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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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Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

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Student Exhibitions: UCEN

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

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

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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First Light Spotlight: Interior Tension

22 June 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Networked Beings

8 June 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Things Are Strange

25 May 2021

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OPEN ROOMS #12: INDEPENDENTS BIENNIAL

6 May 2021

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Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port

19 May - 6 June 2021

Picturing England’s High Streets: Prescot

7 April 2021

Picturing England’s High Street: Chester

7 April 2021

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Reclaim The City: Suzanne St Clare

8 April 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Parallel Histories

11 May 2021

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First Light Spotlight: After Nature

27 April 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Unearthly Matter

13 April 2021

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Hanging out: Interviews

23 March - 5 April 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Independents Biennial

18 March - 6 June 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Corrupted Archives

30 March 2021

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First Light Spotlight – Connecting new photography with writing

16 March 2021

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OPEN ROOMS #11: ON THE CORNERS OF ARGYLE AND GLENWOOD – PHOTOBOOK IN COLLABORATION

11 March 2021

Freelance Photographer in Residence Position

23 February 2021

Family Page

23 February 2021

About Alternative Lens

23 February 2021

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Introducing Energy House

23 February 2021

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Open Rooms #10: All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

25 February 2021

The Course

12 February 2021

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PLATFORM ISSUE 3: HOPE

12 February 2021

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OPEN CALL: THE STORY OF LIVERPOOL THROUGH ITS TREES

1 January - 30 April 2021

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OPEN CALL: HOMETOWNS

11 February - 31 March 2021

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WHAT WE DO IN LOCKDOWN

5 January 2021

HYPERTEXT: Books Beyond Bars – Felix McNulty in conversation with Sarah Jane Baker

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Ruth White – The Role of the Photobook in Representing the British Working Classes

28 November 2020

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Image: Kerry McSweeney
Image: Kerry McSweeney

Kelly Stubbs — Transmission: Reframing the Visible

The idea of being marginalised is referred to often and holds special attention for artists, who know all about the importance of what is happening at the edge of the frame. The frame is in itself a censorious thing, being the limit of what is seen and what is not. Sometimes the transgender community, through history, has sneaked inside the frame and we have an image here or there of Molly Houses or portrayals of folk with indeterminate genders. Mostly however, the trans community is kept out of the image. In recent years some trans folk have started becoming the focus of images, but this tends to mainly be transgender women who fit a certain representation of beauty.

This image fits the worldview of the trans community, perceived as an offshoot of a reality show about drag queens. The symbolic image for the whole transgender community is a hyper-sexualised version of womanhood. The potency of this image is enshrined in the fear mongering about transgender women using the toilet, where caricatures of us as predators in drag are thrown about like candyfloss. This grossly distorted image is sadly still acceptable, where so many crudely prejudiced cartoons have become rightly rejected by society.

This reduction of the infinite complexity of transgender personalities to a single, jaundiced symbol, lazily portrays gender divergence as an addendum to sexuality and belittles the community. The reality is that the transgender community is every bit as diverse as the non-trans, cis world…..except that we are a community who are largely hidden. Working with transgender youths, Transmission Art Project had created an event designed to highlight our experience of being alienated from the mainstream public world. This difficulty in engaging with public life is perhaps the single most common experience to all transgender people, whether it is about going to the loo or accessing the appropriate documentation. The event was designed to turn the tables and give the audience an experience of being outside the action, looking in from the outside, at a group of trans young people having fun – replicating the trans experience of marginalisation and exclusion, whilst engaging with the imagery. However, the covid crisis hit and we all became isolated. For most of society, that isolation will become a memory, as the frame fills up again with cis-folk rightly enjoying their return to freedom. If we return to that world which preceded the crisis, we transgender folk will remain outside the frame or in the margins at best. We will by and large continue only as an audience, looking at the world through the frames of our TV screens or windows, unable to participate.

Most of the younger transgender community do not identify as wholly male or wholly female, but rather as non-binary or fluid about their gender. They pick and choose, which aspects of the different genders fit them most comfortably & are forging a path of incredible beauty, which is more or less completely missed, as the lens passes them by to focus on a face which is of interest largely because it hides the fact it is transgender. The question of visibility has a long history within the wider LGBT+ community, where the intensely visible nature of transgender women was seen as an embarrassment and lead to trans individuals being hidden, in the pursuit of accommodation to mainstream society. The other side of this coin has been the way the image of Rosie the Riveter has become so potent, that transgender men have struggled to make themselves seen. The co-option of traditionally male clothing for all genders has become so ubiquitous, that where differences in biology are foregrounded for transgender women through the spotlight on hypersexualisation, transgender men are subsumed by a sea of utilitarian clothing, forever out of frame.

 

Words: Kelly Stubbs

Images: Kerry McSweeney

 

@transmission_art

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