The Dunmurry Today Project

Tom Finlay The Belfast Exposed Community Engagement Development Officer talks about the Dunmurry Today Project. Tom reflects on the challenges of the project and how the learning from this has shaped the future direction of Belfast Exposed ‘POD’ concept.

Mervyn Smyth Community Photography Coordinator on the POD Project

Mervyn Smyth Community Photography Coordinator discusses the development of the Belfast Exposed POD, a purpose built photography workspace developed to pop up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills

Interview with Tracy Marshall, Executive Director of Belfast Exposed

Tracy Marshall was appointed as the Executive Director of Belfast Exposed. Six months into her role Tracy discusses some of the key challenges the organisation faces and her learning in relation to the Pilot Projects as Part of Belfast Exposed’s participation in the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers Training Programme, 2014

Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers Training Programme, 2014

The Community Volunteers Training Programme offered Belfast Exposed Volunteers opportunities to develop facilitation skills through an intensive skills development programme followed by the opportunity to facilitate in the community.

Eugenie Dolberg on the 11th night

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Artist Eugenie Dolberg with Fergus Jordan, spent the 11th night engaging with both Loyalist and Republican communities. With hundreds of bonfires across the north we visited a number in North and west Belfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Conversations

Eugenie Dolberg was commission to embark on an experimental research project titled the Visual Story Telling Project. The aim was to slow down and look closely at the processes involved in the interaction between communities and artists. The research was conducted across Belfast.

Fergus Jordan Belfast Exposed Documentary Photographer worked with Eugenie to develop a component of this research titled ‘Walking Conversations’. The concept is a response to the primary project aim, to slow down and look closely at the processes involved in the interaction between communities and artists. So do the style of the recordings, rather than having a formal interview structure the recordings aim to respond to this slowed down process. Using an informal and reflective approach to documentary making the ‘walking conversations’ between Eugenie Dolberg and Fergus Jordan successfully draw out ideas from the artist. The conversations acted as a breathing space for the artist, they gave the artist some context by developing an awareness of the social and physical communities where she was researching.

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Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers

A short video with two of the Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers, Tony and Abbey. Later this year our volunteers will be embarking on delivering hands on training and facilitation in communities as part of the POD Project. The POD is a purpose built photography workspace. The POD pops up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills. The Volunteers have gone through intense training to develop professional facilitation skills.

James Russel Cant Part 4

Earlier this year Belfast Exposed hosted a number of events as part of the How We Learn exhibition. Artist James Russel Cant gave a talk about his work in the How We Learn exhibition and about his practice and influences.

James Russel Cant Part 3

https://www.youtube.com/my_videos?o=U

Earlier this year Belfast Exposed hosted a number of events as part of the How We Learn exhibition. Artist James Russel Cant gave a talk about his work in the How We Learn exhibition and about his practice and influences.

James Russel Cant Part 2


Earlier this year Belfast Exposed hosted a number of events as part of the How We Learn exhibition. Artist James Russel Cant gave a talk about his work in the How We Learn exhibition and about his practice and influences.

James Russel Cant Part 1


Earlier this year Belfast Exposed hosted a number of events as part of the How We Learn exhibition. Artist James Russel Cant gave a talk about his work in the How We Learn exhibition and about his practice and influences.

Dunmurry Today Exhibition opens in the Exchange Space at Belfast Exposed 4th September – 11th September

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Dunmurry Today is an experimental collaboration between Belfast Exposed, Dunmurry Community Association and a group of participants living in Dunmurry.

The Programme was led by Mervyn Smyth and Sarah Hunter, and engaged the practice of artist photographers and Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers, Rebecca McMaster and Jill Quigley. It was the first project to run from the Belfast Exposed Photography POD. The POD is a purpose built photography workspace. The POD pops up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills.

During the project the Belfast Exposed team worked with two groups; the Dunmurry ‘1 to 3 club’, a group of senior citizens who met on Wednesday afternoons during August; and the Senior Youth Media Week participants who took part in an intensive week-long photography boot camp from 18 to 22 August.

Dunmurry Today also involved a new and unique element of the programme as two of the members of the creative team, Rebecca and Jill, were facilitating for the first time. Both Jill and Rebecca have spent the last 6 months learning facilitation skills as part of the Belfast Exposed community volunteers training programme. The Dunmurry Todayprogramme was the first opportunity for them to test out their facilitation skills under the guidance and support of Belfast Exposed veterans Mervyn Smyth and Sarah Hunter.

The resulting images, video, photobooks, and writing, give a sense of what the participants think of Dunmurry Today as well as providing an insight into the overall programme. The images are a reflection of the project by the participants and a response by Jill and Rebecca to their time with the groups. Rebecca’s work focuses on the building infrastructure of Dunmurry and the relationship young people have with the area. Jill’s work emphasises the past, with attention to nature in this environment.

This project was run in partnership with the Dunmurry Community Association and is funded through the Paul Hamlyn Our Museum’s Initiative and the SEELB.

Dunmurry today

 

The children explored Dunmurry exploring the colourful take aways and shop windows. Looking above the shops signs of Dumurrys past can be found, using old photographs the group made connections between Dunmurrys past and present. 
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The second participant to go into the field as part of the 2014 volunteer community facilitation program was Photography Undergraduate Rebekka Mcmaster. Working in Dunmurry Rebekka was assigned to develop the ‘Dumurry Today’ project from the perspective of the teenagers and younger children. This was a high energy group who enjoyed actively engaging with the project through photographing in the field.

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Dunmurry Today

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Jill spent time with the group freely discussing stories about Dunmurry, a task that was easy for this talkative and insightful group.

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Dunmurry Today

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The group brought in old photographs and studied them against the new photographs they took with Jill.

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Building a picture of Dunmurry past and present

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Belfast Exposed partnered Artist Jill Quigley with the Dunmurry Senior Citizens group. Jill is a participant in the 2014 volunteer community facilitation program. Jills’ first brief was to develop a project in Dummurry with the Senior citizens group examining the theme ‘Dunmurry Today’. Over the month of August Jill met with the group once a week to look at the theme and to develop a project opening up the participants view of Dunmurry today. Jill worked with the group recording their stories and memories of an otherwise forgotten side to Dunmurry. Using old photographs and through group discussions Jill encouraged the group to think about and discuss their experiences of Dunmurry. Jill took the group on a photo walk around Dunmurry, collectively the group evolved a view of Dunmurry past and present.

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Dunmurry Today

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Participants posing for a group photograph in Dunmurry, August 2014

This summer Belfast Exposed is launching our Photography POD, its first port of call will be Dunmurry Community Association where it will be placed during August and September. The POD is a purpose built photography workspace. It will pop up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills. From the POD we will run exciting projects, a weekly photography surgery, create a living archive of the community and use photography to take a closer look at where you live.

 

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30-minute photo book

On 19th September, 2014 Belfast Exposed will be running free photo book making workshops between 17:00 – 20:00 as part of Culture Night 2014. Come and join us!

 

30 Minute Photobook

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Return of the 30 Minute Photobook

This pop up zine-making factory invites you to scavenge through old photographs, newspapers and books, to make a photo book in just 30 minutes. Free of charge and with all materials provided, hosted by artists Jan McCullough and Lewis Rankin.

HOW WE LEARN Symposium Part 4

 

HOW WE LEARN Symposium in partnership with VAI on Wednesday 30 April from 2pm to 4pm. Speakers: Artist Marysa Dowling (London), Annie Bicknall (TATE, London), Mobile Art School (Dublin), Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (Dublin).

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HOW WE LEARN Symposium Part 3

 

HOW WE LEARN Symposium in partnership with VAI on Wednesday 30 April from 2pm to 4pm. Speakers: Artist Marysa Dowling (London), Annie Bicknall (TATE, London), Mobile Art School (Dublin), Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (Dublin).

 

 

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HOW WE LEARN Symposium Part 2

HOW WE LEARN Symposium in partnership with VAI on Wednesday 30 April from 2pm to 4pm. Speakers: Artist Marysa Dowling (London), Annie Bicknall (TATE, London), Mobile Art School (Dublin), Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (Dublin).

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HOW WE LEARN Symposium Part 1

HOW WE LEARN Symposium in partnership with VAI on Wednesday 30 April from 2pm to 4pm. Speakers: Artist Marysa Dowling (London), Annie Bicknall (TATE, London), Mobile Art School (Dublin), Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (Dublin). – See more at: http://mailout.co/belfast-exposed-how-we-learn-exhibition.

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PART 5 TALK WITH ARTIST WENDY MCMURDO

24 April 6pm | Talk with artist Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo specialises in photography and digital media. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work centres around the relationship between technology and identity and she has produced several influential bodies of work which explore this theme includingIn a Shaded Place – the digital and the uncanny’ was followed by an exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia Universidad de Salamanca in 1998. This resulted in the publication of the first monograph on her work. She has been included in numerous group shows, includingUnheimlich at the Fotomuseum Winterhur in Switzerland,Scanner at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California, The Anagrammatical Body – The Body and its Photographic Condition at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and Only Make Believe – Ways of Playing,curated by Marina Warner at Compton Verney, UK.

PART 4 TALK WITH ARTIST WENDY MCMURDO

24 April 6pm | Talk with artist Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo specialises in photography and digital media. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work centres around the relationship between technology and identity and she has produced several influential bodies of work which explore this theme includingIn a Shaded Place – the digital and the uncanny’ was followed by an exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia Universidad de Salamanca in 1998. This resulted in the publication of the first monograph on her work. She has been included in numerous group shows, includingUnheimlich at the Fotomuseum Winterhur in Switzerland,Scanner at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California, The Anagrammatical Body – The Body and its Photographic Condition at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and Only Make Believe – Ways of Playing,curated by Marina Warner at Compton Verney, UK.

PART 3 TALK WITH ARTIST WENDY MCMURDO

 

24 April 6pm | Talk with artist Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo specialises in photography and digital media. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work centres around the relationship between technology and identity and she has produced several influential bodies of work which explore this theme includingIn a Shaded Place – the digital and the uncanny’ was followed by an exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia Universidad de Salamanca in 1998. This resulted in the publication of the first monograph on her work. She has been included in numerous group shows, includingUnheimlich at the Fotomuseum Winterhur in Switzerland,Scanner at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California, The Anagrammatical Body – The Body and its Photographic Condition at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and Only Make Believe – Ways of Playing,curated by Marina Warner at Compton Verney, UK.

PART 2 TALK WITH ARTIST WENDY MCMURDO

24 April 6pm | Talk with artist Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo specialises in photography and digital media. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work centres around the relationship between technology and identity and she has produced several influential bodies of work which explore this theme includingIn a Shaded Place – the digital and the uncanny’ was followed by an exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia Universidad de Salamanca in 1998. This resulted in the publication of the first monograph on her work. She has been included in numerous group shows, includingUnheimlich at the Fotomuseum Winterhur in Switzerland,Scanner at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California, The Anagrammatical Body – The Body and its Photographic Condition at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and Only Make Believe – Ways of Playing,curated by Marina Warner at Compton Verney, UK.

Part 1 Talk with artist Wendy McMurdo

 

24 April 6pm | Talk with artist Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo specialises in photography and digital media. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work centres around the relationship between technology and identity and she has produced several influential bodies of work which explore this theme includingIn a Shaded Place – the digital and the uncanny’ was followed by an exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia Universidad de Salamanca in 1998. This resulted in the publication of the first monograph on her work. She has been included in numerous group shows, includingUnheimlich at the Fotomuseum Winterhur in Switzerland,Scanner at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California, The Anagrammatical Body – The Body and its Photographic Condition at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and Only Make Believe – Ways of Playing,curated by Marina Warner at Compton Verney, UK.

How We Learn Tour

During the How We Learn Exhibition Gallery Manager & Curator Ciara Hickey gave a number of tours for schools, families and the general public.

For more information on future tours of current exhibitions contact ciara@belfastexposed.org or +44 (0)28 9023 0965

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Installation Photograph from How We Learn

Installation Photographs from How We Learn

Wendy McMurdo gave an artist talk in the gallery about her outstanding work, again this will be uploaded shortly. For anyone who missed the talk it is worth a watch, and was very insightful.

Bio
Wendy McMurdo specialises in photography and digital media. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work centres around the relationship between technology and identity and she has produced several influential bodies of work which explore this theme including In a Shaded Place – the digital and the uncanny was followed by an exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia Universidad de Salamanca in 1998. This resulted in the publication of the first monograph on her work. She has been included in numerous group shows, including Unheimlich at the Fotomuseum Winterhur in Switzerland, Scanner at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California, The Anagrammatical Body – The Body and its Photographic Condition at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and Only Make Believe – Ways of Playing, curated by Marina Warner at Compton Verney, UK.

Posted by Fergus Jordan

How We Learn

Curator Ciara Hickey

Gallery Manager & Curator Ciara Hickey gives a speech on the opening night of How We Learn. Ciara kindly gave me a tour of the exhibition which will be uploaded as a short video on the blog.
Posted by Fergus Jordan

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I followed Artist Marysa Dowling as she worked with children in the Sacred Heart Primary School. Marysa talks about her working methods and the new work she created for the How We Learn Exhibition shown in Belfast Exposed – 3 APRIL TO 24 MAY 2014.

Belfast Exposed commissioned a collaborative project between artist Marysa Dowling and four partner schools in Belfast; St Malachy’s Primary School, Meadowbridge Primary School, Sacred Heart Primary School and Loughshore Educational Resource Centre.

Marysa Dowling’s participatory practice is rooted within portraiture and concerned with human behaviour. Crucial to her practice is the role that photography plays in daily life as a means of expression and representation. Dowling has worked on commissions, projects and residencies in the UK, Ireland, Los Angeles, Cuba, South Africa, Mexico and Lebanon. Exhibitions include Tate Modern (2012) Courtauld Institute (2011), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (2009) The Photographers Gallery (2007) The Whitechapel Gallery (2006) John Kobal Portraiture Award, The National Portrait Gallery (1999)

Posted by Fergus Jordan

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Marysa Dowling, Sacred Heart Primary School

Marysa Dowling, Sacred Heart Primary School
Artist Marysa Dowling working at the Sacred Heart Primary School developing a collaborative project between four partner schools in Belfast; St Malachy’s Primary School, Meadowbridge Primary School, Sacred Heart Primary School and Loughshore Educational Resource Centre. I spent the day with Marysa as she worked with the children to develop their ideas through photography.

London based artist Marysa arrives at the school but the children already seem to know her, Marysa contacts the children via email and postal exchange in advance of her short stays in Belfast. Marysa sends pictures about her life to the children; and the students responded sending Marysa pictures.

By the time she arrives on site the children feel like they know her on a personal level, Marysa uses this simple yet sophisticated method to develop trust with the children. The children viewed Marysa as a teacher and friend. This allowed Marysa to direct the children to complete learning tasks while allowing them to remain expressive.

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The children worked with a number of cameras including small point and shoot digital cameras, DSLR cameras and Medium format film formats.

Above Marysa works with each student using a Macro lens (Macro lenses allow close-up photography of very small subjects, revealing details in light and texture) on a medium format analogue camera. The photographs reveal details in the hands.

Each student, in advance thinks about the gestures they might do for the photograph, Marysa explains in detail how the camera is focused solely on their hands. Again the concepts Marysa explains are complex but the students seem to understand, or at least they are curious enough to go along with it. As Marysa reloads the film one student asks ‘What is that‘? Marysa explains: ‘It is camera film, the negative film registers an exposure which then needs to be processed into a positive to reveal a picture.’ The student paused, you could see his mind working away processing this concept, he replied ‘you mean like tracing paper?’ While the students are clearly embedded in the digital age of photography they quickly find rationale in Marysas processesa testament to the artists ability to engage with the children through photography.

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Students worked in small groups, developing a number of short overlapping tasks. The students are constantly engaged, thinking about gestures, self expression and the idea of translating this into the format of a drawing, mind map or photograph.

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Marysa entrusts the children with the cameras and studio lights, they respond by working hard, developing skills and even directing each other. Above Marysa guides the student while he takes a studio portrait of his classmate. This is a skilled task that involves technical know-how, communication, directional skills and self confidence.

BX Schools project

The children worked in pairs, Marysa explained: ‘The students go from messing about doing silly expressions in front of the camera towards developing ever more elaborate responses’. I was surprised by the content in quality and quantity.

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Play is an important aspect of the work, Marysa asked the children to work in pairs outside of the classroom and think about how they use their hands when they are playing.

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The work used portraiture as an introduction to the idea of gesture and how we communicate and learn with our hands. The project challenges the students to think about how they interact, communicate and socialise with their hands.  Starting with portraiture gave the children and familiar starting point to think about self expression, a testing ground to think about how they look, react and communicate through photography.

How we learn

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Posted: by Fergus Jordan

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HOW WE LEARN 3 APRIL TO 24 MAY 2014

 

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WENDY EWALD, JULIAN GERMAIN, WENDY MCMURDO, JAMES RUSSELL CANT, MARYSA DOWLING AND BELFAST SCHOOLS – 3 APRIL TO 24 MAY 2014

How We Learn explores the contexts in which children learn, and the psychological and physiological transformations that take place through different methods of learning. The exhibition includes work by leading artists working in the field of collaborative practice with children including Wendy Ewald and Julian Germain. The exhibition also represents a significant body of research into a child’s psychological and emotional development through photographic practice in the portraits by James Russell Cant and Wendy McMurdo. The exhibition will include new work produced in a collaborative project between artist Marysa Dowling and four partner schools in Belfast; St Malachy’s Primary School, Meadowbridge Primary School, Sacred Heart Primary School and Loughshore Educational Resource Centre.

Over the past month Belfast Exposed has delivered a number of events including, artist talks, tours for schools and families and Symposium with speakers: Artist Marysa Dowling, Annie Bicknall (TATE, London), Mobile Art School (Dublin), Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (Dublin).

 

 

Wish You Were Here begins in East Belfast

Wish You Were Here begins in East Belfast

PRIME collective have begun the project ‘Wish You Were Here’ in East Belfast. We will hold our third session this coming Wednesday (when we take the group out on an evening photography adventure together with Mervyn). This is a blog post about out first session which includes some general notes:

On Wednesday the 3rd of October the members of PRIME met with the Wish You Were Here workshop participants for the first time during an introduction session, held upstairs at the Templemore Avenue Swimming Pool between 6pm and 8pm.

After a meet and greet and some tea (and cake/biscuits), we all gathered around, introduced ourselves and why we wanted to participate in the project. Reasons were varied: to learn new photography skills, to learn about the area, out of curiosity, to meet some new people and to exchange ideas.

We (PRIME) explained that we will be working on the project as part of the group, and that we were keen to learn. An emphasis was put on the experimental nature of the project, that seeks not just to take photographs but to examine how to represent a subject to the outside world; what makes an interesting image; and what is worth exploring, debating and ultimately representing in East Belfast.

We had also brought books and prepared a slideshow of images sourced from Belfast Exposed’s recent exhibition and publications, Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography that demonstrated different ways in which a whole range of photographers such as Patrick McCoy, Hannah Starkey, Kai Olaf Hesse, John Duncan, Paul Quinn, Ursula Burke and Daniel Jewesbury have chosen to represent the city.

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Photographs about the city do not always have to represent a particular landscape or familiar landmark. They can be portraits of people who are familiar, or maybe not, or of a place of personal or historical significance. They can seem ordinary, even mundane, and may be staged or taken in a serendipitous moment of chance.

We proceeded with an exercise: we drew a map of the world from memory. This seemingly simple exercise is harder than expected, and began a discussion about place. About countries and cities visited, and therefore familiar, or faraway places known only by name. The representations differed wildly, though we were all drawing the same thing.

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We then drew a map of East Belfast, based on what we were familiar with in the area. The variety of different ways of negotiating the city became apparent from our maps. One was of playgrounds and parks – places that were suitable for young children.

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Another had an imaginary street with the drawer’s favourite buildings and shops. Important places and spaces were included, and everyone’s perspective was slightly different. This exercise triggered a discussion between the group, focusing on the area. On the many bakeries and what you can buy where. Of the vacant shops with stickers on the windows portraying fantasy businesses.

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One participant spoke of the network of alleys through which you can walk to town without hardly ever walking along a major road. It was fascinating to exchange information with people of various ages and backgrounds from the area, and we asked the group to start thinking about some of the places they may wish to photograph over the period of the workshops.

Murals Poem

Perhaps one of the greatest experiences in my career with Belfast Exposed was my Residency in Anacostia Washington DC.

I first visited Anacostia in Spring 2007 and have been back 3 times, one of the joys and lasting friendships I gained was meeting Fred Joiner a local poet from Anacostia, who in has own way through poetry manages to convey the thought, hope dreams and anxieties of people.

Fred together with a selection of other poets from Anacostia provided the rich poetry text which accompanied my photography exhibition, one of these poems written by Fred I thinks sums up what we at Belfast Exposed strive to achieve through all our Photography right across the board.

 

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Walls speak blood truth

the grayscale song of a camera’s

eye says what our words cannot

 

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Archive

Belfast Exposed has a valuable Photography Archive of 30 years holding many images representing many different aspects of life, here are just a few, but please check our Archive out on your next visit.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

WIMPS PROJECT

The WIMPS project is a project undertaken by young people asking Where Is My Public Servant, we recently have undertaken a photography project with WIMPS where the young people used the Theme of Democracy to raise awareness of how they feel.I have attached 2 images made by the young people showing their personal views.ImageImage

Valuable Reflections – Q and A Session: Wednesday 21 August

  • Dunmurray Community Centre Leader and Senior Youth leader (Billy Thompson & Johnny)
  • Pauline Hadaway
  • Mervyn Smyth
  • Menika van der Poorten
  • Ruth Moore

 Q1. Why is your community interested in working with Belfast Exposed?

  • Delivers a different type of activity. Learning new skills that young people connect with – and the focus on self expression is key
  • We have young people who have moved on still talk about the media they undertook with BX
  • It can be difficult to get funders to pay for this kind of work but funders are beginning to realise there is something in this. 
  • Young people being able to project different alternative views of themselves, be involved in positive images of young people is important. Makes a difference to young people’s sense of self and place within the community. 

Billy shared ideas about future direction:

  • Community has invested in equipment.
  • Hoping that we will get teaching and skills in own group so we can use it.
  • Want to develop a media hub in Dunmurray. More practical courses for leaders and senior youth leaders who could then take camera work sessions.
  • Could have a locally run camera club?

RM: Could this create community pathways connecting back into the programmes and courses then offered by BX in Belfast?

 Q2. How much to you feel you own the project, design planning and delivery?

We feel it is helping us build towards something…we feel it fits with our plans

Recommendation from BX: why not record the process you are undertaking and the content of courses to create a visual evaluation? Then present this to your funders?

RM: Could a community project be supported as  a mini  community pilot  in itself i.e. as a photography project with a social economy element and camera club/school which is stand alone and links into BX? Would it be of interest to BX to explore how this might work in partnership with a community, as a stand along sustainable project? Is there any benefit to BX in having mini community hubs to work in? How can this be teased out?

Q3: What about participants sense of ownership?

We should talk to them directly.

 Q4. What motivates you/your group/young people  to take part?

1. Creativity

2. Storytelling

3. Skills

4. Other

  • It’s a mixture of all of them. They get skills and they get chance to make pictures and also exp. of telling a visual story. 

RM: Are their stories being told? What are these?

Young people want to make work that reaches out ..

RM: important to explore who are the audiences for this work are at a grass roots level?

  • Opportunity for inter generational  work through images. 
  • We want this to continue, to grow. We don’t want it to finish.

 Q5. What are the barriers?

  • What we need is the training in photography skills, using the equipment. Getting the best of the software. Lightroom etc. If we had people trained in local area….we could run the media hub so other community groups could come in.  
  • We need to do business planning for the self sufficiency of the media hub and in house training. Could create small enterprises e.g. Family Portraiture Service
  • Mervyn has been a big help on applications 

 PH: BX could deliver the photographic side of this and Community Development organisations could provide skills to develop the social enterprise aspects. This needs strategic planning, business and action planning.

Valuable Reflections Q and A session : Tuesday 20 August

imageTues 20th August. BX. 

4 images from each of the following group’s work have been selected and form a part of the exhibition in the Exchange Space and studio , they include work made by people based at:

  • Newtownbreda High School
  • Impact Training
  • Impact training
  • Clan Mill / Sydenham Court
  • Seniors group using photography in Alzheimer’s Care
  • TADA,  Derriaghy village
  • Shankill All Stars
  • Victim and Survivor Trust
  • Ards Arena
  • Cross links
  • Intermix
  • RNIB
  • Council for the Homeless
  • Streets Ahead, Lisburn
  • Derriaghy village C A
  • Antrim Borough Council
  • MAC made festival
  • BELB Inclusion  and Diversity Unit
  • Hazelwood Integrated School
  • St Patricks Dungiven
  • Annandale and Haywood Residents Association

The images show work which has been made over different time periods in 2012 and/or 2013.  The work is representative of the projects undertaken which in themselves all varied from  month long interventions by BX to taking place over six months (or longer?)

Little contextual information is available setting out the processes involved e.g. camera skills based workshops, ways of seeing, issues based workshop etc scoping  workshops identifying issues or whether social justice issues were already identified by young people before commencement of projects.

Group Session 1.

Attended by representatives of :

– Inclusion and Diversity Unit

– Impact Training

– Annadale Residents association

Introductions:

Pauline Hadaway introduced the review giving a short history of BX’s 1983 beginnings which was to encourage people to present an alternative  real authentic view if the city, different to what was being ‘officially’ reported. Explaining that something photography lends itself to is the telling of  diverse stories and experiences.

Pauline posed questions e.g.

How would you like to be involved in creating the next exhibition in this space? And encouraged participants to consider the work they are making over the next few months and how it could enter into the BX Exchange gallery space and how BX together with participants could encourage families and members of the public to come and see.

Jim Weir. Inclusion and Diversity Unit, made a few introductory remarks about recent engagement with Roma youth. He spoke about language challenges and how sport and p’graphy projects can overcome those barriers. He applauded the  efforts of the young people and thanked Mervyn Smyth for his helpfulness in supporting the Roma community in South Belfast.

Pauline explained the purpose of the organisational review in regard to what it does, what it delivers and how it delivers through consultation with communities; explaining the intention of BX to develop new projects for piloting between Jan and July next year. Pauline outlined that a series of pilot project would be resourced, evaluated and post evaluation embedded into the programming going forward.

Key areas being explored include:

– the way we engage communities

–  who those communities are

To assist the review 6 questions have ben formulated which they wish to consider (5 mins per question)

Q1. Why is your community interested invoking Belfast Exposed?

  • Because it is skills photography. Trying to get young people to engage is difficult but using the medium of photography you can get young people to concentrate. It is also a way to explore issues.
  • We feel it works for us. And young people who like working with cameras and so we want to build on that. Keep going and build on the skills level.
  • They are learning know about the cameras functions now. Moving beyond auto settings.
  • Amazing to see what young people are seeing.
  • We are working with ethnic minority groups and working through visual images can help break down the barriers.
  • Photography is a young people’s language. Most young people have cameras so its a medium they are used to.
  • Photography can be a great medium when working across abilities e.g. where young person has learning difficulties. Programmes delivered well create a sense of social inclusion across  different capacities
  • It can be difficult when working with young people to find ways to address hard issues e.g. hate crime.  But coming at these issues through photography can help
  • It also seems to develop a respect between young people i.e. a respect of each others way of seeing.

Q2: how much to you feel you own the project, design planning and delivery?

  •  Feel that we did have an input and Mervyn did consider all that is needed by the group.
  •  Tensions did arise as sometimes funders were pulling one way and the participants were pulling another way.
  • When it comes to the project – important for me as the leader of the local organisation to oversee it but I also step back and let young people get on with it – it is more important that the young people can take ownership of it.
  • Never thought about this until you asked it. We rely on expertise of BX. If the whole project was left up to the young people I am not sure how it would end up.
  •  Photography is a vehicle for young people, to express what they want to express.

Q: What do you think your people would say in answer to the same question? (answer thinking from the perspective of young people). 

  • It would be good to ask them!
  • Some times our work doesn’t go to plan because young people don’t turn up. You don’t feel that pressure working with BX. Our young people are pushed about in different directions e.g. young people have been put on car wash…  so this flexibility  by BX is important.
  • As the organiser/leader, I do like to contribute but I do think and hope they see the projects as their projects.
  • Projects we have undertaken have been funding specified. It would be interesting to seeing what the young people would freely choose to work on if they could choose.
  • In the Inclusion & Diversity unit we had funding so we were able to enable the young people’s to initiate the ideas and shape the project.
  • The project we are doing is looking at hate crime.. You can see the young people coming up with the ideas. Young people are interactive in the workshops.

Q: What motivates you/your group/young people  to take part?

  • Creativity
  • Visual Storytelling
  • Skills learning
  • Participative activity
  • Other?
  • We were inspired by Roger Greenaway  and what we look for is inspiring activities. which spark young people’s imagination, and may also lead onto something elseIt is  all of these. It has to be enjoyable for young peopleIt’s important that the projects address self esteem. I.e. confidence building.
  • It’s a tool for engagement
  • The images are an important documentation
  • The skills aspect is important. A lot of our training is in house all week and this breaks up the type of training and it builds different skills even if that’s about switching on a camera, holding a camera. It’s probably about bringing skills and creativity together.

RM reflected back: that the discussion is suggesting that engagement with young people  through the process of image, is making it is possible to present and in a way legitimate young people’s perspectives – in communities where young people are not always understood or positively perceived. It was agreed that this was the case. So there is a wider social cohesion /social justice issues underlying why engage young people and in the outcome of the work e.g. youth inclusion in wider community.

Q: Would you as leaders be interested in undertaking your own community photography project work. 

If invited would the people who design and manage photography projects like to take part in one to try it out themselves? Unanimous YES!

Q5: What are the barriers to engaging with BX on projects? 

  • Time constraints and equipment limitations.

PH: So if you had cameras of your own and someone on the team who was trained up, you could be delivering in house programmes all year round?

  • Yes, however, there is benefits too for new project workers coming out.
  • Why aren’t we (the different community groups) doing something together and sharing skills and resources?

PH: Could a variety of groups work together on a shared project? What are the practical  issues? Could young people be coming down to take up volunteering opportunities here, use the library, see the exhibition, join the residencies team, and when we have our new web site launched these opportunities  will be clearer. There are lots of things they can do.

Neutral venues is still important. Because often this is about parents who have fears and so it removes our need to address this.

  • Transport is a issue for getting to and from city centre venues
  • I think first you have to take young people through their own process first and then be able to build on it by linking up and meeting other young people and working on later shared projects, or coming into venues e.g. BX

 Q: How could we work together so you could be working to do this exhibition next year ? (Where we facilitate the edit with the groups? Give participants a very active role in selection images, where and how things get hung in exhibitions? )

  • Need to learn about making an exhibition
  • Local issues need to be turned into general interest – e.g. issues about fashion can actually be about identity although if you say that to a funder it doesn’t succeed!
  • The Issue around safety around camera’s especially now with cameras in built to phones – how do young people protect themselves? This is a massive issue in photography now.
  • Could BX build in something into every projects which looks at the responsibilities of using a camera and taking photos of other people? What about the unseen impacts of posting potentially damaging images.
  • For five minutes it is funny but after that its not funny – once you put up a photo in FB its there forever.
  • So important to look at keeping yourself safe. Important to look at issues of sensitivity and posting on social network sites.
  • This focus needs to be included – it does go with the creativity process as its about taking a responsibility of what you are showing, it’s about you being the creator of the image. It’s not about censorship but about taking responsibility and looking at the impact of decisions.
  • Would it be an idea to build in case studies and around safety every programme delivered?

Notes from the discussion on art, communities and collaboration

Friday 23 August at BX

Pauline, Ciara, Mervyn for BX and Patrick Fox (Create), Fergus Jordan (BX Engagement Team), Anthony Luvera and Eugenie Dolberg (artists), Menkia van der Poorten and Ruth Moore (arts development, researchers and note takers)

The questions

  • Why do groups want to get involved in photography and with BX?
  • Why do artists want to work with communities?
  • Is there a difference between what managers, leaders and rank and file participants want from projects?
  • What are the barriers to people getting involved in projects?
  • Do people feel ownership or a sense of ownership?
  • Who actually owns the projects?

Q.1 Why would groups want to get involved/ why would artists want to get involved?

Patrick Fox (PF)

In asking what does the community want, we need to consider what we mean by community?

Why photography? A photography project can look at issues and themes through the lens of contemporary arts.  Communities can engage without the pressure of the outcome. A period of research can be an outcome.

Eugenie Dolberg (ED)

The Pilot Project under development.

What is it? Where is it going to lead? I think people need to have a sense of it leading somewhere.

Pauline Hadaway (PH)

It is a tentative stage. The Pilot Project could entirely change the way we work.

On the other hand, it may not lead anywhere in terms of an artistic output or production.

Anthony Luvera (AL)

I see it being about forming a relationship, an artist being immersed in an organization for a period of time. The emphasis is on uncertainty.

We don’t know where it will lead.

Mervyn Smyth (MS)

Maybe it’s about the process

We are looking at and documenting the process

The process has to be free and fluid

Building trust is part of the process.

Communities often feel that they are excluded

People feel they cannot trust or be trusted

PH

Why do they get involved?

MS

They want to learn things.

And it may be about using art as a diversionary tactic

Ruth Moore (RM)

What’s missing is the pathways or progression.

There are communities with stories to tell

They want their voices heard and stories told

It’s not about taking that to a definite end point, but starting on a pathway. Not having an end, but having a process.

Menika van der Poortern (MP)

If you are running a six month pilot project, why would I want to get involved without a definite outcome? What would be the motivation?

AL

As an artist, I don’t know what the end result would be, that’s what is interesting. As an artist, I am a tool kit for the group.

PF

The motivation could be all the things Mervyn has said, plus challenging the funders. Showing how projects should be and could be run.

Ciara Hickey (CH)

It strikes me that the difference between the long term collaborative project and the shorter community photography experience is similar to the difference between a touring show and a commissioned work in the gallery. Both are valuable, but the work that is commissioned and made in and for the space, gives everyone a sense of ownership

ED

The people I work with, feel ownership because they are inspired. They need to tell their story. That need has to be urgent and critical

Q.2     Do people feel ownership or a sense of ownership?

AL

The question of ownership can be a red herring. Co production gives a moral entitlement of ownership: it is our work. I see myself as the author of the project, but the audience need to know that the participants have been involved in making the work.

CH

Work that shows in the gallery, will open up into the gallery. The gallery becomes a place for sharing work. An artist can already see that, while the ‘non artist’ comes to an understanding of to. It’s a collaborative and collective experience

PF

Documentary or fine art, doesn’t matter. What matters is that the project is a collaborative enterprise, a collective enterprise The artists role is to animate the project, supporting people to make work.

ED

There are technical solutions to questions of ownership. We can grant licenses to use images. People can withdraw, change their mind, cancel the license.

Fergus Jordan (FJ)

Are you co authors or collaborative

AL

I am the author of the project, but individuals taking part are the authors of the images.

FJ

There are many different ways to collaborate

PF

We are looking at a spectrum of collaborative practices, which BX already covers:

–       Collaboration

–       Artists working as co authors

–       Artists working as activators

–       Dialogical

AL

If you take the artist out of the equation and you say that the project wouldn’t have happened, then it is not collective authorship.

MS

We tend to work as activators,

AL

Questions of the market value of the artwork can arise and complicate things.

ED

The photographs emerge as the result of a particular methodology, which the artist applies

AL

Ownership is blurry. But if you can say that without the artist there would be no work, then the artist must own the work.

PH

Authorship relates to agency, doesn’t it? The question is, who drives the project?

Why do you want to take part and what does taking partmean to you?

ED

Can you give a shared copyright to group members?

We need to find a definition of authorship that we are comfortable with.

AL

At the book launch, which was a couple of years after the project finished, some of the Residency participants had forgotten about taking part, they had moved on in their lives. Others had gone on to take photography more seriously, and one of the participants is now hosting and running skills workshops of his own.

Q.  What are the barriers?

PF

Building trust.

MP

The artist (gives example) was living in a village and people were coming forward because they had got to know her. People have to know you are there and that they can come to you.

AL

Someone gets involved and tells other people how good it is and they tell other people

RM

People don’t want to be ‘just the next story’ for someone else to explore

When you go looking for something you won’t find it.

But the story may come to you.

ED

You build up a level of trust and the stories are shared.

AL

I was working with the queer community in Brighton. A call was put out to people to get involved, and what happened was that people who wanted to get involved responded and got involved. It was that simple/

ED

The selective process for Open Shutters Iraq was haphazard, because some people had no passports and some people couldn’t travel out of Iraq.

I didn’t want to know too much about the people who were getting involved, until the workshops started. The Life Maps is a story telling tool, which overcomes fears and challenges the comfortable narrative of people’s lives.

RM

There has to be a willingness to engage if you are working as part of the group.

PF

Building trust is crucial.

RM

The BX skills based workshops tend to be working with existing groups.

Whereas artists want to work with new groups all the time….. New people.

MS

The communities don’t always want their work to sit next to the work of another community, so the politics get in the way.

PH

You can see that, the way the relationships formed round the table are quite fragile.

PF

Is the re something we could be doing, working with groups in more conceptual areas of photography. With ideas.

PH

The notion that photography is accessible. Can it be as much of a barrier as a help? I think one of the main things that distinguishes the way artists work with photography from the way non artists work, relates to the way they think about photography.  Artists are very critical about photography. They challenge its assumptions. Non artists tend to see photography in a more positive light.

AL

Critical practice and challenging the politics of representation is right at the heart of the way photographers are working today. In Northern Ireland, it sometimes seems that people are used to being misrepresented by photography.  They accept it.

PF

Sounds like we are coming back to different ideas of communities.

Would it be useful to involve communities of interest in these pilots?

Activate some of the more obtuse notions of communities?

Looking at different models.

What about working with groups of people who work in a particular job.

Or the people who get into the black taxis.

RM

Is there a difference between the community leaders, the people taking part? Who is the actual community we want to engage with?

There is a problem of entrenchment in communities

Who are the communities?

There are many different conversations to be had

The artist has to be able to engage in all those conversations

While the organisation acts as a facilitator

There are many different conversations at POLICY LEVEL and at COMMUNITY LEVEL and at PARTICIPANT LEVEL.

FJ

The role of the gatekeeper is to control the narrative and to safeguard the community.

AL

Part of the Research and Development of community projects has to be about me, the artist, situating myself in the organization and getting an understanding of the work it does and getting the organization or community to understand what I do as an artist.

ED

The relationship has to be between the artist and the individual taking part, and preferably avoiding the organisations who bring their own rehearsed narratives. I want to crack this open. The funders intrude and the managers intrude…..

 RM

Interference by the managers, can undermine the project

MS

The older community leaders don’t trust the younger generation.

FJ

I document a community from a critical perspective. As an outsider and insider.

I work in a housing estate in Dunclug, a place where I grew up. It was one of the only non sectarianised housing estate in NI, but it developed a huge drug problem. The estate is marginalised. I lived there until I was 18 and now I have come back to tell the story of the estate. So I am seen as a threat. I want to make a clear record. I am critical.

PH

What about truthfulness? Have you ever walked away from a group because they wouldn’t or couldn’t fully reveal or resolve the work? As an artist you often have to cross a line and open yourself up. You put yourself at risk. Are you comfortable with working with groups on these terms. Putting them on the line?

How far do you place your participants at risk?

Opening themselves up, taking critical flak, being misunderstood.

ED

(Open Shutters Iraq) People chose stories and then went out to make their stories, it is up to us to explain and to get consent. It is all about the making making of the work. That is what drives us.

Some basic ingredients:-

However you get involved you have to be free to consent and to walk away

The artist just needs a chance to meet with people and explain

To explore new methodologies

To document the process but not get hung up on the product

AL

The public presentation of the work is important.

For us it was posters on the Underground.

A participant withdrew, but it was too late.

We couldn’t address the problem.

 ED

What are asking people to invest? If it is a cup of tea and a chat, then that’s a lot easier than asking them to participate in a creative project as co producer,

AL

Do you want to get involved? I’m here, what can I do?

FJ

Can you try to discover a common interest and explore and discuss something?

ED

People want to be involved and want to make work.

RM

Isn’t it about negotiating a contract where it is clear what people are putting in and what they are getting out of it?

RM

What could the benefits be?

AL

Learn how to use a camera. Think about photography and how it is used in the media and what it reveals

PH

Taking part can be a joy because of by the pointlessness of the process, The non utilitarian purpose of art is the joy.

MS

The funders have expectations, that we deliver an exhibition.

RM

The funder shouldn’t always get the blame.

PH

That’s right. We have a funder right now, ready to support usMS

Let’s not be afraid to fail. To take ourselves out of the comfort zone. Let’s get to people and try something different.

RM

Can we use the pilot project as an experimentation with process, can we record and document the process.

 MP

To go somewhere new.

RM

Can we look at particular projects with BX and review how far they go and where they succeed and fail.

PH

How do we reach people, get them involved?

ED

The artist has to make the contact. They make the effort to meet people who are behind the gatekeepers. THE BIG DIFFERENCES ARE OFTEN IN THE SMALL DETAILS.   An exploration by an artist, where people can just come in/ drop in.

An exploration of space in Belfast

Places to show the work and make the work, outside using those spaces

Let’s get outside the gallery space.

AL

For me, it’s not about people’s stories its about exploring representation and photography.

PH

Different approaches to this work in the community.

Storytelling

Exploring photography

But it comes down to the same thing – the photographer embedded and immersed in the organisation and/ or the photographer at large in the community.

BX facilitates both.

AL

Wendy Ewald sees her practice not so much as making products as making models, leaving models behind. She talks about the context of making the work.

PH

The evaluation of the pilot is the product so we want it to be more than a system or set of rules.  A simple set of outcomes.

RM

Wendy Ewald……can we invite her over to talk about her work?

How big is the group?

Is there something about local photographers working with artists?

Culture Night at BX

We are again running events for Culture Night on Friday 20 September

At 6pm you can join a Gallery Tour of The Market by Mark Curran and pick up a Gallery Family Map. From 6pm to 8.30pm we will also run a Drop in Photogram Workshop.

If you are around town that night we would love to see you!It will be a good opportunity to take a tour of the current exhibition or re-acquaint yourself with the art of the darkroom by making your own photogram (please make sure that if you are bringing children they  are accompanied by an adult). Let us know if you have any questions.

Photogram image of citrus fruit below:

Image

We are also delighted to launch the Gallery Family Map on Culture Night.  Call in with your kids from 6pm to pick up your free map and find out more about Belfast Galleries!

Inclusion

I have been undertaking a Photography Project with the BELB Inclusion Team working with a groups of young boys from the ROMA Community living in South Belfast.

The Project looks at the lives of the young people, their hopes and aspirations and what it means to a young ROMA boy living in Belfast.

In parallel to the photography project I have had the opportunity to document the BELB Inclusion team in their work to integrate and include the young ROMA boys into the traditional communities here, enabling an inclusive shared space for all to meet through activities and talks.

This is has been a fascinating experience documenting the activities and work of the team with the young people and now this is shared with you in these pictures.

The pictures include a BELB Youth Celebration event in The Waterfront Hall were young people from across Belfast came together, this was followed by a trip to the Hammer Community Centre with football being a major theme the ROMA boys through BELB have now a football team and they played a local team from the Hammer, this was followed by a group talk in which the boys were able to talk about their lives in Romania to a group of local young people who were going to pay a visit Romania.

During the summer the boys visited Corrymeela and Watertop Open farm, sharing a fun day with young people from Belfast undertaking team building activities and workshops to get to know each other.

Yesterday the group were part of the Suicide Awareness day at Belfast City Hall and the launch of a Mobile Youth Hub by FASA, the event was informative and also provided activities for young people, they got to meet some Tribute acts and of course the highlight being their group leader Jim Weir who sang at the event.

The BELB Team have really worked hard to include the young ROMA boys in every aspect of inclusion and now they have a new Football team and new kit thanks to all the hard work.

The boys photography work was part of our Valuable Reflections Exhibition and their own full exhibition will be held soon, I will keep you all posted.

 

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test printing in gps

Posted by Fergus Jordan Community Engagement team member.

Its been an exciting few days in GPS Colour test printing for my forthcoming series Garden Estate.

New Gallery Intern at Belfast Exposed

We would like to welcome Hannah Watson to the Belfast Exposed team as the new Gallery Intern.  Hannah is a recent graduate from the University of Ulster’s BAHons Photography degree course. Previous to this, she completed two years of a BA in English and Politics at Queens University Belfast, before making the decision to move on to follow a more creative pathway. Hannah has also been involved with political community based programmes developed by the YMCA and Y-Care International and aspires to build a career in the field of visual arts whilst continuing to develop her own practice. We are looking forward to working with Hannah on developing the bookshop and reading room programmes at Belfast Exposed. http://www.hannahwatsonphotography.com

This internship is supported through the Professional Experience Programme between the University of Ulster and Belfast Exposed.

 

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