Study visit review: Hull City of Culture

There were 8 of us, Garrie, Lynda, Barry, Jayne, Nik, Mike, Rob and Myself. We met in the foyer of Ferens Art Gallery, picking up the second edition of the Turner Magazine to read later.

We then made our way to Rosalind Nashashibi’s film installation ‘Vivian’s Garden’ about the relationship between a mother and her daughter in Guatemala. We discussed the use of light and dark, inside and outside space, the relationships of and between animals and humans, and memories.

We then looked at Lubaina Himid’s work on the stage and on the walls. We discussed the connection between what she added to Guardian newspaper articles and the more you viewed her work the more in-depth meanings you found.

We moved on to Andrea Büttner who brought in a curated set of photographs with text by Simone Veil entitled ‘The Most Dangerous Disease’ on loan from the Peace Library/Anti-War Museum of the Protestant Church of Berlin. The images spanned the 20th century and brought together many well-known photographers, useful references for our studies.

Lunch and further lively discussions were held in the café before we moved on to Princes Quay and the photographs of the HIP International Photography festival.

Wristbands and day passes were even cheaper at £2.50 which we collected from Space 1. Some viewed the Lomography Wall and discussed cameras whilst Lynda, Nik and I discussed the Spaces of Sanctuary by Brigid McConville and Joanna Vestey, a new exhibition.

There had been a Spaces of Sanctuary Debate earlier in the day and we learned that women who had not yet been given refugee status were not allowed to have healthcare during their pregnancies, during birth or afterwards. If they did so they would be charged £9,000 – even if their baby died in childbirth – money which they would not have.

It can take up to 5 years to obtain refugee status and only then be entitled to help. As a consequence there were many back street clinics. There were postcards of the images and we were asked to donate what we felt appropriate for helping the women.

Quote from the back of the postcards:- “The images tell of how women have sought sanctuary in the UK after fleeing from trafficking, rape, child marriage and other attacks on their rights. All women, whoever they are, wherever they come from, have the right to safe, respectful and dignified care in pregnancy and birth. Yet in England, Home Office policies and NHS regulations mean that women’s rights are being systematically violated, putting refugee and migrant mothers and their newborns at risk”. We were told that those who were asking for asylum were not able to go on English language courses until they had been on benefits for at least 6 months. This would not help them to integrate into our society. This made us thank about what goes on in the country that is hidden from view, even from those who work in the area concerned. Are there other hidden horrors?

Next we moved on to the next space for Dougie Wallace’s Harrodsburg. We discussed his images and how he went close up to rich people and photographed them whether or not they liked it. Was this morally ok? We then compared his work to Martin Parr’s and felt that Parr’s was broader and more about the times rather than to show up the rich. Wallace’s book about people looking like their dogs was also on show. Some of us found images we could use to reference, like on a mobile for social identity.

Great Briton’s of Photography curated by Peter Dench followed.

We were informed that although Dench chose the images, the order they were hung in was decided by someone else. The number of images per author varied.

Peter Dench also had his own exhibition Dench Does Dallas.

Having seen his Alcohol and Me last year I was surprised to see how this differed. There were some urban city images which I felt I could reference and we all commented on the coloured can and feet (the HIP fest advertising image) large images as effective.

The In and At Exhibition is from a group of international photographers who spend time in another country and take photographs. Nik kindly took photographs of the information on the authors as they had temporarily run out of copies.

Maite Basterra used alternative processes for her work.

We then relocated to Waterstones, mostly for hot chocolate before going our separate ways home. We concluded that we had a good day out with lots to think about.

If you are interested in running a student led study event visit OCASA’s website here.

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