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The Time We Call Our Own: Oliver Sieber: Imaginary Club (Watch Party)

30 July 2020

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The Time We Call Our Own: Andrew Miskys presents: Disko

6 August 2020

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The Time We Call Our Own: Save Some Space: Saad Shaffi (24 Kitchen Street), Chris Torpey (Bido Lito) and Emma Warren

13 August 2020

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The Time We Call Our Own: Tobias Zielony presents: Maskirovka

20 August 2020

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The Time We Call Our Own: ‘if we can’t all dance, I don’t wanna be a part of ur world :))))’: Stephanie Francis-Shanahan

27 August 2020

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Activity Packs for Older People

20 July 2020

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Young People + Family Activity Packs

20 July 2020

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Open Rooms #3: Photographing the Internet (w/ Mishka Henner)

7 May 2020

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Open Rooms #2: Separated Together

30 April 2020

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Open Rooms #7: Photography Does Not Love You (Katrina Sluis w/ Jacob Bolton)

2 July 2020

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Open Rooms #8: Photography and Racialisation

9 July 2020

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Open Rooms #5: Class of 2020 — Seba Kurtis in conversation with Mariama Attah

18 June 2020

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Love is an Action

11 June 2020

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OPEN ROOMS #4: INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING W/ COLIN WILKINSON

21 May 2020

Open Eye Stories

4 May 2020

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4 May 2020

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Online Programme

15 March 2020

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #16 – PAULINA KOROBKIEWICZ

1 March - 31 March 2020

Main Exhibition Future Exhibitions

Postponed: The Time We Call Our Own

3 April 2020

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #15 – JONATHAN LYNCH

1 February - 29 February 2020

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PLATFORM Issue 01

21 January 2020

LAUNCH: THE DARK FIGURE*

20 February - 20 February 2020

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #14 – SAHAN NUHOGLU

16 January 2020

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VISUAL RIGHTS

16 January - 22 March 2020

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THE DARK FIGURE*

20 February - 22 March 2020

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EXPOSED

3 April 2020

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: NOW, FOR THE FUTURE – OPEN SOURCE X SHUTTER HUB

1 November - 30 November 2019

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Brilliant City 中文

30 October - 16 November 2019

Tong Yan Gai — Chinatown—中文

7 October - 24 October 2019

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HE 中文

17 October - 21 December 2019

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JUMP! 中文

4 October - 26 October 2019

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A Room of Our Own: a Fast Forward Women in Photography Exhibition 中文

17 October - 21 December 2019

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DINU LI: ANATOMY OF PLACE — (中文)

17 October - 21 December 2019

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Peer to Peer 中文

17 October - 22 December 2019

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE 12 – KATHY ANNE LIM

1 October - 31 October 2019

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LOOK PHOTO BIENNIAL / SATELLITE

17 October - 21 December 2019

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JUMP! — Curated by Sian Bonnell

4 October - 26 October 2019

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UCLan: Brilliant City

30 October - 16 November 2019

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Derek Man & Tobias Brebner: Tong Yan Gai — Chinatown

7 October - 24 October 2019

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YAN WANG PRESTON: HE

17 October - 21 December 2019

Past Exhibitions

A Room of Our Own: a Fast Forward Women in Photography Exhibition

17 October - 21 December 2019

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Dinu Li: The Anatomy of Place

17 October - 21 December 2019

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NORTH: FASHIONING IDENTITY

14 September - 21 December 2019

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Peer to Peer

17 October - 22 December 2019

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SIXTEEN at Ellesmere Port Library

19 September - 27 September 2019

WE ARE KIRKBY

23 September - 16 November 2019

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE 11 – NATHAN CUTLER

1 September - 30 September 2019

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE 10 – JOCELYN ALLEN

1 August - 31 August 2019

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A Portrait Of…

2 August - 29 September 2019

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE 09 – ARABELLE ZHUANG

1 July - 31 July 2019

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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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