Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Student Exhibitions: Arc

16 June - 20 June 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Digital Window Gallery: Postcards from us x

10 June - 20 June 2021

Events

OPEN ROOMS #13: A BALKAN JOURNEY WITH CHRIS LESLIE

17 June 2021

Exhibitions

First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May 2021

Events

First Light Spotlight: Interior Tension

22 June 2021

Events

First Light Spotlight: Networked Beings

8 June 2021

Past Events

Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Things Are Strange

25 May 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #12: INDEPENDENTS BIENNIAL

6 May 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

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

Exhibitions

Reclaim The City: Suzanne St Clare

8 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Parallel Histories

11 May 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: After Nature

27 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Unearthly Matter

13 April 2021

Exhibitions

Hanging out: Interviews

23 March - 5 April 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Independents Biennial

18 March - 6 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Corrupted Archives

30 March 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight – Connecting new photography with writing

16 March 2021

Past Events

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

Projects

Introducing Energy House

23 February 2021

Past Events

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

25 February 2021

The Course

12 February 2021

Past Events

PLATFORM ISSUE 3: HOPE

12 February 2021

Events

OPEN CALL: THE STORY OF LIVERPOOL THROUGH ITS TREES

1 January - 30 April 2021

Events

OPEN CALL: HOMETOWNS

11 February - 31 March 2021

Past Events

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

HYPERTEXT: Yasmine Akim ‘Decolonise art schools & showcase the agency of marginalised people’

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Jason Evans – Sound & Vision

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: ROOT-ed Zine – Our Experience of Navigating through Arts and Media as People of Colour

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Present and Continuous Q&A with Liz Wewiora and the Many Hands Craft Collective

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Rose Nordin of OOMK in conversation with Kerol Izwan of Musotrees

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Jade Montserrat in conversation with Nikita Gill

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Sam Hutchinson in conversation with Aram Sabbah of Skatepal

28 November 2020

Get Involved: The Story of Liverpool City Region Through Its Trees

24 November 2020

Past Events

Home Turf: Fans, Foodbanks and Photography

17 December 2020

Past Events

Scottie Press: Digital Residency

7 December - 11 December 2020

Past Events

Tell It Like It Is: Ian Clegg and Laura Robertson in Conversation

20 November 2020

Exhibitions

VR: L— A City Through Its People

5 November - 7 March 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Peer to Peer HK/UK — Lee Wing Ki: Night Walk (an excerpt)

16 November - 30 November 2020

Past Exhibitions

Peer to Peer: UK / HK

11 November 2020

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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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