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10 June - 3 September 2021

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30 July 2021

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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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23 June - 27 June 2021

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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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23 June - 27 June 2021

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9 June - 13 June 2021

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16 June - 20 June 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

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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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27 April 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Unearthly Matter

13 April 2021

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23 March - 5 April 2021

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18 March - 6 June 2021

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First Light Spotlight: Corrupted Archives

30 March 2021

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16 March 2021

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11 March 2021

Freelance Photographer in Residence Position

23 February 2021

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23 February 2021

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23 February 2021

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23 February 2021

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25 February 2021

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12 February 2021

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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

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28 November 2020

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28 November 2020

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Christopher Wood by Emma Case, RED
Peggy by Emma Case, RED

Home Turf: Fans, Foodbanks and Photography

In Gallery 1 of L— A City Through Its People, RED by Emma Case introduces us to the pride and glory of being part of the Liverpool football family. In this event, Emma Case, alongside panellists Jacqui McAssey and Dave Kelly, discussed the importance of archiving fan cultures and the influence these communities can have in shaping a city. The panellists explore who is represented in footie fandom and what football fan activism can look like.

This event was billed as including Ian Byrne MP, but he had to attend a meeting with government. Watch the full event below, or read an edited transcript of each panellists presentation below.

Emma Case – founder of The RED Archive

The RED archive, a community arts archive project collecting Liverpool fans personal photos and their stories. My father, Jimmy Case, played for Liverpool from about 1974/5 to ‘81 when I was born, and the RED archive started four or five years ago when my dad wrote an autobiography. It’s a bit weird reading your dad talking about trips to Europe and signing on for Liverpool. I was really fascinated by, not just the history of my own family, but also the trips he went on and the experiences that he had at such a young age, along with the fans. I was living in Birmingham at the time, and I would come up to Anfield and take in the energy, the noise, the smells and the feeling, and I started to document the area around the ground. What I started to notice was the change, even in such a short amount of time. The whole area seemed to be going through this transformation.

I could see the history slowly slipping away. The new merchandise shop was being built, terrace houses and shop units were disappearing before my eyes, and I had this sudden urge to make sure that I preserved as much as I could through photography. And whilst I was noticing these changes, I was interested in the people, the fans coming to the match. I would catch a quick portrait of them before they went in, but then I started chatting to them and they would tell me the most incredible stories. I would be sat there with my phone, trying to record what they were saying as quick as possible, but there never was enough time. So I decided to go to fans homes, and this is where the project really started to form.

I spent hours with fans in their homes, recording their stories, listening to their lifelong support, their homes like a shrine to their beloved club. I was most interested in their homegrown support. It wasn’t flash, it wasn’t branded, it was literally grassroots: going to the game from the age of six, trips to Europe on coaches in big groups together. It felt like these stories, if we weren’t careful, were going to start to disappear. 

I built a website and put out on Twitter: if anyone’s got any old photos, the ones that are stuck up in your loft and in old photo albums, I was interested in them. I was getting emails pretty much daily with the most incredible photos; trips to Europe with huge stories attached, Christmas day in their new kit. People were sending me bits of memorabilia as well, and it felt like a responsibility to know what to do with it all. I knew I wanted to give back to the fans. So, we ran a Crowdfunder for this vintage caravan, which next year, hopefully, will be turned into a mobile exhibition hub. We’ll be able to tour it across Liverpool, bringing the archive to fans that might not be able to access either the game or access the gallery or an exhibition space. We want to take it everywhere. People can come to the caravan, have a brew, see the archive, maybe bring their own photos. We can take it to libraries, community centres, just out on the road. This is now the focus for the project, to get the archive out and to the fans rather than expecting the fans to always come to us. 

Jacqui McAssey, creator of GIRLFANS

GIRLFANS started in 2013. I had gone to Anfield with my friend Alex Hurst, a brilliant photographer from Liverpool, and stood outside the ground. We noticed that there were a lot of women and girls going into the game, and I did some digging and found some Premier League statistics which said one in four match goers were women. If you were going into the game and you saw women at the match, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But talking to people who’d never gone to football, I think they still thought of going to the match as a male pursuit. 

The idea was ambitious: I’ll just come back for the whole season and photograph the women going into the game. It felt important to be able to document who was going to the football, but actually document that from a female perspective. We made a fanzine, which I suppose really is a photo book. But we made it feel like a fanzine in that it was made from newsprint, it was something that you could roll up and put in your pocket. It referenced football in other ways as well; we put the scores in there, there was the table with the final positions on the very back page, and it was done in pink paper to reference The Football Pink.

It was published in 2015 and found its own community being in print. One of my colleagues very kindly took it off to Offprint Tate Modern, and it was picked up by the V&A art library, and travelled all over the world. When I sent the first zines out I sent them out with Don’t Buy The Sun stickers and Hillsborough Justice campaign stickers from the shop at Anfield. As somebody who’s grown up in Liverpool and then gone to work outside the city, I always felt like I had a stigma, and that I was stereotyped. Part of this project was me trying to remedy that by sending out these images of very friendly, smiling, warm women who were all match goers. 

One particular piece I submitted was published in Fanpages, a style publication by Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett. I was always trying to get across these ideas of justice and activism, but on a quite subtle level. So that was a very important piece, to get the message out into a different domain, moving into style as well. In 2014/15, Alex and I started to document the women of Everton, and one of the great things about documenting fans of football is you talk about the game: the manager, the tactics, where they are, and it crosses over into what they’re wearing. Sometimes, you get quite angry women talking about the apparel that’s available in the club store. 

After the first two publications, rather than think of it as one whole female fan community, I started to think about how each set of fans has their own history and their own narrative. They have their favourite places. They have their favourite kits. And so with each zine I try to uncover that. Meeting three women from Celtic, McKayla, Erin and Orlaith, really gave me a really renewed sense and purpose to what I was doing. They petitioned Celtic to provide free sanitary products in grounds. They did it in around six weeks, got a meeting with Celtic, and that campaign then extended to over a hundred football clubs now. I think it was really important for me that solidarity extended to Liverpool, and the clubs in Liverpool picked it up really quickly. If you ever go to a football match now and you go into the female toilets and there are sanitary products it’s because of those three young women.

Dave Kelly, co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks

My fan activism probably goes back a long way. I’ve got a number of notable things on my CV that I’m immensely proud of. I was the chairman of Keep Everton In Our City campaign group, that stopped Everton going to Kirby. I’ve always had a belief that you’re average football fan reflects the average society and the establishment have got quite a lot of disdain for the average fan. The great Jock Stein said football without fans is nothing, and I think that’s been really well illustrated over the last eight months during the pandemic. 

Fans Supporting Foodbanks started because me and Ian were working together, attending a meeting in a community centre in Anfield where were going to speak.. We thought there’s a good turn out here, we must be popular, because there was a queue out the door. Little did we realise, the queue is for the food bank. I was shocked. At the time, five years ago, I knew very little or nothing about food banks. I think terms like food banks, zero hour contracts, the gig economy, they’re all words we’ve become familiar with over the last couple of years, but we don’t tend to actually think what they mean and the impact that has on our communities.

You’ve got these two mega big businesses with a billion pound turnover right in the heart of working class Northern Liverpool, and none of the money ripples down into the community. One of the unique things about all of that was the Walton constituency in Liverpool, six of the eight wards are among the most socially and economically deprived in the country. So after seeing that queue outside the food bank, the chairman of the community association took us into the stock room because the food bank was about to run out of food. When we went into their stock room all they had left was a bag of pasta and 10 small tins of tuna, which they were starting to split up to make sure that everyone had something to eat, that no one was going to go away empty handed. 

That was on the Friday. The following morning, Everton were playing Man United at half 11, so we grasped the nettle and decided that we would do a food bank collection outside Goodison in a wheelie bin, because that was the only thing we could get hold of at such short notice. We rolled over and we got a tonking off United, but I went home that night quite contented that that was a worthwhile exercise that because there might be one kid goes to bed tonight who isn’t hungry, who went to bed last night hungry.

So we replicated that the following week at Anfield. We were trying to instil into match going families that their routine is hat, scarf, badge, flag, gap, badge, flag, banner, season ticket, tin of beans. Get it in your routine. That’s what happens in this city during times adversity, and there’s a problem, the people of this city stick together and they get stuck in and they have a go. I don’t care whether you’re a Red or a Blue, or you’re a non-believer and you’ve got not which team. This city is full of good, decent people, and  that football gives a vehicle to spread that message.

Panellists words have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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