Last year I was lucky enough to get involved in a local arts project, in which we re-ran a collaborative project from about 20 years ago. A school near where I live, Alma Park, is a specialist centre for deaf children – with pupils travelling from across Manchester to get support with their communication needs. They spend some time in mainstream classes as well and all children in the school learn some sign language. Years ago the school was involved in a community arts project in which photographs of children’s hands signing out the name of our neighbourhood – Levenshulme – were displayed at the local train station. These were up when I moved here in 2004, but the posters were eventually taken down after suffering water damage.
In 2019 the Friends of Levenshulme Station group decided to re-run the project and invited me to take part. We decided to involve only hearing-impaired children this time and in the summer term I spent a morning shooting 11 pupils’ hands. It then took a long time to get the funding from Northern Rail and other partners which we needed to print the images onto aluminium and there have been other delays while we’ve waited for permission to get onto the platforms and install the images. But now they’re there, along with a text celebrating the existence of Alma Park School’s deaf community, which mainly local people don’t know about.
Winston Brown was refused re-entry to the UK in 2006, when he tried to board a plane at the end of a trip to Jamaica. It took his family 13 years to get him back into the country. He is one of thousands of people affected by what has become known as the Windrush Scandal – well before the creation of the so-called Hostile Environment.
Click on the image to read the story on the Big Issue North website.
There’s only a few weeks left of my Arts Council-funded Roma exhibition at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Turn Sideways in the Wind. This tells the stories of three young Roma migrants to Greater Manchester and ends on 24 April. Editing the work and putting together the show was a huge learning experience and I feel lucky to have been given this opportunity. It was also really great to see the project participants look at the work on the walls. If anyone is in the Greater Manchester area over the coming weeks and fancies a look, more information about the gallery can be found here. It’s right next to Salford Crescent train station, just a few minutes from Manchester city centre.
Thanks to all who made the effort to come to the gallery on 12 December and to the folks at Salford Museum who have made it look so good. It has been ace to see this work hanging on a wall and feedback from the two participants (of three) who have seen it has been extremely positive, which means more than anything else to me. The exhibition is on until 24th April, and entry is free of charge.
A lovely piece about my exhibition, which opens at Salford Museum and Art Gallery this Saturday and runs until April 24.
Exciting news – I have been awarded Arts Council support towards an exhibition of some of my Greater Manchester Roma work, which will take place at Salford Art Gallery from December to February. The same body funded the shooting of this project so it’s brilliant news that they are also happy to support the show. More on this in due course..
I’ve neglected my site massively the past nine months – but there’s a good reason for it. I’ve been on maternity leave and enjoying some time out, getting to know my son Lukas. Plus the small matter of buying and moving into a new house.
I used some of my return to work days to continue writing a few bits and pieces for The Big Issue in the North, and to design a newspaper to display some work produced for the Roma Matrix project that I was involved in last year. I’m told that went down a storm at some European Commission events.
I am now working again so please get in touch if I can help you. As well as taking writing and photography commissions, I will be doing some lecturing from September and will have a small exhibition of my Greater Manchester Roma work at Salford Art Gallery from December.
I don’t often get really excited about stories these days but when I was asked this summer to attend the Light and Life Gypsy church convention I definitely did. The rise of Evangelical Christianity among both English Gypsies and migrant Roma communities has not escaped my notice – I even attended a Romanian Romani Pentecostal church service near my home when I was first trying to make contacts within this community in 2009/10. To be handed access to this event as a photographer made this a dream commission for me. I was also excited to be working with the writer Katharine Quarmby, who published a cracking book on the eviction of Dale Farm last year, and to be asked to work for Newsweek was also fantastic. Thanks to Katharine for putting in a special request that I do the photos. Please click through to read her fascinating article and to see my photo gallery or download the PDF here.