18th August 2016 – Rock Against Racism ‘Feed Your Mind’ with Paul Furness

It seems evident that Rock Against Racism was and still remains to be a crucial movement within the UK that aims to stand up against racism. From 1976 to 1981, the movement was gaining more popularity by the second and punk/reggae music was becoming widespread across the UK. But what was interesting to note is how Rock Against Racism had a strong northern following, and the Leeds RAR club was one of the most important and long-lasting. Now this is where Feed Your Mind comes in as Paul Furness, who was significant in running Rock Against Racism in Leeds, talks more about his experience within the movement and also what Rock Against Racism was like in Leeds.

Many people attended the event and for some of the visitors, it was almost as if they were reliving their experience of Rock Against Racism in Leeds as some of them told us how they remember going to the gigs and clubs in Leeds.

What made this event even more special was that the talk was being broadcast live on BCB radio, so that all the local listeners could tune in and listen to Paul’s talk. I was amazed to hear Paul speak about the movement in Leeds as I almost couldn’t believe that this movement had such a big impact on Yorkshire. It was reassuring to know that the Yorkshire people got into the spirit of Rock Against Racism and stood up against racism. But from what Paul had told us, it wasn’t an easy journey. He recalled how Leeds Rock Against Racism were in a constant battle against the National Front and racists and how some of their gigs and clubs would be trashed by members of the National Front. He also spoke about how people who wore the Rock Against Racism badges were in danger from Nazi groups as they would be hassled or even beaten up for wearing the badges – most of them had to take them off for their own safety. It shocked me how Leeds was quite hostile during the 70s and how it was a bit of a scary place to be in. (That’s the complete opposite now.) But despite their struggle against racism, it is impressive that they remained strong and carried on with the gigs and clubs.

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Taking a closer look at some of the memorabilia that Paul has lent, he explained how some of the posters were made by professional graphic designers such as Syd Shelton and others were made by hand by the members. Looking at the posters that were made professionally, graphic designer David King was responsible for the creation of some of the iconic posters for the Anti Nazi League. I know it shouldn’t baffle me when I learn that well-known artists were involved with Rock Against Racism, but it still does. Just to drop in a few more names that might sound familiar, Paul remembered how some of the teenagers who came to the RAR events grew up to do remarkable things. These were individuals such as Damien Hirst and Marc Almond. I can imagine that it must be strange to say that you met these artists when they were younger and were involved in a grassroots movement.

If you’re reading this and you’re wondering what the gigs at Leeds Rock Against Racism looked like, then fear not for Syd came to Leeds and took some photos of the concerts, which can be seen in the exhibition. It is definitely a sight to see such a diverse group of people coming together and Paul explained how there were so many fans pouring out of the countless buses. I suppose one of the many reasons that the eager fans flocked together in Leeds was due to the fact that bands such as Skully Roots, The Specials, The Au Pairs and Piranhas would be there. I still think that it’s amazing but strange that this was happening in Yorkshire.

The talk was concluded with a Q&A and there were some interesting questions being asked. For instance, someone asked Paul what he thought about punk/reggae music and why he got into Rock Against Racism. His answer to the first question was that punk is like a breath of fresh air, wiping away all the stale and pompous music that dominated everything. (I thought that was a great answer!) For the second question, he answered that he joined the movement because he wanted to fight back against racism and to this day he can’t understand who benefits from racism, and I thought this was a really good because racism is just another aggressive form of bullying, and nothing is really gained from it.

One question, which I thought was really interesting was when someone asked Paul if we are seeing a similar rise of racism like the UK did during the 1970s and this individual also commented on how young people nowadays aren’t as passionate as they were during Rock Against Racism, that they’re not as willing to stand up against racism. This is a question that is almost asked frequently at the gallery from passing visitors as they comment on the situation with the EU and how it is uncanny that Rock Against Racism almost mimics what has happened now. (Hopefully we’re not seeing a repeat of the 1970s.) Paul’s response to this was that racism hasn’t really vanished, it’s just morphed into something different. But despite that, he explains how he feels that Rock Against Racism is such a colourful movement in a monochrome society of racism.

And from a personal point of view, I would argue that us young people are still passionate and would definitely stand up against racism. If they don’t believe me, then they should take a look at the students up at the university.

15th July 2016 – WOW (Women of the World) Think in at Kala Sangam

The WOW festival is certainly something to go wow over as it is celebrating women all over the world from different backgrounds for their achievements. It is usually held in Southbank Centre in London but recently it has been on the move around the world. This time round, it’ll be held in Bradford for the next three years, and this year it will take place in November 11 to 13. To mark the official beginning of WOW in Bradford, Impressions Gallery had the honour of hosting the event, which attracted more than 100 people from different organisations and backgrounds.

In getting ready for the festival in Bradford, WOW are holding ‘think in’ sessions where women and men are welcome to attend and to share their opinions and ideas with other organisations. The main aim with these sessions is to bring together some amazing ideas that could shape some incredible events for the festival.

From seeing how successful the official launch event of WOW was at Impressions Gallery, myself and Jane Hiley wanted to attend the ‘think in’ session so that we could get a better idea of what organisations would be involved and also to see what the session would be like (neither of us have been to a session like this before.) It was held at Kala Sangam and it was hosted by Evie Manning, who also participated in Citizens of the Word. It was great to see so many women attend from different organisations and they provided some really insightful opinions and ideas for the WOW festival.

For instance, we met a community group called ‘Womenszone’ and they run a variation of activities for women to participate in and to help women who are struggling with the language barrier. It was amazing to hear how women who have been depressed or alone felt welcomed in this community group and it was reassuring to know that there are groups like this out there in Bradford.

By the end of the session, the room was just brimming with so many ideas for the festival, I just hope that Evie will be able to remember them all. This definitely made me feel very excited for the festival, can’t wait to see what it will bring when November comes.

The Animated Punk Poster School Challenge

Thursday 30th June 2016 and Friday 1st July 2016 – The Animated Punk Poster School Challenge

As Rock Against Racism is such a fantastic movement that which promotes racial equality through punk and reggae music, it feels crucial that the younger generation of Bradford should be able to connect with the movement in order to get a better idea of how it has influenced society today. One way of doing that is through the power of creativity!

To get the creativity flowing, the gallery invited some schools over to participate in ‘The Animated Punk Poster School Challenge’ and the main aim of this workshop is to show the pupils what it was like back in the 70s in the UK, what it was like to be a graphic designer in the 70s and how racism had become normalized. But instead of simply preaching the message to the pupils, they were given the task of creating their own Rock Against Racism posters, to create posters that reflected on the different meanings of Rock Against Racism and to also reflect on what they have learnt during the workshop.
But wait, there’s more! They’re also able to make a really cool Rock Against Racism photo collage that was brought to life with the help of stop motion animation. The pupils were really thrilled to see their work come alive on the projector screen, I know I’d be thrilled if I were in their shoes.

I was able to help out with two workshops involving Hanson Academy and the Holy Family Catholic School from Keighley and it was really great to see them get into the ‘Rock ‘n’ roll’ spirit. It was also good to see how some of the pupils were already aware about the impact of racism and how it can become mixed up with politics in having an affect on the public. I could see some of these pupils becoming future politicians with how passionate they are about racial equality.

Some of the posters made had some powerful messages and in a way it’s reassuring to know that this is how the younger generation feel about racism. It’s definitely not easy to make a meaningful poster from pieces of newspaper, postcards and magazines.

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Citizens of the Word – Khadijah Ibrahiim presents a lively poetry debate by Asiya Hussain

Saturday 9th July 2016

As a part of the Ilkley Literature Festival and inspired by the current exhibition Rock Against Racism, the Leeds Young Authors presented a lively poetry session lead by Khadijah Ibrahiim at Impressions Gallery. Alongside Khadijah were some amazing poets such as Malika Booker, Evie Manning and Asma Elbadawi who presented their pieces proudly in front of the audience.

It was exciting to see Impressions Gallery being the host for an event like this and I was very eager to see what thoughts and opinons would be exchanged. This session was an open dialogue about the changes in society and how we can make a change. This topic seemed very fitting, especially after the results of the Referendum so I was curious to see what thoughts would be shared. The gallery was slowly filling up with people avidly waiting to get the session started and I always think it’s great to see people who share similar passions get together at events like this.

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The topics that were explored definitely delved into serious matters that have been somewhat sidelined by the media, matters that are too ‘graphic’ to be taken into consideration. In hearing the speakers and members of the audience speak about the seriousness of these topics, it actually made me take a step back and to think about how much I actually knew about these issues happening in society.

For example, there was the discussion about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which I feel remains to be a sensitive topic that many people don’t want to delve into. I have to admit that when I first heard this term and learnt what it meant, I wanted to simply ignore it and hope that it wouldn’t be brought to light again.  But hearing it from the perspective of young poets brought more clarity towards the issue and it highlighted how this act cannot be ignored by society. This appears to be a topic which people are too frightened to speak about, not knowing how to approach it or afraid of learning too much. But this session would destroy those barriers and tackle the issue head on.

In introducing the topic, a short video by studio12.org.uk was played in showing three girls reciting a poem about the barbarity of FGM, explaining how the practice is a form of ‘enslavement of the body … it is male domination over women’ and how it is viewed as ‘a cleansing and purification of the body’. The message was clear, millions of women and girls in the world have been ‘cut’ and something needs to be done to bring awareness to it. I was horrified to hear how this is seen as a cultural practice, it has been ‘normalised’ and embedded into many people’s minds as being an ‘orthodox’ practice which makes it difficult to eliminate as the women who have been ‘cut’ have also been taught that it is necessary.

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The issues surrounding media and identity and stereotypes was also explored and this was very fitting for the current exhibition Rock Against Racism. I feel that these three issues go hand in hand as the media play a big role in the construction of people’s identity and in creating stereotypes around certain ethnic groups. The young speaker Becky read out a poem written by herself about her identity and exploring how her skin colour is seen as being ugly to some. It’s truly remarkable that these young poets read their poetry in front of a live audience and were able to deliver such an amazing message about themselves and society, I don’t think I would have been able to do that!

Looking more closely at media and identity, speaker Asma Elbadawi explained how the media always shows for example, a certain type of Muslim or a certain type of African, their identities already being made for them whilst they remain silent and unheard. To break the cycle of the media misrepresenting people, Asma explained how she combined both her passions of basketball and poetry together and in essence, created her own identity. In addition to this topic, speaker Evie Manning elaborated on stereotypes and how they become an expectation for people, they dictate our actions and restrict what we can and can’t do. From a personal point of view, I agree with how stereotypes have played a role in how society perceives certain ethnicities, that they must behave in this way or act in this manner.

It definitely felt like the topics discussed were reflections of the current exhibition, showing how issues back in the 70s have resurfaced again and need to be dealt with. There was an interesting point made by Malika Booker in discussing the lives of refugees and asylum seekers that was stuck in my mind. She mentioned how the rich are able to move across borders with ease whereas the poor  who are fleeing from war zones are unable to cross borders. For me, this highlighted the struggle of not only the refugees nowadays, but of the migrants from the past who struggled to travel to Britain or elsewhere.

The discussion was then handed over to the audience and to elaborate on the topics discussed. They had the choice of going to a set of different tables that would discuss in depth the topics recently highlighted and to form some sort of solution for each issue. Instantly everyone leapt out of their chairs and dashed out to their tables, eager to discuss more in depth. It was clear that everyone was passionate about the topics discussed and they wanted to meet some sort of solution to it. I don’t think I’ve heard the gallery filled with so many intrigued and passionate voices before!

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In ending the session, Khadijah explained how when she was growing up in Britain, she understood what racism was and she was constantly told in school that she was black and ugly. She explained how she was confused at hearing this as she has never been told before that her skin colour was ugly, only in school did they say this to her. She also grew up alongside Rock Against Racism and instantly fell in love with the movement, hooray! She then read one of her own poems out which was inspired by Rock Against Racism. It was a very fitting way to end the session and she even mentioned how the gallery was the perfect place to host this event, to get inspired by Syd’s photos and to see what the movement was like back then.

Considering that this was the first time I’ve been to a poetry event like this, I have to say that it definitely opened my eyes wider to issues I thought I understood and made me more aware about the changes in society.

Brunch Against Bigotry by Asiya Hussain

Friday 17th June 2016

Brunch Against Bigotry was slightly different to the events that usually happen at Impressions, but it’s still jam packed with amazing insight into the exhibition and the photographer’s aim. As it states in the name, the event was a combination of a brunch and an informal exhibition tour with the photographer behind Rock Against Racism, Syd Shelton.

The exhibition Rock Against Racism revisits a significant moment which altered people’s views towards politics, culture, fashion and music. It was a groundbreaking movement from 1976 to 1981 formed by musicians and political activists to fight racism through music. The photographs by Syd Shelton capture the many moments of Rock Against Racism in all its glory.

Before the brunch had even begun, it was great to see the gallery filling up with a wide variety of people from different age groups and backgrounds and how everyone easily connected with the movement. I think it’s amazing to see how Rock Against Racism is accessible for almost everyone who visits, for those who grew up with it and those who are just learning about it now. You could almost argue that the exhibition is applicable within society today as racism remains to be an underlying problem within society.

You could tell that the majority of people present were very eager to meet the man who has managed to capture such iconic moments in Rock Against Racism. I was excited to hear about the stories behind some of the iconic pieces and to learn more about what society was like during the 1970s.

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It was an informal walk and talk around the gallery with Syd leading the talk and exploring the turmoil that was happening during the 70s.

I was really surprised to hear how normalised racism had become, and how such hatred towards non-white people was almost encouraged by some political groups. From a personal perspective, I was shocked to hear how terms such as ‘paki bashing’ were used very casually and how non-white people were automatically characterised as being muggers or murderers, it was a bit too surreal. It was also scary to hear how the National Front were gaining more followers and power at the moment, that they were becoming very popular amongst the public. (I’m glad it isn’t like that now.)
I also felt inspired when I learnt that the Asian youths of the 70s were also prepared to stand up against racism and pave a way for the new generation of south asian children born in the UK.

But despite the power behind racism during that time, it was reassuring in a way to hear about the great success of Rock Against Racism and how no one even anticipated that it would last for more than a few days. It was great to hear how punk and reggae bands and singers came together and wanted to put an end to the horrendous racial abuse. The photographs really show the explosion of UK reggae and punk combined.

When looking at some of the photos, you can see that there’s a story or a conversation happening between the person being photographed and the photographer. And it definitely sounded like Syd had many interesting encounters when shooting the majority of photos present in the gallery. The photograph with the two skinheads for example was definitely an interesting story to tell. He explained how in order to get some sort of reaction from them, he began to provoke them by saying things like, “The National Front is rubbish.” That definitely got one of the skinheads clenching their fists in anger. I was surprised and amazed at how he didn’t get punched by one of them.

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Skinheads, Petticoat Lane East London 1979 © Syd Shelton, courtesy of Autograph ABP

Another story that I thought was amazing was a photograph of the lead singer from Sham 69, looking back towards the photographer. According to Syd, the lead singer received numerous death threats from skinheads and racists, telling him to stop performing. What is truly amazing is how he ignored these lethal threats, despite being advised not to attend, and he literally burst onto the stage and was met by thousands of fans.

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Jimmy Percy and Sham 69 Carnival 2, Brockwell Park Brixton, London 24 September 1978 © Syd Shelton, courtesy of Autograph ABP

To be honest with you, I could just go on and on with listing all the different stories that Syd mentioned in the talk, like how an eager fan jumped on stage and he managed to capture the shot before being thrown off. I feel that these stories really illustrate the power and determination behind the Rock Against Racism movement and how it hasn’t really faded. It’s actually amazing to see that he’s managed to capture all of these amazing shots, these photographs almost give the digital camera a run for its money. When he explained how it’s almost like a gamble when working with camera negatives, it makes these images all the more special as they were literally captured in the moment, no re-dos or second chances. But despite that, he said that there’s something magical about working with negatives and how there is something special about the abstract nature of black and white photography, how it can take something away but at the same time bring something new into the image.

If you’re reading this so far and you’re thinking “Hmm… I really like the sound of that exhibition!” Then please come over and become enveloped in the punk/reggae atmosphere of Rock Against Racism. And if you want to hear more from the photographer Syd Shelton, then please book a place on the In Conversation: Syd Shelton and Carol Tulloch on the 23rd July, 2.00pm to 3.30pm.

For more information on the exhibition visit Impressions Gallery website here

 

 

Diary of a Gallery Assistant

Hello there and welcome to the New Focus blog. My name is Asiya Hussain and I shall be keeping you updated on the exciting and interesting things that happen here at the gallery. Before we move onto what I do here, let me first introduce Impressions Gallery.

Impressions Gallery is an independent, not-for-profit space for contemporary photography. It’s mission is “to show photography that gets you looking, thinking and talking.”
I am a Gallery Assistant as part of the ‘Creative Employment Internship’, which is a programme by the Arts Council England, supported by Bradford Council, to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector.

I am also a New Focus member as well so I suppose I have the best of both worlds.

14th April 2016 – New Focus Meeting about ‘No Man’s Land: Women’s Photography and the First World War:

This meeting was based on discussing the new project No Man’s Land: Women’s Photography and the First World War, which our Head of Programme, Pippa will be curating for next year.

The aim of the exhibition is to explore gender: to consider what we think of as masculine or feminine in relation to war and war photography. Although most histories emphasise the experience of male soldiers, women were fundamentally involved in the war as well.

This project delves into the elements of war that aren’t well known to the public. This should be a really exciting project for New Focus to get their hands on!
With the arrival of some new members to the New Focus team, discussing the new project went better than I expected. Thanks to the introduction of the project from Pippa and Jennifer, everyone was extremely responsive and they were really eager to get started.
We discussed areas such as the barriers this exhibition might have with the younger people and what would interest young people about the exhibition. As soon as the paper came out to make some notes, all the thoughts and ideas just started pouring out from the team.
The project itself sounded really interesting as it contained some intriguing issues that could be explored from different angles. By the end of the meeting, you could tell that everyone left feeling positive and inspired. Can’t wait to get started now!

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23rd April 2016 – Altered Images: Photocollage Workshop

To get people more in touch with their creative side and to get a better understanding of the exhibition Passion: Maud Sulter, there was a special workshop for everyone to enjoy and get really stuck into it. Inspired by the photocollages in Syrcas by Maud Sulter, we held a photocollage workshop within the gallery space, open for everyone of all ages to come and join and to also get inspired by the current exhibition.

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A photocollage is a work of art created by overlapping various materials that aren’t normally associated with on another, such as newspaper clippings and parts of photographs, onto a single image.

Today was definitely a day to come to the gallery and get creative. The photocollage workshop with Bradford based artist Jean McEwan was met with a lot of positive feedback as quite a few people from different age and ethnic groups came over to take part. There were some really good collages created, some were postcards and others were A4 size, and it was great to see everyone getting inspired and involved.

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This image is very clever as they have managed to combine images that contadict each other but also compliment each other at the same time.

 

27th April 2016 – Tour of Bradford College of Art

Today, myself and some of the Impressions team ventured out to Bradford College School of Art, as we want to have a better understanding of what they have to offer and to hopefully work in partnership with them in the near future. And we’re always looking for new members to join New Focus so it seemed like the perfect location to share some info.

It was really interesting to see the different departments within the Bradford College of Art, and the different facilities and resources they had available for their students. It was also fun to see all the art students working hard on their projects. It was great to see all the different studio and exhibition spaces they had; their photography studio for instance was very impressive, looked almost like a studio fashion shoot.
Personally, my favourite part of the tour was the textile archive in the Old Building. We were able to take a look at some of the art books belonging to students from the 1900s and the quality of work was astonishing. There was one portfolio that was filled with samples of silks and some beautifully embroidered pieces that were just so colourful. It definitely made you feel inspired.

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5th May 2016 – Meeting with the Peace Museum

Following from the success of the New Focus meeting in discussing the new project of No Man’s Land and the different approaches that New Focus can take on it, the next step was to meet up with a potential partner in the project, the Peace Museum. The plan was to tell them about the project and see if they would be able to partner up and if they could contribute something towards it.

From a personal point, it was great to revisit the Peace Museum as I had volunteered there 2 to 3 years ago. Quite nostalgic… The members of the museum who greeted us were extremely friendly and very enthusiastic about the project. They were definitely all for New Focus getting involved with the Peace Museum. They want us to use their archive and that sounded really exciting, you never know what amazing object you could find. Their overall aim in allowing us access to their archive is to make archives in museums more welcoming and accessible for public use.
Some of the objects they had in their archives were really incredible. One of the pieces that we were able to see was some sort of stamping block that had the image of a photograph on the base – the photograph was of a women’s peace group. The image was very intricate.

The meeting overall went very well and hopefully we’ll be working closely with the Peace Museum in the near future!

 

6th May 2016 – Time for Tea

With every new exhibition in the gallery, we set up the special event of Time for Tea. This event is for over 55s but everyone is welcome to come along to the gallery, have some lovely cake, a cup of tea or coffee and to take a look around the new exhibition.

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This Time for Tea event was a little bit more busy than usual due to the glorious weather outside. It’s always great to see familiar faces and also new faces arriving at the gallery and enjoying each other’s company. But I was feeling a bit nervous as I had to help Angela, our Programme Co-ordinator, deliver a short talk about the exhibition. We spoke about the individual projects within Passion, explaining how they all represent the significance of black women in history. I spoke about the projects Hysteria, Zabat and a little bit on the Alba Sonnets. I was just hoping that I was able to remember the key points throughout the talk.
It went really well and the event ended with some creative activities; doing some photocollage work and writing some poetry.
Majority of people present immediately took part in the photocollage workshop, there were definitely some interesting pieces made.

I’d have to say that this was probably our most creative Time for Tea yet! Hope there are more to come.

 

12th May 2016 – The Touring Exhibition Group (TEG) at Impressions Gallery

Today was a very busy day for the gallery as we hosted the event for the Touring Exhibition Group to come together and meet.
Now just a little bit of info about TEG, they are a network of museums and galleries from across the UK and their main aim is committed to exchanging exhibitions as a means on sharing ideas, materials and resources.

In order for them to share their ideas with others, once a year, all the organisations come together at an event know as ‘TEG Marketplace’ and this is open to everyone with an involvement or interest in touring exhibitions.

It’s amazing that Bradford were the hosts for the Marketplace and Impressions Gallery were hosting the first day of it. I’ll have to admit that I was surprised at seeing so many people attend the event; the gallery was just swamped with so many people from different organisations from all over the country. Wow! It was definitely filled with a lot of excited chatter and it was great to see a lot off people attend the event and share their ideas.

New Focus Journey by Asiya Hussain

When you’re in university, college or trying to find work after you’re done with your GCSEs, you’re usually told that you need some work experience to impress the employers or else you’ll never find any work. Seems a bit harsh but I suppose that’s the hard truth in the working world. When it comes to looking for somewhere to do work experience or voluntary work, that’s where it gets a little tricky as you need to know which organisations accept volunteers.

Now here’s where New Focus comes in. Looking back to when I first joined New Focus, I have to admit that as an individual, I have changed dramatically from the skills I’ve learnt and the people I’ve met. Rather than being labelled as the volunteer group within the Impressions Gallery, I feel that New Focus has become its own little entity as the volunteers as able to contribute so much towards the exhibitions and events being held.

There are numerous roles within New Focus that volunteers can apply for as they vary from Events Assistant to Photographer. Even then, it feels like within New Focus your role becomes flexible as you begin to help out with different areas in the gallery – well that’s been my experience of it so far and it’s all been beneficial. From my experience of being a New Focus member, I have gained a number of valuable skills that have become quite handy when working on different projects. For example, projects that involve you working face-to-face with the public requires a certain skill set in treating them fairly and equally and making sure that their needs are met.
New Focus have been involved with a lot of amazing projects that have been connected with past exhibitions and from a personal point of view, each project has been different and brilliant as they all bring in something new (and quirky at times).

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Looking back at some of the projects I have been involved with throughout my New Focus journey, I can definitely say that I was happy to be involved with such creative projects and to have the opportunity in meeting people who are also just as enthusiastic as you are. As blogger for New Focus, the first project that I worked on was the blog posts for the events Artist Talk and Feed Your Mind for the exhibition Beyond the Border by Document Scotland. These were fun to work on considering that this was my first time writing anything for the gallery. But it was also my first time in attending these events so I wanted to make sure I did a really good job with the posts.
It’s fun to write blog posts on the different exhibitions, but it’s also great to have them displayed in a different form – I was able to get my article on the exhibition Realism in Rawiya published in the Bradford Review through the help of Impressions Gallery. May not seem like an impressive achievement for some people, but I took it as being a massive accomplishment for myself.

Along with writing blog posts, New Focus allows you to become fully emerged within the new projects and I feel that the Bradford Video Portraits is a perfect example of this. This project was like a smaller version of The Caravan Gallery’s exhibition, extra{ordinary} Photographs of Britain as it explored the different and wonderful elements of Bradford. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this as we were able to travel around Bradford and hear what the lovely Bradfordians had to say about their town. There were so many hidden gems that were revealed through this project and from a Bradfordian perspective, it was amazing to learn about the new and quirky facts about Bradford. I enjoyed how New Focus took control in deciding on the locations to go to, the dates for the filming and the final editing.

You can take a look at the full video here

New Focus has opened up some amazing opportunities, one of them being the paid post of the graduate internship in partnership with Bradford University. This position has allowed me to build on the skills I’ve learnt in New Focus and to develop them further. It has also allowed me to become more involved with the installation and preparation of future exhibitions, for example, building up the Artist Folder and helping Impressions’ colleagues with collecting valuable artwork for exhibitions. The role of Gallery Assistant has also given me a better and clearer understanding of the aim behind the gallery and how we reach out and work with the public.

There’s also the fun of being able to go to events related to the gallery. The event of ARTIST ROOMS engage Yorkshire Area Group Event: Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy was based on voluntary groups working within museums and galleries in Yorkshire. This was staged in the beautiful and historic building of the Hospitium which is set within the beautiful Museum gardens. I have to admit that at first, it did seem a bit daunting. I was a bit nervous about doing a presentation in front of the many galleries and museums within Yorkshire. Organisations such as Cartwright Hall, Leeds Gallery, York Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture park were present and waiting to hear us speak. (Not scary at all.) One gallery did their presentation before us and halfway through it I was just thinking,”Whoa! This is really impressive. What am I supposed to say?!”

But once we got up in front of everyone and began our presentation, it actually went really well as the majority of the people present were really impressed with the projects we had done. Afterwards, we received a lot of praise for our presentation and it was amazing to see members from different organisations approach us and to say that they were inspired in some way to take a different approach towards their youth groups in galleries and museums.

So far, being with New Focus has brought in a lot of fun adventures. Can’t wait to see what else it will bring in!