Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Oldham Road Photography Workshops 2009-11

A Sense Of Place

This photography workshop is designed to encourage you to think about and comment upon the place where you live from how it looks.

As we grow up in the family home or when we move house, we develop a range of skills to help us orientate ourselves around the area we live to help with practical needs such as going to school, shopping and visiting friends but principally to help us avoid getting lost. While making these regular journeys our observations and experiences help us develop a sense of place. This 'sense' can be constructed out of certain markers such as buildings or favourite places for meeting friends or just odd things like personal touches that people have done to their houses or front gardens which give the area an individual flavour.

As you grow older things start to change both in terms of your own relationship to the area and also through outside influences such as redevelopment. This can be quite unsettling, particularly if it involves you being moved and re-housed.

Increasingly councils and housing agencies are particularly keen to include local wishes regarding how these proposed changes are made as this helps to avoid the worst aspects of 'big brother knows best' scenarios which have sometimes produced places that have since been found hard to live in and maintain.

This project is designed to help you make images that explore aspects of your relationship to this area which might otherwise be hard to describe. The idea is for you to think about what it is that helps you have that sense of place and then give you the opportunity to make photographs about what are the good and bad aspects that you see.

As an introduction, we will be looking at some earlier images that I made during the mid 1980's which may help give you ideas as regards how you might apply your own experiences to this project. I hope you will discover how useful images can be in helping jog our memory regarding how things change.

The workshop has a number of digital cameras that you can use and advice will be given as regards how to use them. You can use your own camera if you wish but you will be encouraged to work in pairs to help you plan your strategies and make your pictures.

If you would like to participate in one of these workshops please get in touch and I will add your name to the list. It would be helpful to have a few details such as which area between Manchester and Oldham you live. Also if you are already part of a local group activity, we could design a project that would include other interested members and be more directed at your specific interests. My participation is funded by the Arts Council England, Gallery Oldham and New East Manchester.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Today I visited the Groundwork project offices in Castlefield, Manchester and met up with Georgie Brown, the senior project officer for neighbourhood regeneration.  We discussed the project and considered ways in which we could work together and plan some group activities. She was particularly keen for me to consider one of her action areas, Clayton Vale, an area of open parkland that divides Newton Heath with Clayton. This could provide an opportunity for local inhabitants to make photographs on a number of themes to do with how they interact with the area. Some parts of this area have been redeveloped including the removal of an old power station which was still standing in the mid 1980's but which has now been replaced with the Sport City Velodrome which borders Philips Park.
Later on spent some time exploring the area now called New Islington which borders the area leading into Manchester on the Piccadilly side.  It was interesting looking at some of the new architecture that has sprung up including a Will Alsop building that borders the Ashton canal. The building has text written on it which suggests destinations along the canal.  There is also a new estate nearby which has a very modern Dutch appearance - this was planned and built with proper consultation with the Cardroom residents who chose a plan proposed by FAT (Fashion, Architecture, Taste).
I shall add some images when processed.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

These shops were photographed by Robert Galeta in 1974.  When he took them he was aware that they were unlikely to survive for much longer.   He was right, some of these shops had gone by the time I did my survey 10 years on.  They now look very evocative of the time and show individual style.  Some of you may remember them from your youth.  

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

June 23

Here are some images that were made back in 1985/6. I have included a photo of the front gate to the Manox dyeworks because through a recent discussion with Rebecca Day and Ian Ilstone at Adactus Housing, I heard mention of the Blue Pigeon Group who makes reference to this works that no longer exists. Who are these men standing outside the gate?

Monday, 22 June 2009

I'm wondering if anyone has some information on this now empty building. It is in the Miles Platting area near the Rochdale Canal.  

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

June 17

Visited to Gallery Oldham to meet up with Sean Baggaley to discuss how I might progress the project from the Oldham end.  He has offered to send me details of people to contact regarding various ongoing projects and activities along the road and proposed that we set up another meeting with staff at the gallery who work on education, archive and community initiatives.  I'm hoping that they will be able to suggest contact groups and individuals who I could possibly liaise with to help get me started.
While there I also went upstairs to look at the historic panoramic photograph (a glass plate joiner) of the centre of Oldham showing the early industrial scene including the railway, gas works and coal mine and what are now traditional terraced housing being newly built.  So much detail even by today's standards.  

I have recently been offered access to some slides made by Robert Galetta who made a visit to the road back in the 1960's and photographed the shop fronts along the road.  At the time he was anticipating writing a novel about a fictitional band that was based in the area.  I hope to scan some of them and will publish on the blog.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

June 10

1st visit to the area for some time.  I decided to just drive around for a bit and get my bearings.  My first impression is that there have been so many changes made that it was hard to recognize the place as I remembered it.  Many new houses and more gaps where businesses used to be. Billboard posters filling some of these new gaps but some of the terraces and particular buildings at junctions including the pubs still helped to orientate and remind me of the previous project. 
Visited the New East Manchester offices and met up with Lela Cribbin and Joe Williams (cultural regeneration officers) and we discussed how I might progress my project.  They are providing me with suggestions of community groups and schools for me to contact.  Also have an appointment to meet Rebecca Day next week at Adactus Housing, Miles Platting. I believe they have already been running some photography projects. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

June 9

I have just received funding confirmation from the Arts Council and will now be starting the project.  My first intention is to introduce myself to local resident groups through introductions suggested by New East Manchester and Gallery Oldham.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions. 

Sunday, 22 March 2009

March 09

I have just sent a second attempt application for funding to the Arts Council with the intention if successful of starting in June.  So fingers crossed.