Engagement Programme: Our Time, Our Place

Alongside the touring exhibition, Craig Easton: Is Anybody Listening?, the University of Salford Art Collection is delighted to present Our Time, Our Place, an engagement programme aiming to raise the aspirations of young people within the region.

Our Time, Our Place, took place at each exhibition venue and additionally Blackburn, seeking to empower young people to discuss current issues, explore their own history, and share it through pathways in photography and associated practices. 

Photography by Claire Griffiths

Our Time, Our Place was developed in response to consultation in Summer 2022 with young people engaged by Salford Youth Service. 62% of consultees said they wanted to participate in a programme that enabled them to capture their world through photography.

“Fundamentally, this project aims to instil pride and inspire communities to shed a new light on their heritage through photography. Craig Easton is one of our valued alumni and to have him on board for this project is very exciting. Together we hope to empower marginalised voices to explore their own social history through a lens.” Lindsay Taylor, University of Salford Art Collection

Our Time, Our Place has equipped young people with the skills and understanding to have pride in, and recognise the value of, their own heritage, seeing it as something worth preserving and developing the confidence to document it from the inside out – giving a louder and rooted voice to the people that make and represent ‘place’. The programme enabled engagement with young people from high school students to new graduates, to interns and mentees looking to further their careers.

Through dedicated workshops, young people from Salford Youth Service, Whitby High School, and Pilgrim Art Centre developed the skills to explore their heritage and identities. As part of Our Time, Our Place, the young people were invited to respond to Easton’s work on display across the North West and to exhibit their work within their communities and alongside Is Anybody Listening?

With the aim of championing and supporting young talent, Our Time, Our Place included a mentoring programme with Craig Easton for emerging photographers. Meeting regularly together over the course of a year, Easton shared his expertise and knowledge with six photographers nominated by each of the tour venues. Through this peer network, each photographer has created new work. They presented work in progress as part of the Northern Eye Festival in Colwyn Bay in autumn 2023 and displayed their final work alongside Is Anybody Listening? At the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead.

Additionally, the engagement programme commissioned new work in response to Is Anybody Listening? from three graduating students of the University of Salford. The students developed their work in response to the themes of Thatcher’s Children and Bank Top, exploring

Text: Our Time, Our Place

At the outset of the programme, Craig Easton said: “I believe in the importance of committed documentary photography as a visual record of our social and cultural history. As such I’m excited to be part of the Our Time, Our Place programme to encourage and support young people across the region to find their own ways to express their concerns, examine our ever-changing society and explore our communities. I hope that between us all we can make work that will, for years to come, stand as a historical record of the challenges we face in 2020s Britain.”

Is Anybody Listening? Our Time, Our Place is presented by the University of Salford and generously supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.