Events and News

Bläue (Blueness) by Kerstin Schroedinger

NEPN and Breeze Creatives present a screening of Bläue (Blueness), a film by artist Kerstin Schroedinger on Wednesday 7 March at 6.30pm at Bamburgh House, Newcastle. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with the artist.

Juxtaposing images of the production sites of the pharmaceutical-chemical industry with speculations on the historical, social, and material conditions of Cyanotype photography, Bläue (Blueness) probes into the (gendered) politics of materiality and the (violent) historicities of its form.
 The film follows a figure that proceeds through the stages of exposing and developing a Cyanotype. They revisit sites in Seveso, Italy, and Basel, Switzerland that both relate directly to the history of Prussian Blue, a blue synthetic dye.
In the latent period, when the images are exposed but not developed yet, the figure searches to define their body as both commodity and consumer of pharmaceutical products. This body is modelled on the productive body of Fordist labour. Yet like the industrial sites that appear as remnants of an older mode of production, this body has been fundamentally reconfigured to conform to post-industrial working conditions.
Subsequently, the figure aims to perform against pharmaceutical substances and prepare against a neoliberal take-over of their movements, lingering between the roles of researcher, scientist, athlete, pharmacist, patient, woman. (Schroedinger, 2017). 

Bläue (Blueness) was supported by and premiered at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in 2017.

Where: 8th Floor, Bamburgh House, Market Street East, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6BH.  Bamburgh House is fully accessible.  All welcome. FREE. Film duration 48 mins followed by Q&A.

Kerstin Schroedinger is an artist based in Berlin working in film/video, sound and performance. Kerstin’s historiographic practice questions the means of image production, historical continuities and ideological certainties of representation. Schroedinger is a member of feminist film distribution group Cinenova in London. 
Her work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives New York, Images Festival Toronto, Short Film Festival Oberhausen, International Film Festival Toronto, Gasworks London, and exhibited at MIT List Visual Arts Center Boston, Photo Cairo #6, Les Complices* Zürich, The School of Kyiv – 2nd Kiev Biennale, Kunstpavillion Innsbruck, amongst other places.



NEPN included in new ‘Culture in the City’ book

‘Culture in the City is a celebration of the cultural transformation that Sunderland is experiencing in both its cultural confidence and capacity, showing it as a place where creative people want to produce great art and culture for a population who increasingly wish to enjoy it. It shows that culture, in all its diverse forms, makes Sunderland a better place by enriching people’s lives, providing greater opportunities for its children and young people and enhancing its image and reputation.’

Edited by Paul Callaghan, 2017.

Excerpt available Photography In The City

Available HERE 


Michael Daglish reflects on his attendance of Singapore International Photography Festival, October 2016

In October I was given the opportunity to visit Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF). This opportunity came in the form a travel bursary via NEPN, supported by Arts Council England.

DECK Gallery, Singapore 2016

I applied for this opportunity as I wished to further explore a longstanding interest in methodologies of approach to conceptual photography, with regards to an international stage.  The perceived audience of photographic work – their cultural backgrounds and presumed knowledge base is, more often than not, fixed within the artist’s own personal understanding. This can at times struggle to translate within their own local and national contexts, so how does this play out on a world stage, crossing multiple cultural divides?  There was also the other massive potential for personal development expanding my network far beyond its current reach.

I arrived a couple of days before the official opening of the festival as I had booked onto a workshop with Boris Eldagsen. I wished to see how Eldagsen used his slightly bizarre method of approach using in camera trickery to deliver his story. I was also drawn to the fact the he refers to his images as poems.

Through the time spent on the workshop, I was able to learn the technicality of process around Eldagsen’s images. He showed us how to adapt his process, building a layered narrative into each image, whilst making the viewer question what it is they are actually seeing. He describes his method as, photographing a black cat in a black room with the lights turned off. His work shows us a post-truth; an experience that steps beyond the realm of reality, into that of the unconscious mind.

Image by Michael Daglish created during Boris Eldagsen, Hijack the Night workshop Singapore 2016

I saw Eldagsen present his work on three separate occasions to three different audiences. What I really found interesting, aside form the work, was the manner in which he addressed each audience. He was showing the same work, but became very adaptive in his description of the work, processes and methodologies used. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it really showed me how a piece of work can sit on many different levels, making it accessible to a much larger audience. When considering my own practice this certainly gave me an insight into approaches to presentation and appropriate language/conceptual use with regards to audience.

Boris Eldagsen Lecture at Nanyang Technological University, 2016

SIPF itself had work situated it both galleries as well as public spaces. The vast majority of open call work could be seen either along one of the MRT lines (similar to the tube) or on and in shipping containers at the Open Plaza of the National Library Building.

SIPF Open Call, Open Plaza, National Library Building 2016

The opening night of the open call show proved to be an excellent opportunity to build networks with the artists exhibiting, as well as visitors and and curators alike. One of the great things about the way the festival was geographically programmed was that as you moved between shows during the week you inevitably bumped into people you have previously met at openings. This made for a small community feeling and helped to strengthen connections that had been made.

Donna Chiu, Somewhere Only I Know @ Rochor MRT Station 2016

Opening night of Daido Moriyama: Prints & Books from 1960s-1980s @ Deck 2016

Aside from visiting SIPF whilst in Singapore I was able to see a number of other established and still establishing parts of the art scene. What really blew me away was the sheer size and scale of the scene held within such a small area. I visited two of the universities, one as guest shown around the whole site and the other as a member of the public visiting their gallery spaces. What was immediately apparent was the high level of equipment and facilities, as well as the freedom offered to the students to truly explore their own practice. Students are also given spaces to exhibit and grants and bursaries are made available for research and production.

The exhibition I saw at the Praxis Gallery of ICA Singapore LASALLE College of the Arts was an excellent example of high quality exhibition space being used to show student work made possible through a large multi-student practice-based travel grant.

Christabel Ngoi Moving Thoughts 2016 @ Praxis Space, LASALLE College of the Arts

Nanyang Technological University offered a very similar format to that which I’m used to seeing in the delivery of its photography programme. As I found out later in my trip, this format of teaching and acceptance of photography as conceptual art is not common practice in this part of the world.

I did meet two ex students of Nanyang, Lavender Chang and Noor Iskandar. Both had been chosen to exhibit as part of The Singapore Art Show. This show is programmed by Helutrans, an art transportation company, in their permanent gallery space to the side of the warehousing facility. This ‘virtuous circle’ is a perfect example of giving back which seems common practice in Singapore, a company making it profits from the transportation of art works in turn investing in emerging artists.

Noor Iskandar discussing his series How Dust Floats 2016

Lavender Chang, one of the artists exhibiting at The Singapore Art Show, also offered to show me Gillman Barracks. Gillman is an area given over by the government to be used an arts village, housing both artists studios, galleries and offering a meeting place in the form of cafés and restaurants. The scale of it is truly outstanding as is the quality of the work produced and exhibited. It really does offer a very freeing space in which an artist is able to think, create and explore. This space does also help to give an understanding of what we could have here in Sunderland with the development of the creative quarter, all be it on a smaller scale.


Entrance to Gillman Barracks

 I didn’t only visit the multiple galleries and art spaces around Singapore as a viewer, but I also carried around with me a portfolio of my own work, showing it to whoever was willing to take a look. This process was at times brutal, hearing things I really didn’t want to hear, having work repositioned far outside of the context I had originally intended. This re-contextualisation of the work by those viewing it did however help me to understand the differences in showing work to an Eastern audience as opposed to a European one. I was able to further understand the subtleties in image reading and how the influences of Chinese painting with its large blank spaces for breathing translate across to the production and reading of photographic images.

This said I did also take a lot of positives from showing my work, and will use the advice I was given to further develop projects, as well as re editing projects for presenting in portfolio format.

After spending time with artists and curators from around the world discussing the art and photographic scene within an Eastern context, referencing it back to compare and contrast against European contexts, I found there to be a number of differences when considering audience and their engagement with the work. Most obviously the idea of photography as conceptual art is still in its infancy in Singapore. Galleries like DECK and Mizuma are doing a lot to help position work in this way, as is the teaching now taking place at Nanyang and LASALLE. Teaching within Singapore has tended to work very much along the lines of the American formula, with photography being a technical tool rather than an artistic practice. This has its benefits in raising the production values and technical level of work produced. A number of lecturing staff are now coming from a European academic background and bringing this to the young emerging artists such as Lavender Chang and Noor Iskandar.
Magazines like Voices of Photography attempts to cross this divide being produced in Taiwan by Lee Wei-I. Although a small independent publication it has an international level of respect for the work it publishes and the manner in which it disseminates. Then there is Daniel Boetker-Smith with the Asian Pacific Book Archive. Daniel takes work from around the Asian Pacific area worldwide. Allowing artists to show work in places it would not otherwise be seen. It also gives international viewers an insight into the work produced in this area of the world, setting context whilst showing themes of exploration.

The experience as a whole left me with a greater understanding of the international photographic art scene as well as a much wider and diverse network of contacts. This will without doubt assist me as I push both my own practice in the future as well as the students I work with.

I’d like to thank NEPN and Arts Council England for making this possible. I’d also like to thank Gwen Lee from DECK for welcoming me, Ang Song Nian, Lavender Chang and Alex Supartono for their invaluable local knowledge which assisted me on my whistle stop tour.

Michael Daglish, Photo Courtesy of Lavender Chang

Michael Daglish was one of two selected photographers of the DEVELOP International Travel Bursaries 2016.

This initiative is designed to encourage photographers based in North East England to engage with the international photographic community and to take a pro-active approach to developing their practice and their networks.  The Bursaries are supported by public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Michael is a visual artist based in Sunderland. He is interested in the experiential aspects of being. The work he produces looks at the phenomenology of human experience, questioning our interactions with those around us as well as the environment we inhabit, be it momentary or long lasting.  Aesthetically his work sits within an area of construction. Although not always fully produced, it acts as a temporary intervention within a space.


Karolina Maciagowska reflects on her attendance of Landskrona Foto Festival 2016

Landskrona is a relatively small Swedish city but aims high in photography.  This year’s festival featured everything from exhibitions, an international seminar, artist talks, outdoor installations to portfolio reviews, photo book fair, guided tours and film screenings. The majority of exhibitions and lectures were held at the institutions like Landskrona Konsthall (art gallery), Landskrona Museum and Landskrona Theatre. In addition there were exhibitions in Landskrona Citadell, small galleries and empty shops premises.

When you think about a photo festival – you generally think about the theme. This year’s festival curators: Christian Caujolle and Jenny Nordquist have chosen not to develop the theme and allowed the criss-crossing of expressions through the confrontation and coexistence of different opinions and approaches, creating an ambitious platform encouraging audience to think about the image and its current issues, transformation and development. Another aim was to present photography which has rarely or never received any attention in Sweden. The Festival featured over 150 artists, lecturers and curators from all over the world, including internationally acclaimed Cat Phillips and Peter Kennard (kennardphillips), Joan Fontcuberta, Elina Brotherus and SMITH, Cristina de Middel, Jason Larkin, Tomasz Kizny and Dominique Roynette, Fred Ritchin and many others.

Wonderful Occupations, Svetlana Khachaturova

International Seminar and The Great Terror

Fred Ritchin speaking at the International Seminar ‘How Digital Consumption is Changing our Perception of Memory’

Landskrona Foto Festival started on Friday morning with an International Seminar: Media Consumption and Memory Loss in a Digital Age, hosted by Lars Mogensen – a freelance journalist and a radio producer, interested in social affairs, culture and philosophy. Through analysis and experiences in the fields of photography, media and communications speakers questioned digital technology, how it changed photography, the world, the concept of time related to the huge number of pictures which flow incredibly fast through the networks, notions of memory and history. The seminar was followed by a discussion with speakers. During the seminar Fred Ritchin, Dean and also founding director of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at ICP, shared his views about challenges and possibilities implicit in the digital revolution and how digital consumption is changing our perception of memory.

Tomasz Kizny speaking about ‘The Great Terror’

Tomasz Kizny, acclaimed photographer, journalist and researcher studying the history of crimes under the communism, spoke about the collective image of a society in time of terror.  In the years 2008-2011 Kizny worked on The Great Terror 1937-1938 project in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, dedicated to the memory of victims of crimes against humanity. Crimes were committed between 1937-1938 in former USSR, where 750 000 people were killed within a period of 15 months. The Great Terror exhibition, curated with Dominique Roynette ,held at Landskrona Citadell, was divided into three parts and included portraits of terror victims taken by NKVD before the execution, contemporary photographs of the sites of executions and graves and portraits of victim’s descendants, all accompanied by multimedia pieces (slideshows, sound and video).

The Great Terror at Landskrona Citadell, Tomasz Kizny and Dominique Roynette

Who? A dialogue between Elina Brotherus and SMITH (Dorothée Smith)

Elina Brotherus at the Landskrona Konsthall

SMITH (Dorothée Smith) at the Landskrona Konsthall

This exhibition was curated by co-director of Landskrona Foto, Christian Caujolle and took place at Landskrona Konsthall, featuring work on the theme of identity from two prominent European female artists. The work of both artists was shown side by side, creating a dialogue between them which. The exhibition really opened my eyes to the tension between the work and the power of the visual medium; questioning the possibilities of expression, reflecting on appearance and disappearance, past and future.

Photo Salon and Karolina Jonderko, Lost  

Swedish newspaper Helsinborg’s Dagblad teamed up with the festival to present the ‘Photo Salon’ open call – resulting in displays in various locations, including shop fronts in Landskrona’s city centre. Selected photographers who sent their submissions were invited by photographer and curator, Nygårds Karin Bengtsson, to exhibit their work in full.

Karolina Jonderko, Lost

Polish artist Karolina Jonderko presented Lost – a series of photographs which portray rooms and interiors that have been left untouched, sometimes for many years, after their owners have been reported missing. This incredibly moving project was divided between two parts – photographs were accompanied by a slideshow, which included images of letters ‘addressed’ to each missing person written by their family members (polish+english translation). Lost was a part of a group exhibition entitled It’s so Hard to Live Without You.

AgNO3  – Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden

AgNO3 at Landskrona Museum

If you ever wondered what happened to the cameras taken to the Moon, what allows scientists to conduct a research on rare collections of insects or how criminals should be pictured to be easily recognised or you are generally interested in the use of photography in science and research during past 150 years, AgNO3: Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden is definitely a must-see exhibition (showing at Landskrona Museum until 29 January 2017).   Photographs, video and multimedia installations and objects accompanied by text, which added a further dimension to the viewing. All items were carefully arranged and displayed across 12 rooms, creating 30 stories based on a variety of themes including: medical experiments, photographs of crime scenes and suspects, museum objects reconstruction process, military authorities documentation, planning and project design of the Stockholm metro system, Finnish population research, photographs of nature and birds or video records of birds and bats movement studies.   One of the presented objects that caught my attention was modified Hasselblad 500 EL which has not been taken to the Moon, but used by the astronauts for training purposes in Houston. All thirteen cameras used on the Moon between 1969-1972 were left there to minimise the weight of the space capsule on the journey ‘home’. Astronauts brought back the exposed film rolls only.

AgNO3 at Landskrona Museum

AgNO3 at Landskrona Museum

Worth mentioning is also Joan Fontcuberta’s ‘Science and Friction’ exhibition (Landskrona Museum), at which artist presented three bodies of work: ‘Herbarium’, ‘Hemogramas’ and ‘Lactogramas’. In ‘Herbarium’ photographs of non-existent plants are presentes in a context of a scientific research. ‘Hemogramas’ and ‘Lactogramas’ were created without the camera. Artist made negatives by deposing drops of blood or milk onto transparent glass slides. Specific scientific instruments and tools are presented next to the photographs as an important part of all installations.

Joan Fontcuberta, Hemogramas and Herbarium

About the experience

 I always thought that photo festivals are only for established artists – and I was wrong. I would encourage every emerging artist to look for opportunities which may be part of international photo festivals – whether it is a portfolio review, book dummy award submission, Photo Salon (open call) or simply networking (those great chats during the photo book fair!). I have gained some very valuable insight through the festival and ways that photo festivals are being curated. I had a great opportunity to discuss artwork and get an advice from internationally acclaimed artists, lecturers and experts. It helped me to understand how artists are working on their projects and exhibitions, what may interest or influence curators, how curators work with the archival materials and objects, discover new ways to engage the public, how empty premises can be turned into mini art galleries or how artwork can be presented (for example in a form of an outdoor installation).

And finally… Thank you!

I would like to thank Arts Council England, University of Sunderland and NEPN – Amanda Ritson, Dr Carol McKay and Jemma Gibson – for their hard work, enthusiasm, energy and fantastic Landskrona Foto Festival opportunity, which was an absolutely mind-blowing experience.

Karolina Maciagowska was one of two selected photographers of the DEVELOP International Travel Bursaries 2016.

This initiative is designed to encourage photographers based in North East England to engage with the international photographic community and to take a pro-active approach to developing their practice and their networks.  The Bursaries are supported by public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Karolina is a fine art photographer and video/multimedia artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Karolina’s work brings together imagery and text inspired by the imagination and memory and the depiction of real objects, situations and ordinary moments. Her images are carefully constructed records created by observation and an ongoing investigation of the world and her surroundings.

The editing within her grid installations is crucial to her work and the final results are never left up to chance, aiming to lead the viewer into finding the extraordinary within the mundane and discover the visual poetry of photographic language.


Video of ‘Joseph Swan and Photography in Sunderland’ event

Nat Wilkins of Canny Productions produced this smashing film which gives a sense of the mood and magic of our Joseph Swan and Photography in Sunderland event which was held in February in partnership with Breeze Creatives.  Our Victorian Athenaeum evening combined ‘learning and entertainment’, with photographic talks, demonstrations of old and new photographic processes and work by photographic artists Karolina Maciagowska, Andy Martin, Lucy Carolan and Richard Glynn of The Lostness Club and students of the Northern Centre of Photography.

Most people know Joseph Swan as the inventor of the incandescent light bulb. But he was also a photography entrepreneur and businessman, with connections far and wide. We’re celebrating this story in Sunderland, the town where he was born and grew up and where he encountered photography for the first time.

The event formed part of a collaboration between Breeze Creatives and Sunderland BID who presented three events in the Athenaeum Building on Fawcett Street, Sunderland as joint-winners of Sunderland’s 10×10 project connecting cultural and commercial partners.  More on the event here

Shahidul Alam: Kalpana’s Warriors 1 Dec 2017 – 11 Jan 2018

NEPN and Breeze Creatives will be presenting an exhibition by the acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam during this Autumn’s Freedom City 2017 celebration.  In this powerful installation, Alam explores issues of racism, social injustice and civil war in his study of the disappearance of Kalpana Chakma.  The exhibition will open on 1 December 2017 running to 11 January 2018 at Level II Gallery, Bamburgh House, Newcastle upon Tyne.  There will be a talk by Shahidul Alam and reception event on 8 December from 6pm.

Kalpana Chakma was a vocal and charismatic leader who campaigned for the rights of indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area of Bangladesh. She was abducted from her home at gunpoint 20 years ago by a military officer and two members of the Village Defence Party and has never been seen again.

Kalpana, who was just 23 when she was abducted, had made it her life’s mission to campaign for the rights of the indigenous people living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), known as Jumma people. She belonged to the Chakma or Pahari community, and was a leader of the Hill Women’s Federation.
The conflict in the CHT, which has been described as “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” began around 1977, soon after the Bangladesh state came into being and continues to this day in spite of a peace treaty negotiated in 1997 between the state and the Jumma people.

There have been multiple reports of human rights violations, massacres and the razing of entire villages by Bangladeshi forces.  According to Amnesty International, allegations are met with indifference by corrupt officials, or by official reprisal. Following damning reports by Amnesty International and other human rights concerns, the Bangladesh government has placed restrictions upon the Jumma peoples speaking with outsiders (restrictions which do not apply to the Bengali population in the region)

The portraits of ‘Kalpana’s warriors’ – those who have refused to let go of her memory and legacy – were created using laser etching on straw mats. This innovative technique, developed specifically for this exhibition, is rooted in the everyday realities of the people and the sparse conditions of Kalpana’s home where she slept on the floor on a straw mat.   Alam wanted the portraits to be burnt onto the mats to remind the viewer of the fires deliberately set by the authorities who had burnt the Pahari villages – something that Kalpana was protesting about in her last confrontation with the military.

The laser device is also commonly found in Bangladesh’s garment factories, notorious for their poor working conditions after tragedies such as Rana Plaza, where more than 1,100 workers died in 2013 when a factory collapsed.

I have never met Kalpana Chakma, I only knew her in terms of her activism but I feel I know her in other ways. I have sat on her bed, read her diaries, spent time with her family, and I have looked at archival footage of her talks. But more importantly, I have felt her presence among the people who survive

Because of the situation of the workers, a laser device which is used in the garment industry being appropriated for something like this was for me very apt, because I think as artists we need to appropriate the spaces, we need to turn things around. It’s guerrilla warfare and in guerrilla warfare you have to use the enemy’s strength against them, which is what we are trying to doI wanted the process itself to deal with the politics.’ Shahidul Alam 2016.

The exhibition was curated by Rahnuma Ahmed, Shahidul Alam, Saydia Gulrukh, Sadia Marium and ASM Rezaur Rahman in partnership with Drik, Bangladesh and is presented by NEPN and Breeze Creatives in partnership with Autograph ABP.  Supported by Arts Council England, DRIK Picture Library Bangladesh and the Northern Centre of Photography at the University of Sunderland.

Part of Freedom City 2017 – a city wide programme across Newcastle marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University.  Freedom City 2017 is a partnership between Newcastle University, Northern Roots and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Image credit: Kalpana’s Warriors installation at Rivington Place 2016 (c) Zoe Maxwell, Courtesy Autograph ABP.



Sunderland Photo-Walk

BBC Get Creative Weekend - Sunderland 8 April 2017

To coincide with BBC’s Get Creative weekend, Sunderland is hosting a Get Creative day on 8 April 2017 and NEPN is organising a Photo-Walk open to photographers of all abilities.

Join photographic and participatory artist Nicola Maxwell on a walk around Sunderland to explore the overlooked in our urban environment.
Bring your own camera – compact, SLR or mobile phone – or simply come along for the conversation.

More information including booking HERE

#GetCreative #Sunderland2021 #SunderlandPhotoWalk

A Collective Endeavour: A Discussion with Document Scotland

The Granary Gallery, Dewar’s Lane, Bridge Street, Berwick upon Tweed, TD15 1HJ
Saturday 6 May 2017, 1.30pm-3.00pm

As part of the current exhibition at The Granary Gallery –‘Beyond the Border: New Contemporary Photography from Scotland’, Berwick Visual Arts in partnership with NEPN invites Document Scotland to explore the motivations, benefits and responsibilities of working collectively in the age of individualism.

We will be joined by Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Sarah Amy Fishlock of the collective who will present their own photographic work and discuss how working collectively can amplify the social and political impact of photography and its reach.

Free, but places are limited and must be booked in advance, via

Programmed by Berwick Visual Arts in conjunction with the exhibition Beyond the Border: New Contemporary Photography from Scotland(11 February – 14 May 2017) at The Granary Gallery.

Beyond the Border is an Impressions Gallery Touring Exhibition curated by Anne McNeill together with the Impressions Gallery.

 Image: Jon Richardson, known as Gaius Iulius Raeticus, Glasgow (detail), 2013 ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / courtesy Impressions Gallery


Portfolio & project peer mentoring for early and mid-career photographers. 

The Granary Gallery, 2nd Floor, Berwick YHA, Dewar’s Lane, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 1HJ

Saturday 6 May – 10.30am-12.30pm  SPACE AVAILABLE 

Berwick Visual Arts in partnership with NEPN and Document Scotland invite early and mid-career photographers from North-East England and the Scottish Borders for a portfolio and project mentoring session.

The session will provide critical advice in a supportive and informal environment. Bring along your portfolio or work in development in physical prints or on laptop to discuss with fellow photographers and artists and members of Document Scotland, Berwick Visual Arts and NEPN.

There is a maximum of 6 participants for this event and an application process in place. Applicants should submit 1 page (max.) artist statement, including brief description of the project or work they would like to discuss, biography and a link to their work. Please submit applications to: by 5pm on Thursday 4 May.


Photographic Residency and Exhibition: Song-Nian Ang

NEPN & Northern Centre of Photography at the University of Sunderland are delighted to welcome Singaporean artist Song-Nian Ang to Sunderland in March 2017.

Song-Nian will undertake a short residency, hosted by NEPN and the Northern Centre of Photography and will have access to the full range of chemical and digital darkrooms and facilities of the centre.  Song Nian will also present a work in progress exhibition at the University’s Priestman Gallery, 1st Floor Priestman Building, Sunderland which will open with a talk from Song on Monday 27 March, 6-8pm.  The exhibition continues to 28 April.  

In Sunderland, Song-Nian will be developing an iteration of his project ‘Hanging Heavy on my Eyes’ which explores the visualisation of air pollution, using the daily average recordings of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) over a period of time to inform the production of silver gelatin prints, with each work responding to an individual day’s statistics.  In Singapore the work recalls the artist’s experience of discomfort and the unease of reduced visibility, the abstract nature of the work both referencing the hidden impact of forest fires and the ‘haze’ caused by this.

Song-Nian’s visit is supported by Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), University of Sunderland and Arts Council England.

Song-Nian Ang (b. 1983, Singapore) works with found materials and traces of human behaviour, seeking to make them visible through photographic documentations and installation. Intrigued by the representation of thoughts and ideologies through visuals, he employs a microscopic approach to concepts and narration.  His recent exhibitions include Hanging Heavy on my Eyes, presented at DECK as part of the Singapore Biennale 2016 (, Unearthed at the Singapore Art Museum, Engaging Perspectives at the Centre for Contemporary Art (Singapore). He has exhibited in the Photo Espana Festival (Spain), Lianzhou International Photo Festival (China), Dali International Photo Festival (China), Gallery Jinsun (Seoul, South Korea), Hanmi Gallery (London) and the Institut d’Estudis Ilerdencs (Lleida, Spain).

Song-Nian’s works has been awarded the Winner for Photography in the Noise Singapore 2012, selected for the top 30 finalists in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in both 2011 and 2014, eCrea Award (Spain, 2010) and honourable mentions in Magenta Foundation Flash Forward (UK, 2010) and Association of Photographers Awards (UK, 2010). In 2012, he was awarded the International Graduate Scholarship for his graduate studies at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.  Song Nian is represented by 2902 Gallery.

Priestman Gallery, Priestman Building, University of Sunderland is open 9.00am to 9.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 6.30pm on a Friday.  The building will be closed Friday 14 and Monday 17 April. 

Image: Ang Song Nian, Hanging Heavy On My Eyes, installation at DECK, Singapore ©Marvin Tang




Beyond the Visible: Contemporary Visualizations of Loss, Illness and the ‘Unseen’ in Representations of the Family

Image: The Family Curse, Natalie Laydon 

23 March 2016, 1.00pm – 6.45pm, The Northern Charter, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QE

The Northern Charter  & The Family Ties Network in association with NEPN present a study day which will consider how photography is being used to create visual conversations around the lived experiences of illness, loss, medical conditions and the ‘unseen’ within representations of the family. Photography is a difficult medium when it comes to photographing something that is not always visible. The particular visual strategies adopted by the artists explore a range of approaches for circumnavigating the challenges this presents.  Their work raises questions as to how we see (or don’t see) these lived experiences. More than this, through their exploratory visual strategies, such practices are asking if it is possible to perceive – and therefore understand – such experiences and conditions differently?

As well as talks by our speakers, a range of graduates and current students of the Northern Centre of Photography, University of Sunderland will be showing portfolios of work that connect with the day’s themes. There will also be a chance for informal discussion and dialogue around this important subject.

Rosy Martin, Arabella Plouviez, Sophie Ingleby, Sarah Tulloch and Marjolaine Ryley

Chairs: Nicky Bird and Carol McKay

Venue: Northern Charter, 5th Floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle, NE1 6QE

This is a free event however booking is essential HERE 


1.00–1.30pm           Register  / Folios on View

1.30                   Welcome

1.45-2.15           Sophie Ingleby

2.15-2.45           Arabella Plouviez

2.45-3.00          Chaired Q & A with Nicky Bird

3.00-3.30       Break / Folios on View

4.00-4.30          Marjolaine Ryley

4.30-5.00          Sarah Tulloch

500-5.15            Chaired Q & A with Nicky Bird

5.15-5.30        Break / Folios on View

5.30-6.15           Rosy Martin

6.15-6.45           Chaired Q & A with Carol McKay

6.45-7.45         Drinks and an informal launch of ‘Image Object’ by Sarah Tulloch and ‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea’ by Marjolaine Ryley will follow the main event. All welcome.


Speaker Biographies

Rosy Martin

Rosy Martin is an artist-photographer, psychological-therapist, workshop leader, lecturer and writer. She explores the relationships between photography, memory, identities and unconscious processes using self-portraiture, still life photography, digital imaging and video. From 1983, with Jo Spence, she pioneered re-enactment phototherapy. She has exhibited internationally and published widely since 1985. Her work has explored issues including gender, sexuality, ageing, class, desire, memory location, urbanism, family dynamics, shame, health and disease, bereavement, grief and reparation. Recent publications include essays in ‘The Photograph and the Album’ 2013, ‘Phototherapy and Therapeutic Photography in a Digital Age’ 2013 and ‘Ageing Femininities, Troubling Representations’ 2012. Recent exhibitions include: ‘Focus Photography Festival’ Mumbai, 2013, ‘Il Corpo Solitario’ Perugia, 2014 and Peltz Gallery London in ‘Family Ties: Reframing Memory’, Tate Britain, 2015-6 and Stills Edinburgh, 2016.

In ‘Too close to home?’ Rosy will examine the challenges she faced in attempting to represent her mother’s dementia. Then the task of ‘curating the museum of sources’, somehow finding visual strategies to reflect her grief and sense of losses as she faced dismantling the family home, alone. In ‘Acts of Reparation’ she used the process of re-enactment phototherapy to replace her parents, in their home and honour the memory of who they had been.


Sarah Tulloch

Graduating from Bristol School of Art and Design with First Class Honours in 2005, Tulloch was then awarded the UWE/Spike Island Fellowship 2006-7 and a Small Wonders Award with Picture This. In 2009 Tulloch gained an MFA with distinction from Newcastle University. She has exhibited in the UK and internationally including Rotterdam International Film Festival, Berwick Film and Media Festival, Plus Arts Projects, London, Motorcade/Flashparade, Bristol, Spike Island, Bristol, Baltic 39, Newcastle upon Tyne and Bergby Konst Centre, Sweden. The series, ‘Newspaper heads’ was shortlisted for Jerwood Encounters: Family Politics. In 2015 Sarah was commissioned by New Trust Arts to make a three channel video installation at Biddulph Grange Gardens, Stoke. Sarah is currently working with Daylight books on her first artists’ book ‘Object Image’. Forthcoming exhibitions in 2017 include Platform A gallery, Middlesborough and The New Bridge Project, Newcastle with fellow artists Annie O’Donnell and Katy Cole and a solo show at The Bonnafont gallery, San Francisco.

For her talk Sarah will discuss the work Object Image which interrogates both the material fabric of the image, the object, and the image content of the photographic subject.


Sophie Ingleby

Sophie is a portrait and documentary photographer based in the North East of England. She is currently working on SEED: images exploring fertility treatment. She has an MA in Photography, with distinction, from Sunderland University. Her first body of work Known/Unknown was exhibited in a solo exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2010, and led to being selected as an Emerging British Photographer by the Canadian Publisher Magenta in 2011. In 2016, She was selected for the NEPN DEVELOP Award. Exhibitions include: Flash Forward ‘Emerging Photographers’ Flash Forward Festival, Boston, USA, 2012 and Toronto, Canada, 2011; ‘Known/Unknown’ Aberdeen Art Gallery, 2010, ‘Works of Revelation’ Vardy Gallery, Sunderland, 2010 and ‘Renaissance Photography Prize’ Mall Galleries, London, 2010.

Sophie will discuss S E E D a photographic insight into fertility treatment. The project explores different aspects of IVF through a series of portraits, conceptual photographic works and documentary imagery from Newcastle Fertility Centre at LIFE. The work aims to increase awareness and understanding of fertility treatment.


Arabella Plouviez

Arabella is a practising photographer whose work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally. Her work involves the combining of image and text to visualise ideas and challenge the expectations of the photograph, working with different communities. Specifically, her work has explored areas from mental illness and criminality to the representation of women and, more recently, Alzheimer’s disease. Alongside her practice, Arabella writes about photography, often in collaboration with her colleague Dr Carol McKay. This work includes the co-editing of the book ‘The Versatile Image: Photography, Digital Technologies and the Internet’ 2013, looking specifically at the role of photography in the networked world. Arabella has, with colleagues, been instrumental in setting up NEPN (, a regional photography development and research agency, which encourages and engages the development of debate around high quality, critically engaged photography. Arabella is Professor of Photography and Academic Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, University of Sunderland.

For her talk Arabella will present ‘Alzheimer’s: A Quiet Story’ which considers how, through the confusion of Alzheimer’s disease, the everyday becomes out of reach, the immediate gets lost and the individual works hard to understand the confusion of others. This work takes a domestic environment which has been lived in for a lifetime and the medium of photography which we so often use as our memory to explore some of the ways in which our brains get lost through this illness.


Marjolaine Ryley

Marjolaine Ryley has exhibited and published her work both nationally and internationally including exhibitions at Impressions Gallery, Bradford, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, The Palacio des Artes, Porto and Wolverhampton Art Gallery, West Midlands. Publications include ‘Villa Mona – A Proper Kind of House’ Trace, 2006 and ‘Growing up in the New Age’ Daylight, 2013. Ryley’s recent publication ‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea’, NEPN, 2015 explores the often invisible experience of miscarriage through photography and creative writing. This project was funded through Arts Council England and was undertaken in collaboration with The Miscarriage Association Charity where she undertook a year as their Artist in Residence. Ryley is currently working on a new Arts Council Funded project ‘A Gardener’s Daughter’ in collaboration with Dilston Physic Garden, NGCA and The National Trust, exploring the relationship between gardens/plants and health/well-being.

Ryley’s work is held in the collections of the V&A and Serralves museum.

For her talk Marjolaine will discuss the development of her work ‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea’ which examines the ways miscarriage and pregnancy loss have been explored (and ignored) in arts and culture.



Dr Carol McKay is Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Photography at the University of Sunderland and Programme Manager of the North East Photography Network. Carol led the team that recently won the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence at the Higher Education Academy for NEPN’s work with the Northern Centre of Photography.

Nicky Bird is an artist whose work considers the contemporary relevance of found photographs, and hidden histories of specific sites, investigating how they remain resonant. In varying ways she incorporates new photography with oral histories, genealogy, and collaborations with people who have a significant connection to the original site, archive or artefact. From 2007, her work has become increasingly preoccupied with the themes of photography, archives, land & narratives of placemaking. These narratives often include the ‘unmaking’ of place whether through economic decline and regeneration.


The Northern Charter is a space for contemporary art in Newcastle upon Tyne. The Northern Charter is an artist-led organisation and we provide spaces for artists and art organisations to make, show and curate contemporary art.
The Northern Charter is based in Commercial Union House in Newcastle city centre. We have created thirteen workspaces and a project space within this purpose built office building. The Northern Charter is developing a public programme of events that will support and encourage thinking and talking about contemporary art. Our project space is a large and flexible creative space and will be used for performances, talks, screenings and other events.

The Family Ties Network is a research group of artists, filmmakers and writers who explore memory, space, place and the family in photography and moving image. Through events, conferences, exhibitions and publications, they aim to investigate a range of issues, encompassing the visual representation of family memories, the family album, oral history, bereavement, displacement, estrangement and the family home. Co-ordinators of The Family Ties Network include Dr. Suze Adams (University of the West of England), Nicky Bird (Glasgow School of Art), Jacqueline Butler (Manchester Metropolitan University), Rosy Martin (Independent artist/researcher), Lizzie Thynne (Sussex University) and Dr. Sally Waterman (Ravensbourne, London).