Abstracts

Panel 1 – Goldsmiths, University of London
 

Democracy Wall: On The Politics of Silence and Palatable Dissent – Paul Halliday

Paul Halliday will present his latest body of large-scale colour photographic work focusing on everyday objects and urban materialities, made against a geographic and sociological background of political dissent. In recent years, Paul has become increasingly interested in a critique of the relationship between ‘performed radicalisms’ and the consumption of photographic art-works as ‘cutting edge’ and of the zeitgeist.

Drawing on his own experiences of making images in street contexts, the artist will reconsider what it means to construct images that speak to and of the politics of contested urban spaces.

 

Bowling Together? Portrait of a League – Dr. Emma Jackson and Andy Lee

In the middle of Finsbury Park, a busy and fast-changing area of North London, sits the local institution of Rowans ten pin bowling alley. This short documentary about Rowans’ bowling league is the product of a collaboration between a sociologist, Emma Jackson, and a film-maker, Andy Lee. Through focusing on the world of the league and introducing its diverse cast of characters, the film explores themes of bowling as a practice of belonging in the city, that is both highly performative and social. It explores bowling’s rich material cultures and the process of becoming a bowler. Through presenting the stories of the bowlers in the environment they are describing, the film aims to create a sense of place, to take the viewer into the sensory realm of the bowling alley with its distinctive sights and sounds, while also introducing the particular group of people that cluster here.

Recognising these modes of community and practices of belonging becomes socially and politically important in a context where the social worlds of accessible leisure spaces are disappearing in a gentrifying city. Therefore the film makes a subtle intervention through presenting the social richness of this extraordinary-ordinary place

Panel 2 – London College of Communication
 

9/11: Street photography and terror – Dr. Jennifer Good

This presentation draws on Jennifer’s book ‘Photography and September 11th: Spectacle, Memory, Trauma’ (Bloomsbury, 2015), to consider how New York City – for many the locus of street photography and its quintessential subject – was transformed by terror during the events of 9/11. It will consider how the iconic architecture of the city was altered both physically and symbolically, and how the mode of witnessing that is at the heart of street photography took on a different character under the conditions of trauma.

 

Metropolis Now – Lewis Bush

London was once known as the Metropole, the mother city at the heart of a vast empire stretching across a quarter of the planet. The British Empire has long since collapsed, but in its place has risen a new and closely related power, that of globalised capitalism. This new empire has also centred itself on the old imperial capital, and has set about transforming it utterly. London, rebranded as an ‘investment opportunity’ is now a city of demolition, cranes, and glittering new high rises. Metropole records that change, and the experience of feeling increasingly alienated from a city which was once home.

Panel 3 – Urban Photographers Association
 

Spiritual Flavours – Laura Cuch, Doctoral Researcher, Department of Geography, UCL

In this presentation, I will discuss the project Spiritual Flavours, which is a collaborative arts project with members of different faith communities in the area of Ealing and Hanwell, who contribute recipes that they relate to their spirituality and religious practices. Through interviews and cooking sessions, the project pays attention to affective relationships with food, as a vehicle to explore ideas about inheritance, tradition and belief. These sessions are the basis of a short film and a forthcoming ‘multi-faith’ cookery photo book. This project is part of my practice-led PhD, where I use photography and film to comparatively explore the relationship between home and religion, by paying attention to domestic material culture, in particular that which is related to food, cooking and eating. It is also part of a larger research project, Making Suburban Faith, which focuses on seven different faith communities in West London, selected to represent different faith and migration traditions. These include a Synagogue, a Sri Lankan Hindu Temple, a mosque, a Sikh Gurdwara, an Anglican church, a multicultural Roman Catholic church and an ethnically diverse Pentecostal church.

 

Transumanza – Stefano Carnelli

Transumanza follows the seasonal journey of the last walking shepherds in Northern Italy, through a territory very different from the bucolic pastoral landscape one would expect. They move their flocks on foot from the highly urbanised Pó Valley to the pristine alpine mountains following routes that on first sight may look linear and straightforward, but are instead traced only by generations of custom, and require continuous adaptation. New roads, new buildings or even new crops constantly modify their path so that every year the journey is, by nature, similar to the previous one but, by necessity, never identical.

The flocks are now larger than in the past, between 1000 and 1500 sheep each, due to a changed economic model where the wool is not cost-effective anymore. Instead, the meat has replaced wool in a market mainly directed towards the growing Muslim community.  Transumanza shows a scenario in flux where the clash between Local and Global, tradition and innovation suggests an alternative mapping of this complex urban and social environment.

 

Panel 4 – London Independent Photography
 

We’re Already Here! –  Mo Greig

This body of work was made in 2014 during a period when it seemed that everytime I picked up a newspaper or listened to a news broadcast I was confronted with immigration being a valid reason for the UK to leave the EU and that when the EU labour restrictions were lifted on 1 January 2014 thousands of Romanians would pack their bags and pour across the UK border.  The date came and went and the threatened influx never happened.

Being told that this was a reason to be seriously concerned was easy to dismiss as just political posturing, until I met a couple of Romanians.  They were upset by the vilification of them personally and their country.  It also dawned on me that the media made no mention of the millions of British who reside outside the UK in the EU.

This motivated me to find the human story behind the media frenzy and political rhetoric.  Over the ensuing months I travelled to Romania and around the UK to talk to Romanians already living in the UK and to explore life in Romania through the eyes of the British living there.  I wanted to discover for myself the reality of the situation, and to allow those directly involved to tell their stories.

My intention with this work was to take the viewer with me on my journey, meeting some of the people who shared their experiences, thus drawing their own conclusions rather than any imposed attitude.

With the exiting of the EU now a reality what do these groups think now?

 

 

The Runway Stops Here – Jonathan Goldberg

Britain’s busiest airport is the setting for my project. Or just over the perimeter fence to be precise, where lies a community living in a former plant nursery, known as Grow Heathrow.  Now in it’s seventh year of existence, it has evolved into a complex eco-village, home to 35 residents who share meals and meet regularly.

Through my photography I explore how a community, which was founded as a direct protest against airport expansion and climate change, manages to survive living almost entirely off-grid. I also became curious to investigate the challenges of living harmoniously in an environment surrounded by nature, without diminishing it for others.