Coming soon: Bonds / Ripples

29 May - 9 June 2024

Events

European Poetry Festival : Liverpool Camarade

6 July 2024

Events

Webinar: Socially Engaged Photography

22 May 2024

Exhibitions

JOURNEY TO EDEN @ DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY

6 May - 12 May 2024

Past Events

MARRIAGE (IN)EQUALITY IN UKRAINE. Screening and a panel discussion

9 May 2024

Past Events

Casey Orr artist talk and SEPN North West meet-up

18 May 2024

Past Events

Poetry reading: Coast to Coast to Coast

11 May 2024

Exhibitions

National Pavilion of Ukraine @ Venice Biennale

20 April - 24 November 2024

Exhibitions

Open Source 28: Sam Patton – Room to Breathe @ Digital Window Gallery

10 April - 18 May 2024

Exhibitions

Forward, Together @ Wigan & Leigh Archives, Leigh Town Hall

23 March - 28 September 2024

Exhibitions

As She Likes It: Christine Beckett @ The Rainbow Tea Rooms, Chester

1 March - 30 June 2024

Exhibitions

Shifting Horizons @ Digital Window Gallery

27 March - 31 March 2024

PLATFORM: ISSUE 6

26 March 2024

Past Events

Saturday Town: Launch Event

10 April 2024

Exhibitions

Saturday Town

11 April - 19 May 2024

Past Events

PLATFORM: ZINE LAUNCH EVENT

21 March 2024

Home. Ukrainian Photography, UK Words: Tour

4 March - 28 February 2025

Exhibitions

Home: Ukrainian Photography, UK Words @ New Adelphi

4 March - 8 March 2024

Past Events

CREATIVE SOCIAL: IN THE ABSENCE OF FORMAL GROUND

2 March 2024

Exhibitions

We Feed The UK @ Exterior Walls

8 February - 31 March 2024

Past Events

Contrail Cirrus: the impact of aviation on climate change

7 March 2024

Exhibitions

Tree Story @ Liverpool ONE

16 February - 31 May 2024

Open Source #27: Saffron Lily – In The Absence of Formal Ground @ Digital Window Gallery

6 February - 31 March 2024

Past Events

Contemporary Photography from Ukraine: Symposium @University of Salford

4 March - 5 March 2024

Past Events

Is Anybody Listening? Symposium: Commissioning and Collecting Socially Engaged Photography

29 February 2024

Past Events

Different approaches: Artists working with scientists

15 February 2024

Past Events

LOOK Climate Lab 2024: All Events

18 January 2024

Exhibitions

Diesel & Dust @ Digital Window Gallery

18 January - 31 March 2024

Past Events

Tree Walks Of Sefton Park with Andrea Ku

21 January 2024

Past Events

Artists Remake the World by Vid Simoniti: Book Launch

31 January 2024

Past Events

Shift Liverpool Open Meeting

6 February 2024

Past Events

We Feed The UK Launch and LOOK Climate Lab 2024 Celebration

8 February 2024

Past Events

Cyanotype workshop with Melanie King

17 February 2024

Past Events

End of Empire: artist talk and discussion

22 February 2024

Past Events

Book Launch: What The Mine Gives, The Mine Takes

24 February 2024

Past Events

Local ecology in the post-industrial era: open discussion

14 March 2024

Past Events

Waterlands: creative writing workshop

23 March 2024

Past Events

Plant a seed. Seed sow and in conversation with Plot2Plate

16 March 2024

Past Events

Erosion: panel discussion

9 March 2024

Past Events

Waterlands: an evening of poetry and photographs

23 March 2024

Past Events

Force For Nature Exhibition

27 March - 28 March 2024

Voices of Nature: Interactive Performances

28 March 2024

Past Events

Sum of All Parts: Symposium

27 February 2024

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

LOOK Climate Lab 2024

18 January - 31 March 2024

Past Events

MA Socially engaged photography Open Day event

1 February 2023

Past Events

Tish: Special screening and Q&A

13 December 2023

Past Events

Book Launch: A Look At A New Perspective

23 November 2023

Past Events

Community workshops @ Ellesmere Port Library

6 November - 5 February 2024

Past Events

Book Launch: ‘544m’ By Kevin Crooks

30 November 2023

Past Exhibitions

Bernice Mulenga @ Open Eye Gallery Atrium Space

17 November - 17 December 2023

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Image by Rob Battersby
Image by Rob Battersby
Image by Rob Battersby
Image by Rob Battersby
Image by Rob Battersby

Ensuring Lost Voices are heard

One of the major strands of Covid-19 Reflections was to engage with underrepresented communities. The resulting work by photographers Ciara Leeming, Tadhg Devlin and Sam Ivin is now making its way into the public realm, and cropping up in accessible spaces to ensure the voices they captured are heard.

Members of the public viewed photography and testimonies from members of the Gypsy and Traveller community, rural inhabitants, and carers at Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Chester earlier this month.

The work has been produced in partnership with the Open Eye Gallery but displaying it in this setting means it may reach a broader audience than in a gallery setting.

Irene, Lizzie and May were three Gypsy and Traveller women whose experiences were highlighted in the exhibition.

“My daughter recently took me to the bingo for the first time in three years, to get me out of the house, because the fear is still there with Covid,” Irene was quoted saying. “She’s trying to work on that fear, well I am myself, but with the two of us we might be a bit stronger with beating the fear.”

“I worked with contributors on a one-to-one basis – mainly within their homes, and in one case running creative sessions in a school,” Leeming explained of her year spent with women in the Gypsy and Traveller community for her project. “Over multiple visits and copious cups of tea, we discussed their lives and recent experiences.”

One common theme that emerged from this time was how acutely the dire shortage of culturally appropriate accommodation impacts on communities with a heritage of nomadism. Around three-quarters of the community now live in housing – often due to a lack of other options.

Shoppers in Chester read how this affected Lizzie, who was diagnosed with terminal metastatic breast cancer in 2022.

“I do think I’d be more comfortable living on a [Traveller] site,” she said. “I wouldn’t be so lonely. I wouldn’t like to say I’ve died in a house, I’ll be honest with you.”

May’s experience was similar, having moved into a house after breaking a hip during lockdown.

“When I lived on a site, all the women would gather,” she explained. “The hardest thing now is that I have no place to go and no neighbours to visit.”

These stories of honesty and bravery can be read in full in Leeming’s zine, Got Through It, which is available for digital download. A QR code on shop hoardings linked passersby to it, giving a unique insight into this often maligned culture and hopefully encouraging empathy and understanding.

 

Shoppers also learned how those living in rural communities coped during lockdown. Alongside Devlin’s atmospheric photographs of him and his land, Frodsham farmer Graham Warburton’s quotes highlighted how, although much changed during the pandemic, the seasons stayed the same. Warburton shut the farm gates but carried on as normal in the Spring of 2020.

“We just kept busy, which was good because a lot of people were just sat in the house. It doesn’t do you any good that, does it?” Viewers could then scan a QR code, linking them to Warburton’s full story. 

Jonathan Fell, CEO of Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall said he felt extremely lucky to be in the countryside during the pandemic.

“We did have that space and you were constantly thinking about people who didn’t have a garden. How would they handle it?”

Sam Ivin’s lively and colourful portraits of carers were also on display. Ivin worked with adult and young unpaid carers, meeting them through supporting charities Carers Trust and Cheshire Young Carers and delivering a series of photography workshops. The images were each decorated with key quotes from the participants, reflecting their experience over this time.

“It feels like we’re almost forgotten,” carers Julia and Laurie were quoted. “We’re like a secret army of people and there’s millions of us. And we’re doing this very valuable work because we want to, often because we have no choice and because it matters.”

Sue, who cares for her mother, reflected on her deterioration since the start of the pandemic.

“For one of my grandchildren, my mum knit this octopus with spiral tentacles. I can’t believe she did that three and a half years ago. She can’t do anything now.”

On 29th September another incarnation of the Lost Voices exhibition will move to the Open Eye Gallery on Liverpool Waterfront where it will stay until Christmas. But, in the spirit of ensuring the work is accessible and viewed by members of the public who wouldn’t necessarily enter the gallery itself, the images and quotes will be displayed on exterior walls and the cafe area.

And on 23rd October Leeming, Devlin and Ivin will join other artists and participants in the Covid-19 Reflections programme at a sharing event at Theatre Porto in Ellesmere Port. The day will offer an opportunity to draw the different strands of the project together under one roof and reflect on it together.

 Text: Antonia Charlesworth Stack for Covid-19 Reflections project.
 

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