Exhibitions

Home: Ukrainian Photography, UK Words @ New Adelphi

4 March - 8 March 2024

Events

CREATIVE SOCIAL: IN THE ABSENCE OF FORMAL GROUND

2 March 2024

Exhibitions

We Feed The UK @ Exterior Walls

8 February - 31 March 2024

Events

Contrail Cirrus: the impact of aviation on climate change

7 March 2024

Exhibitions

Tree Story @ Liverpool ONE

16 February 2024

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

6 February - 6 March 2024

Events

Contemporary Photography from Ukraine: Symposium @University of Salford

4 March - 5 March 2024

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

Events

LOOK Climate Lab 2024: All Events

18 January 2024

Exhibitions

Diesel & Dust @ Digital Window Gallery

18 January - 31 March 2024

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

Events

Local ecology in the post-industrial era: open discussion

14 March 2024

Events

Plant a seed. Seed sow and in conversation with Plot2Plate

16 March 2024

Events

Waterlands: creative writing workshop

23 March 2024

Events

Erosion: panel discussion

9 March 2024

Events

Waterlands: an evening of poetry and photographs

23 March 2024

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

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

Past Events

Bernice Mulenga: Artist Talk

18 November 2023

Past Exhibitions

Local Roots @ The Atkinson

14 October 2023

Exhibitions

Community @ Ellesmere Port Library

26 October - 11 April 2024

Past Events

Critique Surgery for Socially Engaged Photographers

6 November 2023

Past Events

Deeds Not Words: panel discussion

12 October 2023

Past Exhibitions

Deeds Not Words @ Atrium Space

3 October - 22 October 2023

Ode To Our Space @ Digital Window Gallery

29 September - 23 December 2023

A Look At A New Perspective @ Digital Window Gallery

29 September - 23 December 2023

Past Events

Book Launch: Crow Dark Dawn

19 October 2023

Past Events

Exhibition Launch: A Place of Our Own

28 September 2023

Reflections

12 September - 22 December 2023

Past Events

Sandra Suubi ‘Samba Gown’ Procession

9 September 2023

Exhibitions Future Exhibitions

A Place of Our Own

29 September - 22 December 2023

Past Events

POETRY BOOK LAUNCH: JACK BENNETT – LUNETTE

7 September 2023

Exhibitions

A Portrait of the High Street @ Prescot

31 August 2023

Projects Past Exhibitions

Our Home. Our Place. Our Space. @ Walton

16 August - 2 October 2023

Past Events

Poetry Reading: Coast to Coast to Coast’s sixth Birthday!

16 September 2023

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HISTORY

Launched in 1977, Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery was one of the UK’s first dedicated photography galleries. Excluded from the programmes of art galleries, photographers and others with an interest in the medium established their own network of galleries in the 1970s and ‘80s, drawing on newly-available funds from the Arts Council and a growing sense of photography’s artistic, social and political potential.

Whitechapel: 1977-1988

Open Eye Gallery emerged as part of an organisation called the Merseyside Visual Communications Unit (MCVU), whose mission was to “make more people aware of the many positive ways in which film, photography, video and sound recording can be used in a social, cultural and educative context”. Whilst MCVU was located in the former Grapes Hotel, on the corner of Whitechapel and Hood Street in central Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery occupied what had been the public bar from 1977-1988. The building’s upper floors housed facilities for media training and production, including film and video editing suites, darkrooms and recording studios.

Founded by Colin Wilkinson, Open Eye Gallery’s early days were a heady mix of art and activism. Alongside its exhibitions programme Open Eye Gallery published a magazine, ran workshops and training courses, hired out equipment, screened films, commissioned photographic, performance and moving image works, and organised campaigns and community projects.

Based in its Whitechapel location until 1988, Open Eye Gallery was one of the city’s creative and social hubs. It had the city’s main bus station on its doorstep, a popular cafe next door and the radical bookshop News From Nowhere (now on Bold Street) as a close neighbour. The gallery exhibited national touring exhibitions by established photographers and showcased the work of up-and-coming photographers based in the region. The emphasis was on UK artists with regular shows by European and American photographers. Independent documentary and art photography appeared alongside community projects and exhibitions that explored photography’s role in contemporary culture.

Bold Street: 1989-1995

In 1989, due to the building’s increasing dilapidation, Open Eye Gallery moved to 110-112 Bold Street, forming an umbrella organisation with the Women’s Independent Cinema House (WICH), Community Productions Merseyside (CPM) and the Community Arts Trust (CAT). Open Eye Gallery remained on Bold Street until 1995, placing greater emphasis in its programmes on documentary work and local artists.

Wood Street: 1996-2011

In June 1995, grappling with funding, premises and organisational problems, Open Eye Gallery left Bold Street and moved to the developing Concert Square area of Liverpool’s Ropewalks. In November 1996 the Gallery was re-launched in an architect-designed space on Wood Street as ‘Open Eye Photographic and Media Arts’. A stronger element of moving image work was introduced into exhibitions, but a diverse photography-based programme was maintained. From 2004 Open Eye Gallery’s increasingly international programme combined work by emerging and established artists, frequently presenting UK debut exhibitions. In mid-2009 Open Eye Gallery entered the main phase of a major capital relocation project, maintaining an interim programme of partnership exhibitions and pilot projects.

Mann Island: 2011-Present

In November 2011 the Gallery moved to new premises in Mann Island. A step change in audience focused exhibitions and growing relationships with local, national and international partners has ensured by 2016, the gallery attracted a 500% increase in visitors as compared to the former Wood Street gallery. Located on the Liverpool Waterfront the Gallery is near RIBA North, the Museum of Liverpool, Tate Liverpool and the Albert Dock.

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