Week 9: Enter the Academy

In response to the task set in week 9, I have identified an exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery (Liverpool) entitled ‘The Time We Call Our Own’. The exhibition is a collection of images from around the world that illustrate the escapism and euphoria found in city centre nightclubs and bars. The overall rational being, ’to shed light on the identity of the city’.

Once the isolation period is finished I will definitely attend this exhibition as it resonates with my own experience for a large proportion of my adult life. My route to studying an MA at 38 years old could be described as a colourful one. I didn’t attend university until I was 24 years old which isn’t unusual however what it did do is prolong my years of being a singleton with little responsibilities which enabled the frequenting of various establishments of Manchester’s nightlife. In reflecting on this experience, I have no doubt seen the identity of Manchester evolve since the late 1990’s.

The Open Eye Gallery as an establishment is the type of place that I would to place my work. As a community gallery the website states ‘We work with people to push for social change’ which would align with my project as activist to some extent. The gallery it appears, works hard to remove the formal boundaries and ideological implications of more formal and well established spaces. Although the gallery is a relatively new space and may conform to a capitalist type of space, the gallery emphasises in a number of its media outlets, the collaborative nature of the projects it supports and recognises this as important as the exhibition.

Working in a a collaborative nature is a direction that I feel that I becoming ready as now have a body of work that would align with photographers that i have connected with via the platform of Instagram. Paul Thompson is a photographer who I became aware of when reading the football magazine When Saturday Comes. In addition, Colin McPherson is another photographer I admire and who’s work I follow closely. This may represent a potential network that I would like to engage further with.

At this stage of my project however, I feel the emphasis should be to keep producing work while endeavouring to improve the sophistication of the photographs that I make.

Photographing the English North, 1890-1990 – Bolton Museum

Is another outlet that may be relevant to the exhibition of my work. Although the exhibition is of a timeframe, the exhibition highlights the relevance of ’Northern working towns’ which I interpret as Lancashire Mill towns which are relevant to the location. This prompted the research of what is going on at a galleries more local to me. Therefore I research Stockport Art Gallery which doesn’t appear to have a lot going on beyond student work from the college it is attached to. However, the webpage does have a submission form, where individuals and groups can propose projects to be considered by the cultural diversity panel. This avenue may be well worth exploring further.

Community Spaces

From an early stage of this project I have engaged with patrons of Stockport County Football Club. The volunteers at the club have turned one the empty rooms into a museum dedicated to the club. This is an avenue that I could definitely exploit however may not represent an appropriate context as part of the message of my work encompasses a non partisan ideology. Holding an exhibition here may appear contradictory to this message.

In researching community spaces to exhibit my work, Barker highlights the problematic nature of making choices with regards to the intent of my work. The idea of higher profile galleries offering a higher level of cultural capital in addition to the Saachi gallery having its roots in the advertising industry. I vividly remember going to this gallery around a decade ago and feeling like I was in an alien place. Equally the ideas purported by Baudrilard who argues the gallery represents a type of ‘simulacra’ was also enlightening as I am currently engaging with reading his ideas on the ‘hyperreal’. Broad similarities with his ideas about Disneyland may be relevant here as a mode for people to reconnect with their childhoods.

Bolton Museum. (2020) Photographing the English North, 1890-1990. [online] Available at: https://www.boltonlams.co.uk/whats-on/2483/photographing-the-english-north-1890-1990-bolton-museum (Accessed: 19th April 2019)

Open Eye Gallery. (2020) The Time We Call Our Own, [online] Available at: https://openeye.org.uk/whatson/the-time-we-call-our-own/ (Accessed: 19th April 2020)

Barker, E (1999) Contemporary cultures of display, Open University. London

Boudrillard, J (1981) Simulacra and Simulation, The University of Michigan. Michigan.

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