Freedom is for everyone – poem by Nazish Majid

New Focus member Nazish Majid wrote a poem called Freedom is for Everyone inspired by her experience of making the No Man’s Land book. Nazish preformed her poem at the WOW (Women of the World) Festival open mic event and the special Time for Tea event at Impressions Gallery on Friday 1 December 2017. Read her fantastic poem below


Freedom is for everyone

This applies to women too

Time to let women show what they are capable of

Women have the right to choose

Women can decide what they want to do

Freedom is for everyone

These men run off to protect the country

But who is going to protect them

To look after the injured

To look after their pride when they return

That role will fall onto the hands of women

But you must remember they have dreams like anyone else

Those dreams can lead to women becoming many things

It’s up to women to decide:

Whether to join the army

Whether to become an astronaut

Whether to become a photographer

Women can do what they enjoy

Others might not approve

But only you know what you want to do

Only you can decide what you want to do

Only you know your heart desires.



This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme



No Man’s Land – the journey to our publication by Sonal Mistry

Now that the publication has been launched it’s time to rewind and rejoice the journey we have been on for the past year and a half. Through this time New Focus have been on several adventures across the country as well as building a stronger relationship as a team with each other. This project began with Jen, Learning and Engagment Manager and Pippa Oldfield Head of Programme discussing  a potential project with us, about women in First World War. At Firs we wernet sure but after a wider discussion with Pippa telling us more about the stories behing individual images we slowly all became to  love the idea and were really  excited about it and the audience we could engage with it. It grabs your attention and pulls you in to find out new information!

From the first meeting, we then spent time learning about the exhibition ‘No Man’s Land’ and thinking about what we as a team would like to create in relation to the topic. We created a funding video to apply to the  Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots scheme, which we have been very grateful for, during the entirety of the project!! We couldn’t have explored or learnt as much as we have without their support.

Once we knew we were successful with our application, Jen then recruited new members to join in the project and get more opinions involved. The project began!! We gathered information around the exhibition and explored different ways in which the exhibition could help us with our research and project. We got the chance to explore the archives at the Peace Museum in Bradford, The Brotherton Library (The Liddle Collection) at the University of Leeds, and the Imperial War Museum in London. After each visit we reflected on the research found and the photographs and albums we had been given access to about the women photographers.

Once our research trips were complete, the publication planning began. We started thinking about how we wanted to gather all the information we had discovered, and all voted on which photographs we wanted to go in our publication. During this we all kept in mind which aspects would best convey our message and the information we had gathered. Everyone was given a task of collating the research we found and writing short paragraphs about each photographer which would then be used within the publication.

The publication layout and design began!! We had several meetings addressing how we would like the information to be presented and everyone preferred the idea of having more images and visuals to text within the publication. We worked with designer Andy Edwards and we got to choose the colours and the layout of the pages, as well as which photographs were used and the running order of our women photographers. Once we were all happy with the layout and what we were going to present through our design, the publication was sent to Evolution print, in Sheffield!! We got a once in a lifetime chance to see the publication on press and it was incredible!!

The publication arrived at the Impressions Gallery and we were all super excited!! It looks amazing!! All we needed to do now was add the final touches to the publication and then we were ready for the launch. The launch event was amazing and the reception we were given made us all proud and emotional at the same time!!

The journey doesn’t stop there…. we are now in the process of distributing the publication to all secondary schools and libraries in Bradford and will be organising workshops and activities with schools to get them engaged with the publication and the information it contains. The publication will go touring with the exhibition which is exciting and amazing because we will reach a higher target audience and more people will get to see our publication!!

Everyone is super proud of what we have accomplished as a team and the journey we have taken. We set out wanting to bring history into a visual medium through this project and creating awareness as well as learn ourselves about the roles of women photographers in the First World War. We hope you like our publication and the journey we have taken to­ bring this information to life!! You can view a digital version of our publication below.

Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

Publication Launch by Sonal Mistry

The day has come, the day of the official launch!! On the 6th of October team New Focus officially launched our ‘No Mans Land’ publication!! It was such an incredible experience and a great summary to the journey we have been on for the past year and a half as a team!! From the early stages of creating our funding video where the idea of a publication came about, to then actually presenting this amazing piece of design and information to the public was a great achievement for all of us!! We are all very proud of the work and effort that has gone into this project, so being able to officially launch it was amazing for all of us!!

The launch event began with each New Focus member receiving a certificate for their achievement through this project which was presented by Alison Fell who is a professor at the University of Leeds of French cultural history, and the project leader of ‘legacies of war’. Then Anne McNeill the director of the Gallery officially launched our publication!! It was amazing and felt very emotional for us all as the publication includes a part of us all.

As a team we had decided to talk a bit about the project so 3 members of the group, Emily, Asiya and Ione all spoke about different elements and expanded on the journey we have been on together. It was really lovely for us to speak about our personal experiences through this project with New Focus member Ione commenting that “New focus has given her a ‘new focus’, and to her, new focus is a family”. This was quite nostalgic as it brought back memories for the team but also gave an idea of the different journeys we had undertaken to produce this contextual publication.

The launch was brilliant and the response we got from the audience was amazing!! We are all super proud and chuffed that our adventure of creating an unconventional and artistic twist to a history book has had such a big appeal and impact on people, especially our target demographic of 14 years and above. We are all really excited to share our publication with the public. We are going to do this through distributing it to libraries, to all high schools within Bradford and by doing workshops and activities with school children to spread the awareness of the publication but especially the information it contains. We loved how busy the event was, and it was super amazing that Hilary Roberts, who is the curator at the Imperial War Museum came all the way from London for the launch too!!

We are all super happy with how the publication has turned out, but this could have never been possible without the full team at the Impressions Gallery!! We would like to give them a huge thank you for their support and giving us such an amazing opportunity to express our voice and be part of this project. We would also like to thank the heritage lottery fund; as without them this project wouldn’t have excelled, the Peace Museum; who let us explore through their archive, the Liddle Collection which is part of the University of Leeds; the place where we discovered Mary Porter, or ‘fluffy’ as she liked to be called. We would also like to thank the Imperial War Museum, Andy Edwards the publication designer and lastly Evolution Print for doing such an amazing job with printing our publication!! This project wouldn’t have been as successful as it has if it wasn’t for these contributors!!

Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

Evolution Print visit by Sonal Mistry

On the 20th of September team New Focus had an amazing opportunity to go see our publication on press at Evolution Print in Sheffield. We were given the chance to see a couple of our pages being printed as well as, learn about the printing process of ‘offset lithography’ and experience the CMYK method first-hand within the warehouse. When we arrived at Evolution print we were shown round by some of their amazing staff!! We were shown how original artwork and material gets transferred to the metal plates and how the process used to be carried out when the technique was first developed.

Offset lithography is a process which was first considered in 1875 for printing on tin and in 1904 for printing on paper. This is a method used for mass-production printing where the artwork on the metal plates are transferred (offset) onto rubber blankets / rollers and then to the print media which usually is the paper stock. The main difference between this process in comparison to lithography is that the print media does not come into direct contact with the metal plates when transferring the artwork.

The technique takes use of the CMYK colour method, which was amazing to see being used with each individual plate representing each colour. The order in which the plates are used depends on the individual, however at Evolution print they use it as KCMY, therefore the ‘key’ or black is printed first to create the outline for the artwork.

This was such an amazing opportunity for me and will be helpful for me in the future as I am an illustration student, so to be able to get first-hand experience of how printers work and be able to see the CMYK process was wicked!! I have never seen or used the lithography technique before, so it was ace to experience this and learn about a method I could potentially work with in the future. One of the New Focus members Ben said “It was a fantastic opportunity to see the book going to print, and be able to see the final touches from the initial meeting to now the final book”.

During the experience we also got the opportunity to view the concept of ‘halftoning’ which is used with CMYK printing. This is a concept which cannot be seen by the naked eye as we perceive the colour as a block, but when seen through a special magnifying glass you can see the way the colour block is made up of tiny dots representing each colour; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key in the method.

This was a once in a lifetime experience for us and we are very grateful for Evolution Print to have let us come see their warehouse and how they print material. A very special thank you to Evolution Print for printing our publication and supporting us to communicate such an unconventional subject!! We are all very excited to see the final publication!!

Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

Interview on Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB)

We had the amazing opportunity to go on BCB to talk about the project and invite people to the book launch on Friday 6 October 5pm to 6pm at Impressions. This was the first time I had ever been on the radio and I loved it, massive thank you to BCB for inviting us!

Listen to our interview here!

Ione Collins

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

Publication planning meeting – by Sonal Mistry

Following our initial publication planning meeting in May, team New Focus had the opportunity to view a rough flat plan of the publication on the 20th of July. This meeting was focussed on our initial thoughts of the design, with how the pages worked next to each other and how the photographers were placed within the draft. One element that we focussed on, was the look of the front cover, which we had several designs to compare and articulate from.

We had many designs which included layering of text for the title, as well as a simpler yet bold design which we all decided upon. Whilst going through the designs, as a group we preferred the bold pink lettering with a khaki background. Everyone liked how the hot pink stood out against the khaki green as well as the way the colour pink creates a relationship with the Impressions Gallery. We have chosen to use hot pink foil for the lettering which was suggested by Andy our designer, as this will help create more contrast between the colours and in one of the members Megan’s terms will help make the lettering “POP, POP, POP”.

We then went through the flat plan, deciding which layouts we liked and whether the colours worked well. There was a suggestion to use different colours to separate the book; this could be by using different colours for each woman photographer, or keeping to a limit of 3 colours which flowed throughout the publication. Within the draft everyone liked the way orange, green and blue worked well together. These colours had an impact against the black and white photography, and created a bold background which we all liked. We could also use the colour scheme to create a key for the timeline of the photographers we want to include in the publication. For this timeline, everyone liked the idea of having a concertina fold within the book, which you could pull out for teachers to use or it would just fold out of the book.

Next up we looked at the choice of typeface that we wanted to use. Andy used ‘Grotesque No.9’ a typeface which dates back to 1906 which was popular during WW1 and links well with our unconventional subject of women photographers in WW1.

We all really liked the typeface and thought it worked really well for the headings and alongside the imagery. Then we moved onto the feel and overall look of the book. We want the publication to have an old and handmade quality. Some of the members mentioned the photo albums we saw at the archives and how they had torn edges and the texture of the paper was quite rough. This could be something we could try to create with our publication and there was a suggestion of using off white paper stock at 170gsm, which could help create the aged look.

When looking at the draft we realised there wasn’t a big link back to New Focus throughout it. We decided that we need to include the logo on the front cover and that we want to include pictures of the members within the publication. We came up with the idea of having a New Focus timeline as well as the photographers but that might be a bit confusing. Then there was a suggestion of having a separate book which was about the New Focus journey, which involved the process of designing the publication, you could call it a ‘behind the scenes’ styled book.

The last point we discussed is how we want to create an interactive element when we send the publications to schools. There were lots of ideas but some that everyone liked included trying to get schools to take a photo with the publication and use the hashtag to document the photo, and for the feedback, use the question of ‘who is your female idol?’ to get the audience to interact. Everyone liked the idea of using social media because it engages and is used a lot by our target demographic.

We would like to say a special thank you to Andy Edwards our designer for helping us bring this project to life.

By Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme


Publication planning meeting by Ione Collins

Following our visit to London’s Imperial War Museum in mid-May, where we were able to visit both the museum and the photography archive, our meeting on the 18th of May was focussed on choosing which of our female photographers we wanted our publication to revolve around, and which of their photos we found most suitable. We also aimed to begin designing a layout for the pages, using Olive Edis as our template.

We discussed our thoughts on Olive Edis, Florence Farmborough, Christina Broom, Mairi Chisholm, and Elsie Knocker, starting with Edis. One photo that seemed to arouse interest in the group was a photograph showing three different roles in wartime healthcare –patient, nurse, and doctor- which we found empowering because of the rarity of the sight of a female doctor at that time. We found that many of Edis’ compositions were inspired by the great 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and certainly this one in particular which seemed to resemble something in-between ‘The Milkmaid’, ‘Christ in the House of Martha and Mary’ and ‘Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid’. A digitisation of the photo can be found on the IWM website by searching for ‘Q8059’.


Next on the list was Farmborough, whose self portraits we took a particular liking to. We agreed that it was a pleasant change to see the face of the lady we were researching; we were able to feel connected to her and identify with her to a greater extent (see Q107169, Q107166). Many of us wondered why she would have taken self portraits, and one New Focus member Megan said ‘’Well we take selfies!’’. Jen added that perhaps she did it to ‘’hold a memory’’ or ‘’show her pride’’!

We then turned to Chisholm and Knocker, as well as Broom. A mixture of melancholy, heavy, social, exciting, and captivating photographs were chosen, one of particular interest being Chisholm and Knocker’s ‘see-saw photo’, whereby a game of roulette against incoming bullets over the top would be played!

Because of our adoration of these female photographers and their work, we all found it difficult to choose just five photos for each woman; compromises and swaps were made, and Pippa reminded us that ‘’Sometimes you just have to lose your favourite picture’’. Over plentiful tea and biscuits we all came to unanimity and moved on to the designing of the page layout. We considered text contents, text layouts, essays, notes, pullouts, image sizes, positioning, quotes, opinions, stories, and colours and collated all of our ideas to hand over to designer Andy who would help us with the composition drafts.

With the photo content and composition ideas in flow, we are all excited to get cracking on with making this New Focus project the most empowering and inspirational one yet! We’re all incredibly grateful for the HLF’s help and cannot wait until the next meeting!

By Ione Collins

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme