Lancashire County Council Archives visit

Second year students took a trip to the Lancashire County Council Archives to get an insight into their working processes, how to become a contributor and what photographic treasures are held in the large collection.

Vicci McCann -senior archivist- was kind enough to dig out a range of interesting material from the archive to display to the students. Everything from a 17th Century hand written letter discussing the gun powder plot, to some early 20th Century Daguerreotypes were available for perusal.

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Building links with a local institution like this has become an excellent method of first hand learning for all involved.

Staff Profile: Adam Murray ‘The Preston Pavilion’

UCLan Photography Lecturer Adam Murray has recently been involved with a site-specific installation project titled The Preston Pavilion.  This was a multi-media installation that revisited the origins of the Preston is my Paris collective and explored the initial motivations for starting the project.  The core values of the work are intrinsically linked to the original site of production; the city of Preston.  Elements of this place were situated in Jerusalem in the form of large-scale photographic prints, audio soundscape, real-time continuous webcam projection, sculpture and archival objects.

This project took place at the WE Festi-Conference for Artist Collectives from 13-15 August 2013 in Jerusalem.  Adam Murray worked in collaboration with Rob Griffiths, Jamie Hawkesworth, Robert Parkinson and Adam Mead.

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Adam Murray – Krakow Photomonth Portfolio Reviews

UCLan Photography Lecturer Adam Murray recently visited Krakow Photomonth and took part as a portfolio reviewer looking at a range of projects presented by young photographers mainly based in Poland.  Fellow reviewers included Oliver Chanarin (Broomberg & Chanarin), Gordon MacDonald (GOST Books) and Aaron Schuman (SeeSaw Magazine) amongst others.  The whole festival offered a great insight into contemporary photographic practice.

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Staff Profile – John Aitken

Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

My partner Jane and myself were invited to take part in a group show at the Guangdong Museum of Art in mid April. The exhibition was entitled Issues of Urbanisation. All the artists chosen were either from China or U.K. based and had work that investigated the impact of urbanization on individuals and communities. We went to Guangzhou to install the work and do a series of talks with local students, journalists and artists.

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The work Jane and myself have been undertaking since 2004 is a longitudinal study of the council housing estate I’ve lived on since 1993 in Pendleton, Salford. The project has been documenting and archiving a landscape in change using observational reports, photography, video, audio recordings and archival based research.

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Our exhibition piece, a three channel video installation, focused on the effects of Media City on the surrounding area. Media City was once the former dock area for Manchester and Salford that has now been transformed into a global media hub, housing the BBC and a growing army of high-end apartments blocks.

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The areas dramatic economic development has meant that the once undesirable land of the housing estate next door has suddenly become attractive to real estate speculation. As a result people are slowly moved out, houses demolished and the land prepared under a number of ‘legitimate’ guises. A new type of urban prairie momentarily emerges awaiting new lucrative investment. A host of informative pamphlets, persuasive council strategies and user- friendly community focused websites emerge to mediate the evictions and changes.

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Talking to students in the Guangzhou gallery many related to the things we were discussing. Guangzhou has transformed at a dramatic rate over the last twenty years and some of the changes they felt weren’t for the better. The pace of change and the lack of justice in who benefited from these developments particularly disturbed them.

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As in Salford, communities who had inhabited the city for generations are being evicted to make way for high-density lucrative apartment blocks to house the new wealthy. In our own wanderings near the river we came across such several sites of demolitions where displaced people were living in liminal public spaces.

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Below is a link to a great article examining some of the issues this blog entry touches on:

http://newleftreview.org/II/53/david-harvey-the-right-to-the-city

My own article on the housing estate in Salford can be found in the UCLan Library:

http://goo.gl/AHwz0