Noises in the Blood; Lua Ribeira

Noises in the Blood,  Lua Ribeira
Noises in the Blood, Lua Ribeira












Working with critically acclaimed photographer Lúa Ribeira and Argentea Gallery to exhibit her award winning body of work Noises in the Blood was a wonderful experience and provided an opportunity for audiences to see much of the work for the first time.  The exhibition took place soon after Lua was awarded the Jerwood Photography Prize and just prior to her been nominated to Magnum Photos.

Noises in the Blood is inspired by contemporary Jamaican dancehall ritual.  Made in collaboration with a group of British Jamaican women in Birmingham, Ribeira recreated scenes from dancehall culture at the participants’ homes. By embracing the impossibility of fully understanding this cultural expression so very different from her own, Ribeira playfully dissects the ideas of femininity and sexuality within the performances.   Ribeira does not intend the images to comment on the Dancehall, but to become the ritual itself.

The power of the transformations of the women and the innovation and provocation that they engage, often clash with Western ideas of femininity. ‘Mythological powers, the concept of female divinity and sacredness in Afro-Caribbean culture, were very present in my visual search. Fed by their folklore and my imagination, universal subjects such as birth, love, death and sex are central to the encounters.’ – Lúa Riberia

The title is borrowed from author Dr Carolyn Cooper’s book ‘Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender, and the”Vulgar” Body of Jamaican Popular Culture’. Through Noises in the Blood Ribeira did not attempt to produce a series that reinforced the mass media’s view of dancehall and the female body as a denigration of women.  She did not wish to ignore the display of the participants’ bodies nor their perception of femininity to create westernised versions of the dancehall ritual. Both strategies, she felt, would ultimately fail to acknowledge the complexity of cultural expression.

Lúa Ribeira Cendán (born 1986) is a Spanish documentary photographer based in Bristol. S he graduated in Graphic Design Degree BAU, Barcelona 2011, and with a BA in Documentary Photography from the University of South Wales, Newport in 2016. She was awarded the Jerwood Photoworks Grant 2018, the Reginald Salisbury Fund 2016, Firecracker Grant 2015 and Ditto Press Scholarship in 2015. She has participated in The Independent Air Residency, Denmark 2015, Photo España 2014, Emcontros da Imagem Discovery Awards 2015, Gazebook Photobook Festival 2015,  and ‘A Fine Beginning’, Contemporary Welsh Photography exhibition London 2014 . Her work was selected by Susan Meiselas for inclusion in Raw View magazine’s “Women looking at Women” issue and has featured in the British Journal of Photography.

For the exhibition we commissioned new writing by curator, writer and photographer Colin Pantall, ‘Lose the Noise and you Lose the Meaning.   To read more visit GRAIN Projects website. 


Inverted Landscapes – Camera Obscura; David Bethell

Camera Obscura, David Bethell
Camera Obscura, David Bethell










Having worked with artist David Bethell on two previous occasions it was exciting to invite him to respond to the Peak District landscape and to create a camera obscura.  In his practice David is inspired by the rural landscape and natural environment.   He frequently uses performance, film and photography in his work to animate his installations and sculptures within the location and to explore a narrative.  David worked with GRAIN Projects to create a unique camera obscura for Ilam Park in the Peak District, inspired by the landscape and heritage there and in collaboration with the National Trust.

Ilam Park is a 158-acre country park situated in Ilam, on both banks of the River Manifold five miles north west of Ashbourne, and is owned and managed by the National Trust. The estate includes the remains of Ilam Hall, built in the 1820s.  Nearby, within the village, a Saxon church stands which houses the shrine of a Mercian king.  Most significant is the beautiful landscape, an area of outstanding natural beauty, including Bunster hill just beyond the church and the magnificent example of a picturesque landscape in the foreground.

It is the church that forms the basis and design for David Bethell’s site specific, temporary and largescale work which functions as a camera obscura. Visitors were able to engage and experience the surroundings as an inverted landscape from within the installation.   The commission  captured the pastoral and picturesque landscape and the immense beauty of the position.   David is now creating a legacy plate, inspired by the images captured by the camera obscura and a  Wedgwood plate from the eighteenth century Imperial dinner service created for Catherine II, that featured the same view of Ilam.   For more information read the commissioned writing by Selina Oakes and see


Elalmadinah… To The City; Liz Hingley











In 2017 I commissioned photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley to make new work for exhibition in collaboration with Syrian families.  Through workshops the participants contributed their ideas and stories and Liz explored the city and its collections to create a project that represented how people settled in Coventry and made the city the culturally rich place it is today.

Following a series of collaborative workshops and conversations the new work was a culmination of sculptural works, made by local craftspeople in silver and gold, a display from the historical collections that represented time and ‘keys to the city’ and a series of images in lightboxes.   Exhibited as a contemporary gallery installation in a unique structure in the darkness the work appeared like a place of worship, a space for quiet contemplation.   Representing each of the participants the work reflects on the value and meaning of personal experiences, people’s journeys and arrivals in a new city.

The installation was exhibited at The Herbert Museum & Art Gallery from December 2017 to February 2018.

This project was commissioned by GRAIN Projects and is generously supported by Arts Council England, Rubery Owen Trust, Coventry University and The Herbert Art Gallery.

Settling; Sam Ivin


















It was an enormous pleasure working with Sam Ivin and the Appetite team on ‘Settling’, a new community photography archive in Stoke on Trent.   Sam led workshops with people that have made their home in the city, working with individuals who had moved to Stoke following WW2  and those that were seeking asylum from present day war atrocities.  A diverse range of stories, cultures, memories and visual references were represented.

Following numerous workshops hosted by community groups Sam worked with the team at the Big Feast Festival to curate a small display of people’s photographs.

Photography is part of the people’s  journey; from the places, family and communities they left to their new lives in Stoke-on-Trent.    Sam created an archive of photographs that spoke of arrival, familiar memories and new experiences, bold and brave journeys and extraordinary situations.  The residency took place from June to September 2017 and we are now looking at ways in which we can sustain the activity and develop the archive.


Photography Residency; Sam Ivin, A collaboration with Appetite

Sam Ivin, Sudan from Lingering Ghosts. 2015, Fabrica.
Sam Ivin, Sudan from Lingering Ghosts. 2015, Fabrica.
















Following an Open Call process it was a priviledge to award emerging photographer and collaborative practitioner Sam Ivin the residency in Stoke on Trent, in partnership with Appetite and Creative People and Places.  Saw was appointed to create a new community photography archive and exhibition.  Sam had previously made ‘Lingering Ghosts’, a celebrated project in partnership with Fabrica.

‘Lingering Ghosts’,  saw Sam visit  Sanctus St. Mark’s, a refugee support group based in St. Mark’s church in Stoke-on-Trent.  This body of work, commissioned by Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, saw him working with refugees in all parts of the UK.  Since publishing the award winning and critically acclaimed Lingering Ghosts in February 2016 and exhibiting the work around Europe Ivin has become increasingly interested in the integration of migrants in UK cities.

Sam Ivin is a photographer whose work focuses on social issues and the people connected with them. His pictures attempt to demonstrate the impact situations have on his subjects. By documenting their stories and perspectives he hopes to provide a more personal, tangible understanding of them. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport graduating in 2014.  Since then he has been awarded numerous significant photography prizes including the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award, May 2017, The GMC First Prize, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, March 2017, the Best Graduate Single Image, Runner Up,  British Journal of Photography (BJP) Breakthrough Award 2016 and the Winner of Best Single Image, Human Category at Renaissance Photography Prize 2015.

The project is a collaboration between GRAIN Projects and Appetite, supported by Arts Council England and is part of the Creative People and Places Programme.

Sacred Things; Liz Hingley

Liz Hingley, Dressing for mosque, Soho road, 2009 from the series Under Gods
Liz Hingley, Dressing for mosque, Soho road, 2009 from the series Under Gods

Inviting acclaimed photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley to respond to the Grain Projects Commission Opportunity and work with Syrian families and refugees in Coventry was a fantastic proposition.  Commissioning Liz to make new work for an installation at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, during the City of Culture selection phase, created an ideal opportunity for collaboration.    Having got to know Liz and her work ‘Under Gods’, ‘The Jones Family’ and seeing the results of her work from her time in Shanghai, she was ideally suited for a project that engaged with the community and told a unique story of people and their city.



The Fireside and the Sanctuary: A Collaboration with Mark Wright at Format International Photography Festival

Mark Wright
Mark Wright












Working in collaboration with photographer Mark Wright to present his ongoing project at Format International Photography Festival 2017 and to commission new writing by Gemma Padley and Simon Constantine in the form of a new exhibition and publication.

The work is made with the communities affected by fracking decisions in northern England.  In his work Wright considers the experiences, lifestyles and habitats of the communities affected by policy decisions that will impact on the landscape and their way of life.  Wright has spent time with these communities working on interviews and photography.  Village, rural and agricultural communities are the most obviously affected by national government policies relating to the new gas drilling procedures by giant, global chemical companies.

Mark Wright

Wright’s practice is based upon in-depth research, written material and absorbing himself in a landscape or community.  In the new work fracking is clearly seen, not as a ‘local’ problem but one that gravitates around a central place and a collection of people.  The environmental and social concerns are universal and relevant to all of us.  In his work Wright makes the issues identifiable rather than literal or geographically specific.



Evolution Explored; A Magnum Photos Exhibition

Stuart Franklin, The Natural History Galleries of the Horniman Museum in London. 1993.  Magnum Photos
Stuart Franklin, The Natural History Galleries of the Horniman Museum in London. 1993. Magnum Photos 







Evolution Explored is an exhibition of works curated from the Magnum Photos archive and presented in the public realm in Shrewsbury, from February – April 2017.   The project is a Grain Projects collaboration with Shrewsbury Business Improvement District and The Hive Arts Centre.Acclaimed photography agency Magnum Photos have worked in collaboration to curate an exhibition of stunning photographs made internationally by the world’s leading photographers.

The exhibition will be on show at two locations. The event coincides with International Darwin Day and Darwin’s birthday on 12th February.

The exhibition also links to Magnum Photos’ 70th anniversary which is to be marked by a series of international events, projects and partnerships.

Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative owned by its photographer members. Noted for its diverse and distinctive work, Magnum chronicles the world and interprets its people, events, issues and personalities. It was founded in 1947 by four pioneers, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour.

East Meets West; Exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Armonia by Marta Soul
Armonia by Marta Soul










EAST MEETS WEST is an exhibition of contemporary photography and moving image by 16 emerging artists.  This remarkable exhibition includes works that represent the talent and ambition of artists in the Midlands today.

The artists responded to an open call to practitioners based within the Midlands, or those who have graduated from a Midlands-based University in the past three years.  The opportunity was devised in response to and was required to relate to the theme of ‘Leisure’ – a core theme explored in Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf exhibition at Quad, an installation exhibited during summer 2016.

The exhibition includes an ambitious, fascinating and diverse collection of interpretations, from projects delving into a broad range of ‘leisure’ activities and events including walking, swimming, collecting, drinking and travelling.  The exhibition is a remarkable commentary on what people do today in their leisure time.

The exhibiting artists are;  Jim Brouwer & Simon Raven, Jakki Carey, Theo Ellison, Attilio Fiumarella, Emma Georgiou, Anne Giddings, Daniel Hayes, Geoff Hodgson, Amy Huggett, Holger Martin, Tracey McMaster, George Miles, Marta Soul, Clive Wheeler and Dan Wheeler.

The project is a partnership with Format International Photography Festival, Quad, Derby and GRAIN Projects, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Responding To A Landscape: New Work by Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray
Matthew Murray












For British photographer Murray Responding To A Landscape is a photographic odyssey, an epic series of landscape works made over four years, to be premiered in an exhibition at mac, Birmingham in 2017 and to be featured in a limited edition photo book.  Working in collaboration with Murray to produce and manage this significant project has seen ambitious new works realised that will feature in an exhibition, publication and symposium.

The project exhibited for the first time works made on Saddleworth Moor.  Respresenting pictorial landscape photography, showing both the vastness of landscape and the microscopic detail of vegetation and geology; works that focus on light and texture and pay homage to Dutch seventeenth century landscape painting as well as in some cases appearing biblical and in others apocalyptic and other worldly.  This is a personal series of work, where there is no evidence of human intervention or presence but a relationship between photographer and landscape.   The exhibition and accompanying photobook were launched in November 2017.

Alongside the project I curated a symposium that looked at photographer’s relationship and response to the landscape they photograph, with speakers including Jem Southam and Chrystel Lebas.