Plane Materials; Exhibition at Brighton Photo Biennial

In 2014 Nathaniel Pitt was invited to curate our exhibition as part of Brighton Photo Biennial 2014.   Plane Materials was a Grain and Photoworks co-commission featuring an exhibition of new works by Cornford & Cross and Andrew Lacon. In the exhibition the artists explored the dialogue between photography and sculpture. Lacon’s studio based practice draws on historical documents and photographs from the Library of Birmingham’s archive that are specifically concerned with Roman antiquity and the framing of photographs of Roman sculpture. Cornford & Cross work differently, a non-studio based practice, they create work through discussion and debate, positing different conceptual ideas.

The Plane Materials publication is now available from GRAIN and Nathaniel Pitt and was published by the Library of Birmingham.

Plane Materials exhibition
Plane Materials exhibition

Newfotoscapes; Research partnership led by Jonathan Shaw

In collaboration with Jonathan Shaw and Coventry University, and developed as a research partnership Newfotoscapes is a multi-platform book.

The publication looks at how photography has never been a more dominant and embedded part of contemporary culture than it is now.  Newfotoscapes seeks to navigate the evolving topography surrounding the image in the twenty-first century, offering a focused eye on the contemporary creative author-curator and image-maker and on the possibilities afforded by an increasingly complex professional landscape.  Newfotoscapes is a series of curated texts by Jonathan Shaw arising from a series of in-depth conversations with 10 key stakeholders in, and influential commentators on, photography; including: Andy Adams, Charlotte Cotton, Dewi Lewis, Mishka Henner and Stephen Mayes.  Perspectives and views cover a wide range of topics such as photo-books, archives, mobile, community, value, curation, appropriation, power, open education, connected/networked image, governance, licensing and the agency.
For more information go to


Mining the Archive; Exploring the Intentional & Unintentional Archive

Grian was awarded one the AHRC funded CATH (Collaborative Arts Triple Helix) Projects, by the University of Birmingham and the University of Leicester.
The project developed investigated the shifting value of photography between the archive and the audience’s engagement with it.  Whilst photographs continue to be curated and commissioned by cultural organisations, living collections are also being actively produced by wider demographics and archived on the Internet in a variety of ways. The culmination of these activities is arguably represented on the one hand by the intentional ‘public archive’ and, on the other, by the unintentional, ‘people’s photographic archive’ online.

Mining the Archive explored the different intentional and unintentional archives and was a collaboration with the University of Birmingham, The Swarm and the Library of Birmingham.


National Photography Symposium 2014

We were delighted to host the National Photography Symposium during 2014 in collaboration with RedEye.  The event consisted of  three days of presentations, panel discussions and talks, covering many of the issues facing photographers and the sector today.  Speakers included David Drake, Paul Hill, Simon Roberts, Fiona Rogers, Peta Murphy-Burke, Francis Hodgson, Christian Payne, Stephen Clarke and Val Williams.

Lucy Hutchinson; Artist In Residence

Set for An Academic -  press image - Lucy

















Following her acclaimed exhibition in New Art West Midlands at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Lucy was awarded the residency by Grain and Turning Point West Midlands in 2014.

The residency provided an opportunity for the artist to make new work in response to the photography collection.  Following a period of research the artist chose to work with a unique Victorian carte de visite archive that has certain resonances with her own artistic concerns.  Lucy is interested in the construction of class and her study of the carte de visite portraits enabled her to see first hand constructions of Victorian class, status and taste.

Lucy is a Fine Art graduate from Coventry University and is based in Birmingham. As a result of the residency Lucy exhibited the new work at the Library of Birmingham and at Croome Abbey.