Events

ASSEMBLIES: OPEN EYE HUB

16 September 2022

VR: Visualising Pollution – Whitby High School

23 June - 28 June 2022

VR: “There is an I…” – UCEN, Manchester

2 July - 5 July 2022

Exhibitions

COMING SOON: Clickmoor on Climate

15 August - 4 September 2022

Exhibitions

COMING SOON: LOOK PHOTO BIENNIAL @ WIGAN AND LEIGH

1 October 2022

Exhibitions

Make, Mend and Sustain – Digital Window Gallery

14 July - 4 September 2022

LOOK Events Events

LOOKBOOK CLUB: THE OVERSTORY BY RICHARD POWERS, Pages 1-28

25 September 2022

LOOK Events Events

Guided Walk: Bats of Sefton Park

1 September 2022

Exhibitions

A Portrait of the High Street @ Prescot Town Centre

25 July 2022

Exhibitions

Reclaiming @ Rainbow Tea Rooms, Chester

13 August 2022

LOOK Events Events

GUIDED WALK: The Veteran Trees of Childwall Woods #2

27 August 2022

Past Events LOOK Events

Guided Walk: Bees of Sefton Park

31 July - 31 July 2022

LOOK Events Events

Guided Walk: A History of Sefton Park Landscape

21 August 2022

LOOK Events Events

GUIDED WALK: The Veteran Trees of Childwall Woods #1

6 August 2022

Exhibitions

WIGAN AND LEIGH COLLEGE STUDENTS

14 July - 4 September 2022

COMING SOON: MIMESIS: A BEAT BEFORE THE RAPTURE @ NEW ADELPI ATRIUM

19 October - 16 November 2022

Exhibitions

COMING SOON: ARE YOU LIVING COMFORTABLY? @ NEW ADELPHI EXHIBITION GALLERY

10 October - 23 December 2022

Exhibitions

Before it Melts into Solid: Carmel College Students

14 July - 4 September 2022

LOOK Events Events

Journal Launch: Coast to Coast to Coast

13 August 2022

LOOK Events Events

Writing Workshop: Listening to the River Mersey with Maria Isakova-Bennett

13 August 2022

LOOK Events Events

ROOTING FOR THE FUTURE: Growing Culture, Community and Creativity

4 September 2022

COMING SOON: Let’s Grow Preston

23 July 2022

Exhibitions

DOT-ART ANALOGUE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION WINNERS

14 July - 28 July 2022

Past Events

An evening with Guillemot Press Poets

22 July 2022

Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

OPEN SOURCE #24 DARAGH DRAKE: ANAM CARA

14 July - 18 August 2022

Exhibitions

MWALULA – HELLEN SONGA @ LIVERPOOL GROWING SPACES

11 July - 4 September 2022

Past Events

LOOK Photo Biennial 2022: Launch Party

14 July 2022

Past Events

Visual Studies X Open Eye Gallery Roundtable

14 July 2022

Exhibitions

LOOK PHOTO BIENNIAL 2022: CLIMATE

15 July - 4 September 2022

Past Exhibitions

Make, Mend & Sustain @ Chester Charity Shops

8 July - 5 August 2022

LOOK Events Past Exhibitions

Before it Melts into Solid @ World of Glass, St. Helens

30 June - 26 July 2022

Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: “There is an I…” – UCEN, Manchester

2 July - 5 July 2022

Past Events LOOK Events

Our Planet, Our Future! A conversation on Sustainable Futures in St Helens

9 July - 9 July 2022

LOOK Events Exhibitions

Planting for the Planet @ RHS Garden Bridgewater

27 May - 27 August 2022

Past Events

Whose High Street is it? Unlocking Creative Futures in Our Own Town Centres

29 June 2022

Events

POETRY READING: 100 Years of The Waste Land

17 November - 17 November 2022

Events

National Poetry Day Celebration: The Environment

6 October 2022

Past Exhibitions

(Re)Production: Parenthood and the Art World

16 June - 3 July 2022

Past Events

In Conversation: Mindful Photo Project

2 July 2022

Past Exhibitions

Mindful Photo Project @ HMP Thorncross

9 June - 6 July 2022

Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 28 June 2022

Past 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

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GENERATIONS Family Archive, 2022
GENERATIONS Family Archive, 2022
GENERATIONS Family Archive, 2022

New Archives: GENERATIONS Archive and My Chosen Family – By Anneka French

Someone yawning, a baby with a blurred face, weddings, jazz clubs, caravan holidays and a child in a kilt with their face obscured by the photographer’s finger. These are just a handful of the submissions made by members of the public to an online archive managed by GRAIN Projects. Developed as an open call repository, the GENERATIONS Archive forms part of the wider GENERATIONS programme that focuses on a series of newly commissioned four and five direct line generation family portraits by Julian Germain which are exhibited across public locations in Birmingham and neighbouring Sandwell this summer. GENERATIONS Archive is a newly formed archive drawn from multiple other family archives. It is reflective of the families and friendships of people across the West Midlands region, the images they hold in significance and the ways that these document both ordinary and extraordinary moments in their recent lives and older histories.

GENERATIONS Archive, accessible via GRAIN Projects’ website, contains a broad mixture of professionally shot images of events, professional studio portraits of individuals or groups and numerous more informally taken ‘amateur’ photographs. Many older photographs are creased, foxed and scuffed, embodying traces of their and their subject’s histories. Others contain people who are not named or mentioned, perhaps friends, colleagues, passing acquaintances or strangers. A brief caption for each image provides clues when it is clicked: names, dates, some context of event or location. While many captions are perfunctory, other descriptions offer fascinating, moving backstories, from a photograph taken in 2021 captioned ‘Me – Rachel, my husband Ben and our daughter Lorelei. On the ‘train’ at Cannon Hill Park, eating ice cream, light relief as a family during my cancer treatment’ to another from circa 1978, in which part of the caption reads ‘Me and my younger sister. Taken while under social services care. I only have 8 photographs of my childhood’. What GENERATIONS Archive holds, then, is a series of stories connected to real lives lived. It offers personal encounters with strangers: with images and stories that remind us of our own selves or of others that we know and love. Family photographs have historically been taken, developed and kept safe in albums and boxes for the benefit of family and close friends. Offering recent or historic photographs up for public consumption or exhibition online here is quite a different premise, however, and speaks to ideas of legacy, public visibility and, in the case of this project, more altruistically to a wider community archive conversation.

GRAIN Projects’ archive can  be found here, with an option to submit your own images.

Last year, photographer and writer Lewis Bush wrote in article for Frieze that archives contain the capacity to wield power and to challenge power: ‘Firstly’ he notes ‘through their ability to redress the historical record, by accounting for those who lived with little power or visibility, but whose presence remains, almost by accident, trapped in archives like insects in amber. Secondly, archives challenge power because, seen openly and critically, they offer a chance to look inside – and bring some accountability to – the cultures that created them’. A criticism of Julian Germain’s GENERATIONS project and indeed the family unit more generally speaking, is the potentially reductive definition of what a family should or could comprise. GRAIN Projects have supported the development of three additional projects that extend and further explore associated themes of family, friendship and community through an open call bursary process. One of these projects is My Chosen Family, part of the T’s & Q’s Archive, a project that chronicles life for people within the Trans and Queer communities in Birmingham and beyond. For this, photographer Mx_Neffy has released an open call asking for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to participate in portrait sessions at a location of their choosing with the people that they choose as family. It is ongoing at the time of writing and expands limiting definitions, opening up terms such as ‘mother’ or ‘sibling’ to a greater range of intersectional possibilities than have often been considered, and tracing multiple and complex webs of connections between people.

GENERATIONS Archive and My Chosen Family are rooted in the local while looking outwards to other places nationally (Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Canterbury) and internationally (Jamaica, Singapore, China, Ireland). The context for both, as well as Germain’s GENERATIONS portraits, is the Birmingham 2022 Festival, a large-scale cultural events and exhibitions programme designed to coincide with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. A kind of mapping of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region is taking place though GENERATIONS Archive and My Chosen Family and this is significant in the Commonwealth context, looking toward ideas around the migration of people and ideas, labour and industry as potentially distinct from other parts of the UK. The cultural diversity of archives are considered throughout each of these projects while the Birmingham 2022 Festival’s overriding ‘celebratory’ outlook is addressed with more nuance in these complex projects that also pay heed to the problematic nature of archives and, indeed, families. We find meaning in comparison between our own photographs of blood family or chosen family and the photographs in these new archives. We find new meaning by making connections between the images we see assembled, between those that appear together on billboards or posters, and between those that sit side by side as we scroll and click through family stories generously offered to us. 

 

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