Being Here – A photographic exhibition by eight community groups in Manchester
Manchester Art Gallery
Until July 8
STAR RATING: 5/5
Having worked with one of the groups involved in this exhibition, I know that the efforts that have been put into bringing it to life are almost as impressive as the work on display in Manchester city centre.
That is not to say that the photographs at Manchester Art Gallery aren’t good: they are absolutely brilliant! But the concept and the ideas that have come out of this exercise are nothing short of inspired.
One of the things that inspired me most was that every photograph shows what a diverse and multicultural city Manchester has become.
Even though several photographs show poverty and hardship, you walk away feeling a sense of euphoria that Manchester is a happy, lively city and the people who live there are glad to be a part of it.
Six of the young people I work with – at Work Solutions’ e2e centre in Longsight, Manchester – formed one of eight groups who took part in a community arts programme, taking photography of their everyday lives.
They were assisted by professional freelance artists, as part of eight community workshops commissioned by the photography network, Redeye.
Many of the young people on the course had no formal training in photography, but quickly took to it with a little encouragement.
The results of months of hard work is the exhibition, Being Here, a series of hundreds of pictures taken by groups as diverse as e2e, a parents’ group in Moston, asylum seekers from the Women’s Electronic Village Hall, and groups of older residents.
The pictures are shown on three large plasma screens in an exhibition room in the impressive Mosley Street building.
The photographs taken by the young people include images in and around Longsight, at home with their families, and on holiday. Many of them are truly original.
Being Here is free to enjoy, and promises to be a must see for anyone who lives locally or visits Manchester city centre.
Pauline Blackshaw is an e2e tutor for Work Solutions in Longsight.
● Being Here is on at Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL until 8 July. Telephone 0161 235 8888.