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4 March - 8 March 2024

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2 March 2024

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8 February - 31 March 2024

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Contrail Cirrus: the impact of aviation on climate change

7 March 2024

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16 February - 1 May 2024

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

6 February - 31 March 2024

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4 March - 5 March 2024

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

29 February 2024

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Different approaches: Artists working with scientists

15 February 2024

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21 January 2024

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We Feed The UK Launch and LOOK Climate Lab 2024 Celebration

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End of Empire: artist talk and discussion

22 February 2024

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Book Launch: What The Mine Gives, The Mine Takes

24 February 2024

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Local ecology in the post-industrial era: open discussion

14 March 2024

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Waterlands: creative writing workshop

23 March 2024

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Plant a seed. Seed sow and in conversation with Plot2Plate

16 March 2024

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Erosion: panel discussion

9 March 2024

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Waterlands: an evening of poetry and photographs

23 March 2024

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Force For Nature Exhibition

27 March - 28 March 2024

Voices of Nature: Interactive Performances

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18 January - 31 March 2024

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MA Socially engaged photography Open Day event

1 February 2023

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Tish: Special screening and Q&A

13 December 2023

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Book Launch: A Look At A New Perspective

23 November 2023

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Community workshops @ Ellesmere Port Library

6 November - 5 February 2024

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Book Launch: ‘544m’ By Kevin Crooks

30 November 2023

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Bernice Mulenga @ Open Eye Gallery Atrium Space

17 November - 17 December 2023

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Bernice Mulenga: Artist Talk

18 November 2023

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Local Roots @ The Atkinson

14 October 2023

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Community @ Ellesmere Port Library

26 October - 11 April 2024

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Up Deva. Steph Coathupe, Stephen Clarke and Hannah Harry

Rainbow Tea Rooms, Chester

22 September to December 2023

The independent publisher Café Royal Books has been part of a resurgence of interest in British documentary photography that dates from the 1970s through to the present day. A large number of projects that had not been published before have received attention and the archives of photographers are being explored. This is background to this collaborative project that brings together the photographer Stephen Clarke, the illustrator Steph Coathupe and the writer Hannah Harry.

Stephen Clarke has published several books of photographs with Café Royal Books including his pictures of Rhyl, Blackpool, and South Wales, as well as San Diego in southern California. He continues the lengthy process of scanning his negatives from his archive to recover the images from past projects. It was a collection of pictures taken in the summer of 1989 of the ruins of Pompeii that provided the starting point for the collaboration with Steph Coathupe. The connection between the ancient Roman city, preserved by its burial under ash, and Chester, a Roman settlement with remains buried under continual redevelopment, had a humorous resonance.

Although Chester is celebrated for its historical significance, especially its apparent beginnings as Roman, it is also famed for its zoo. It somehow seemed to be a small leap to populate these photographs of Pompeii, standing in proxy as the city of Chester, with drawings of the animals made by Coathupe at the zoo. Two tourist attractions merge, the historical city of Chester and its modern zoo! It is this emphasis on tourism that the writer Hannah Harry exploits by adding comments that simulate the messages on postcards sent by visitors to their relatives at home – but in this case the visitors are the animals rather than the expected human tourist. This humorous approach is reflected in the title of the exhibition: ‘Up Deva’, a homage to the comedy series ‘Up Pompeii’ that starred Frankie Howerd.

The exhibition is located in Chester Pride’s Rainbow Tea Rooms. This is a community space that embraces diversity and inclusion. ‘Up Deva’ utilises playful combination and layering to investigate the interplay between drawing and photography. Additional texts question the reading of these combined images. Underlying this is the repositioning of the documentary photograph as a starting point for imaginative exploration re-purposing material from the archives.

The project is part of the Chester Contemporary Fringe.

The Rainbow Tea Rooms are situated in the centre of the city at 28 Bridge Street, CH1 1NQ. Opening hours: 9.30am – 5pm weekdays, 9am – 6pm Saturdays, 10am – 5pm Sundays.

Further information:

Steph Coathupe website

A recent interview with Stephen Clarke for the Blackpool Social Club

Hannah Harry latest article with The Double Negative

Images: Steph Coathupe, Stephen Clarke

Text: Stephen Clarke

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