A Struggle for Democracy: Images by Shahidul Alam displayed across the UK

Shahidul Alam, Smriti Azad, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1994.

Dr Shahidul Alam was arrested, tortured and imprisoned in Dhaka Bangladesh at the beginning of August. Shahidul is an internationally respected photographer, journalist and activist and a good friend and colleague to many of us working in the photography and the academic worlds here in the UK.

University of Sunderland, where Shahidul has been a visiting professor for many years, Autograph and Drik have proposed a mass exhibition of Shahidul’s work in support of the campaign to free him (#FreeShahidulAlam).

Shahidul has been a significant force both in photography and in photographic education and we feel it is essential that we raise our voice in support of him.

On 28 October Shahidul is due to be awarded the Lucie Award at Carnegie Hall, New York.

We invite as many organisations as possible to participate in an exhibition (8 – 28 October 2018) across the UK, in solidarity with the works recently shown at Drik Gallery Bangladesh, under the exhibition title ‘A Struggle for Democracy’.

The ambition is for every participating institution to show a minimum of 1 image by Shahidul alongside an information panel. This will provide context and a call to action for the public, urging them to add their voice to the online #FreeShahidualAlam campaign and Amnesty International’s appeal for his release.

These can be ‘exhibited’ in a number of ways– they could be projected, on a screen or printed within buildings (foyers, entrances, social spaces, exhibition space) or could be exhibited externally in public-facing spaces with high foot-fall. All files will be provided for local printing/presentation.

Please confirm your participation in the UK wide project!


How it works 

1.      Email: nepn@sunderland.ac.uk to request files

2.      Select an image (or more depending on your capacity) from the image files and download

3.      Download the corresponding information panel text.

4.      Print or digitally project or screen both image and text file in your space, reception, public/social place to coincide with the exhibition timeframe

5.      Document interactions and any event you wish to programme.

6.      Share images of the installed images using the #FreeShahidulAlam on social media.

Participating cultural organisations:

Autograph, London; NEPN, Sunderland; Side Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; Impressions Gallery, Bradford; The Photographers’ Gallery; Redeye: The Photography Network; Panos; New Art Exchange, Nottingham; Photo North Festival, Harrogate; FotoDocument; Nottingham Contemporary; Breeze Creatives, Newcastle upon Tyne; Pop Recs, Sunderland; Swadhinata Trust, London; Royal Photographic Society; Sunderland Culture; HOME, Manchester;  Unfold Stories and SHED London; Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland; NewBridge Project, Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead; Berwick Visual Arts; Four Corners, London; QUAD and FORMAT International Photography Festival; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Fotonow; Gallery Oldham; pic.london; Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Participating Universities:

University of Sunderland; Durham University; Ulster University; University of Lincoln; University of Wolverhampton; London School of Economics and Political Science; Nottingham Trent University; Edinburgh Napier University; Coventry University; Royal College of Art; University of South Wales; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Cumbria; University of Plymouth; Blackburn College; University of Gloucestershire Birmingham City University; University of Salford; The Northern School of Art; Anglia Ruskin University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Derby; University for the Creative Arts, Farnham; Bury College; LCC, University of the Arts London; University of Brighton and photoworks; Newcastle University; University Centre Weston; Kings College London; Middlesex University.

International partners:

Photo Romania Festival; Galerie Lichtblick and Kolga Tbilisi Photo, Georgia;  Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia; Encontros da Imagem, International Photo Festival, Braga, Portugal; Philiyput Art Centre, Philadelphia, USA; Noorderlicht House of Photography, The Netherlands; Galeria umelcov Spiša, Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia.






Want to add your own comments? Leave a Comment

  1. Hi, good idea….
    I have a photogallery in Cologne, Germany… Shahidul is a friend and he was visiting Cologne in spring.
    I have an opening at my gallery next weekend during photokina and photoszenefestival and I wanted to do something for this to support Shahidul and the students…
    but I had no idea whom to ask for pictures… maybe I can selected from your pictures? or would you advice I contact DRik? but I think the ´y have enought to do to support Shahidul…
    so pls send me files to select… will send info what I do…
    thanx for your support of Shahidul… with regards from Cologne
    Tina Schelhorn

  2. Saiful Islam says:

    Hi Tina, I can send you the files or Amanda (amanda.ritson@sunderland.ac.uk) can do so, thanks for reaching out…Saif

  3. We are artists and have been trained by Shahidul Alam in Mexico.
    Now we are located in Philadelphia USA and we are following up very closely all this situation, we wonder if we could participate with our gallery in this massive exhibition.
    Also, we will participate in the NYC event.
    Hoping is possible to work along,

  4. Hi,
    We would like to participate in this exhibition. We could exhibit work in our gallery space at University Centre Weston in Weston-super-Mare. We would highlight the campaign and Shahidul Alam’s work with our Film & Photography degree students and wider student body here at UCW.
    I’ve also sent an email to addres above
    Richard Edkins
    HE Programme Co-ordinator and Lecturer in BA (Hons) Top-Up Lens Based Media
    Lecturer FdA Film & Media Arts Production
    Sam Brooks
    HE Programme Co-ordinator and Lecturer FdA Photography in Practice
    University Centre Weston, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 2AL

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