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Mccoy Wynne to exhibit at COP26 Universities’ Innovation Showcase

18 October 2021

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Collective Matters: Meet and Greet

22 October 2021

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Holding Time: Launch Event

19 November 2021

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The Mutual Respect Manifesto by Glow Creative Learning

25 October 2021

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Joseph Lee: Mindful Photo Workshop

4 December 2021

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Who’s Left Behind? Part 2: Tadhg Devlin, staff from Community Integrated Care, and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust in association with Liverpool SURF group

25 November 2021

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Who’s Left Behind? Part 1: Liverpool Cares and MA SEP graduate Vilija Skubute

24 November 2021

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Today, Tomorrow and Somewhere in between

11 November 2021

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One Day at a Time Boys: Introductory talk and workshop

6 November 2021

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: CROSSING SECTORS

30 September - 7 November 2021

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Just Between Friends: Runcorn Public Realm

30 September - 12 December 2021

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LATE NIGHT OPENING: COLLECTIVE MATTERS

15 October 2021

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Holding the Baby: Banner making workshop

16 October 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Tabitha Jussa

17 October - 6 November 2021

Main Exhibition

Collective Matters

1 October - 12 December 2021

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Open Rooms #16: Agency of Women

23 September 2021

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Polly Braden: Holding The Baby

30 September - 31 October 2021

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PLATFORM ISSUE 04: CROSSROADS

10 September 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Our Lands

23 August - 19 September 2021

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Imagining Disaster: Essay Series

30 August 2021

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Rivers of the World

6 September 2021

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Open Rooms #15: Common Ground

8 September 2021

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Instagram Residency: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley

30 August - 5 September 2021

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PLATFORM: Issue 4 Launch Party

10 September 2021

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Imagining Disaster: Contemporary Art X Science Fiction

2 September 2021

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Launch Party: One Day At A Time

19 August 2021

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Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

9 September 2021

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Sam Batley: ONE DAY AT A TIME

18 August - 19 September 2021

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VR: Wirral Hospitals’ School and MaxLiteracy Award

10 June - 3 September 2021

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Return To Nature

30 July 2021

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VR: First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May - 4 July 2021

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We Are Nature

30 July - 14 August 2021

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Liverpool Arab Arts Festival — Jessica El Mal: Grounds For Concern

16 July - 15 August 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Who We Are

8 July - 31 July 2021

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Whose Land Is It?

8 July - 19 September 2021

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VR Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

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VR Student Exhibitions: Youth Culture by Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

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VR Student Exhibitions: Arc with Hugh Baird

16 June - 20 June 2021

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First Light: Photography Writing Now – Tilt Launch Party

9 July 2021

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OPEN ROOMS #14: Separated Together

24 June 2021

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23 June - 27 June 2021

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9 June - 13 June 2021

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Student Exhibitions: Arc

16 June - 20 June 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Postcards from us x

10 June - 20 June 2021

LightNight 2021: Play

21 May 2021

Heavy Gardening Art Trail Photowalk

21 May 2021

OPEN ROOMS #13: A BALKAN JOURNEY WITH CHRIS LESLIE

17 June 2021

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First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May 2021

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Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3 June 2021

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Image by Robyn, part of 'The Witty Project', with Stephen Burke
Part of 'The Witty Project', with Stephen Burke
Image by Jamie, part of 'The Witty Project', with Stephen Burke

A Spotlight On…. The Witty Photographers – A project with Stephen Burke

This month Open Eye Gallery’s Head of Engagement Liz Wewiora caught up with GRAIN Project Producer and photographer Stephen Burke. The pair discussed the recent Witty Photographers Project,a new partnership project with local young people from Whitchurch, GRAIN and The Hive (Shewsbury).

 

GRAIN have been working with a group of young people from the rural town of Whitchurch, Shropshire who attend the Beechtree Community Centre. Whitchurch is a market town in northern Shropshire and 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.

A group formed of Jamie, Rowan, Kelsey, Robyn, Matthew, Noah and Dylan came together and 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. The group worked together to create collaborative group portraits, chose specific areas that were important to them to photograph each other such as the playing fields, skate park and of course the chip shop! They also used disposable cameras to photograph their life at home, friends and the landscape of Whitchurch.

 

 

LW: How did the opportunity for GRAIN and Beechtree Community Centre come about? Had a group of young people showed an interest in photography before the project started or as part of your engagement process with the centre?

 

SB: The Hive (a youth arts organisation based in Shrewsbury) partnered with GRAIN and the Beechtree Community Centre. GRAIN have worked with The Hive before on a project in Shrewsbury that looked at the heritage of Darwin and evolution.  This time they were invited to work with The Hive as they developed  rural outreach projects, with young people in more remote areas of Shropshire.  Projects were developed with participants that explore and demonstrate experiences of rural life.

LW: Did you do any training with the young people before they started on the main project, if so, how did you find this experience of working with the group?

 

SB: The project was led by myself. I’m a photographer, artist and GRAIN Project Producer. The group took part in practical photography training, as well as learning about a number of practitioners and projects that explored similar themes of place and identity, one example of this being The Handsworth Self Portrait by Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and John Reardon.

It was an exciting and fun project to work on with the young people, their views on their life and community were interesting to hear and shaped the way the project developed.

LW: Did the young people show a particular interest in one approach to working over another?

SB: The group particularly enjoyed the independent freedom they had to use the disposable cameras and they were excited to see the end result of what their photographs looked like. They also found it interesting to use analogue technology.  Being aged 9 -11 years they had never seen or used a camera like it before and had only seen digital cameras. They really enjoyed the analogue techology and working together to create group portraits.  They particularly liked performing for the camera with a variety of striking poses.

LW: What have you learnt about the area from the work the young people have produced?

SB: As an organisation we found it particularly interesting how much freedom the young people had to explore the area they live and to go and ‘play out’.  We sometimes forget how much freedom children have in rural areas to play outside in contrast to those living in surburban and urban communities.  During the workshops and walks around the area we would always come across groups of other young people who were out and about.  Through the conversations with the young people it also highlighted the disconnection between the young people and older generation. Often rural areas cater for older generations and for the most part the young people are bored with the lack of opportunity and provision.   This emphasised how essential youth and community provision is, where there is little else for younger people.  It also demonstrated how important it is for young people from more remote rural areas to have some outside influences and opportunities particularly where they will have the opportunity to be creative and expressive.

 

LW: What’s next for the group, will they continue to run their own photography group for example?

 

SB: We are planning on running more sessions and extending the project with the young people and the youth centre.  We have also been talking about opportunities to develop projects in other areas of rural Shropshire.  We want to develop the opportunities to enable more young people to develop photography skills and build narratives about the area they live from their own point of view.

 

LW: Great looking forward to seeing the project develop!

 

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.

 

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