luke Saxon

1 May - 31 May 2022

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: LOOK Climate Lab 2022

13 January - 20 March 2022

Past Events

An evening with Maytree Poets

28 April 2022

Past Events

Recovery in Focus & Inside Stories

14 May 2022

Past Events

Homo Humour film screening & Q&A

7 May 2022

Past Events

Painting the Mersey in 17 Canvases Coast to Coast to Coast

21 May 2022

Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

Open Source #21: Ancestral Folk – Eunice Pais

1 April - 30 April 2022

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Follow The River, Follow The Thread

1 April - 12 June 2022

Exhibitions

Saturday Girl About Town at Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces: Wigan

28 January 2022

Past Exhibitions

WE

31 March - 1 May 2022

Past Events

Who Cares? – Symposium exploring the role of art & design in health & care

26 April 2022

Past Events

Socially Engaged Photography Network: North West regional meet up event ‘Co-authoring the Collection’ 

28 April 2022

HOPE COMMUNITY GARDEN/ FEEDING LIVERPOOL: REIMAGINING YOUR FUTURE FOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD

9 March 2022

SESSION 3: DERELICTION TO DELICIOUS

11 March 2022

PELOTON COOP: JOY RIDE

18 March 2022

Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: Grow Your Own

23 February - 20 March 2022

Taking Root Bootle – Growing on the Streets: Involving local residents In greening up public spaces

10 March 2022

Liverpool Food Growers Network: Panel Discussion

12 March 2022

Past Events

ECOSYSTEM 2: OPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

19 February - 20 March 2022

SCOUSE FLOWERHOUSE

2 March - 5 March 2022

Session 3: Windowsill Growing with Croxteth Community Garden

12 March 2022

Taster Menu

11 March 2022

Session 2: Dereliction to delicious

11 March 2022

Session 2: Introduction to beekeeping

11 March 2022

Session 1: Dereliction to delicious

11 March 2022

Session 1: Introduction to Beekeeping

11 March 2022

Session 2: Windowsill Growing with Croxteth Community Garden

10 March 2022

Session 2: Relax and Grow

10 March 2022

Session 1: Windowsill Growing with Croxteth Community Garden

10 March 2022

Session 1: Relax and Grow

10 March 2022

Compost Works – An Introduction into Composting

9 March 2022

Hope Community Garden/ Feeding Liverpool: Reimagining your Future Food Neighbourhood

9 March 2022

Liverpool Food Growers Network: Rethinking our Food System

9 March - 12 March 2022

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: NOVUS: Restricted Views – Creative Outlooks

1 December - 12 December 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: Collective Matters

1 October - 12 December 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: On the Brink

27 January - 19 March 2022

Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

Open Source #20: Matt Dunne

9 February - 28 February 2022

Arts Groupie Workshops

26 February - 19 March 2022

TREE: Live Storytelling Session

19 March 2022

Horti-Culture Sharing Sessions with Arts Groupie and Incredible Edible

19 March - 9 March 2022

Close
Close

A Spotlight On… Henry Iddon

Henry Iddon is a photographic practitioner with 25 years of experience working within socially engaged photography. Hollie-May Gibson interviewed him this month about his residency at The Mount and the participatory project work he created with St Mary’s Primary School, and what’s next for him.

 

Hollie-May Gibson: How did socially engaged photography come about for you? Were you aware of Socially Engaged practices before you started the project?

Henry Iddon: I’ve been around photography for 25 years or so, and been involved in various ‘community arts projects’ working with people, young people on the fringes of school life, and documenting events. Over the years there has been a shift from practitioners working in communities to working with communities. I think the emphasis has slowly changed to a more collaborative approach (rightly). I’m not sure when the phrase ’socially engaged practice’ was first used but it certainly seems more relevant now than it did twenty odd years ago. Those involved in creating work, the community/group participants, certainly and rightly now have more ownership of the outcomes. So as a practitioner it’s more about ‘they’ or ‘we’ produced this, as opposed to ‘I’ did this with them. Certainly the work I did with St.Mary’s is the young people’s, not mine. I just helped facilitate it. 

 

What approach did you take to working with St. Mary’s Primary School and their students? How did you engage them in the project?

The ‘Artist in Residence’ at The Mount in Fleetwood was funded by Wyre Borough Council with the aim of engaging the local community in The Mount Pavilion and the grounds around it, including the gardens. There were four key themes: the weather (The Mount previously contained a weather station), navigation (obviously Fleetwood is famous as a fishing port), the botany of the park area, and the general history of The Mount and Fleetwood. Originally I planned to work with young people / teenagers who used the park area and seafront to ‘hang about’ at weekends and evenings, but for various reasons that wasn’t practical at the time. St. Mary’s Primary is a few hundred metres from The Mount so it seemed the obvious place to connect with, and the head teacher Ann Kowalska was very accommodating. The plan was to use photography and photographic practices to explore the four themes with the young people and allow them to discover more about the area. Understanding local history creates a greater sense of place.

 

What themes were the children most interested in? What came from the collaboration?

I worked with four year groups: years 3, 4, 5 and 6. Each class learned how cameras worked through making camera obscura, doing cyanotypes, and pinhole images at The Mount then processing them in a darkroom I set up in one of the rooms on the site. All this was done while they explored the history of the area at their own pace. Photography is a magical thing for young people – seeing a cyanotype made, seeing how the physics works inside a camera and observing a print develop. There were lots of ‘wows’ going on during the sessions. We also looked at the weather and shipping forecast – Fleetwood is ‘Irish Sea’ – then they went off and photographed what they wanted at The Mount in relation to that day’s weather using digital cameras. So puddles if it was raining and so on. 

We needed a final outcome, and a lot of the work was done in the winter in blustery weather. One of the things the pupils enjoyed was looking at the plants at The Mount and identifying them using a phone app. It was also important that each class had its own piece of work – pupils are often very proud of ’their’ class and its identity –  and the idea of flags suddenly came to me. Having done standard cyanotypes on paper it gave the pupils the opportunity to use a skill they learned to do cyanotypes on fabric using the plants from The Mount Park. Each class could have it’s own flag in a different pattern using different plants, this brought us to Fleetwood nautical history and ships signal flags. So the class flags were their class ’signal flag’. This also allowed the young people to have fun spelling their names with signal flag designs and produce an individual piece on paper. 

Having spoken to a local historian it was discovered that Vice Admiral Sir Henry Mangles Denham had charted the coast of Lancashire and Cumbria (1840) . His surname sounded like ‘denim’ so it was going to be fun to use denim as the base material for the flags and reference him. Hiut Denim the jeans manufacturer in Cardigan, Wales, kindly supplied us with some off cuts of fabric to use. Each class’s fabric cyanotypes were then sewn on to the denim flags, and a name label of the sort you put in school wear added in the corner to identify it. 

So the flags referenced local history, the botany of The Mount, nautical navigation and communication and reacted with the weather. The digital images reflecting the weather on a given day were then made into postcards (one image per class) with the shipping forecast for that day on the reverse, so they were a piece of work in their own right and something that the pupils could then have and keep.

The Wyre Mayor, Councillor Andrea Kay, then came and joined the pupils in a celebration day of their work and she raised the flags, which flew on The Mount throughout April 2022. It was important that the pupils had a sense of pride in their work. I think The Mayor coming along ‘validated’ their work in an exciting way and made them feel special and valued. Something that is important to young people. Plus the flags flew in a public space so they could take friends and family along at any time to see what they’d produced. 

 

How do you think the impact of Covid affected the work? 

I started working with St. Mary’s in the autumn of 2021, just as we were starting to come out of the pandemic. Schools and education have seen a huge amount of turmoil during the previous couple of years. Schools hadn’t been able to bring practitioners in, have school trips or do a great deal of anything other than deliver what they could of the national curriculum under difficult circumstances. And young people hadn’t really been able to experience or be involved in anything new or different for two years. So the whole process was a breath of fresh air for them.

 

What has most stuck with you from this experience?

I think mainly the enthusiasm of the pupils to engage and express themselves creatively, and the joy they showed being allowed to learn in a non formal way, and the pride they showed in what they’d produced and been a part of. I’d arrive at the school around lunchtime and pupils I’d worked with previously would be shouting my name and waving from the playground. They were all just full of so much enthusiasm, and I’m really proud of what was produced.

 

What’s next for you? Any projects in the works?

I’m part way through some work alongside other artists around ‘resilience’ and young people with The Grand Theatre Blackpool, and am keen to keep developing the ‘Literacy through Photography’ approach I’ve used in various settings to engage young people who maybe don’t have a ‘voice’.  I’ve also had a personal project I’ve been working on for 10 years – ‘A Place to Go’ about sites of mountain misadventure, that’s nearly finished!

 

Images: Henry Iddon / Pupils at St Mary’s Primary Fleetwood.

Follow the project on Instagram here: @photo_mount_fleetwood

To learn more about Artist in Residence Henry Iddon, follow him on Instagram @henryiddon or visit his website:
www.henryiddon.com

 

Get involved:
Volunteering

Find out more
Join our newsletter