Posts tagged: University of Salford Art Collection

Hybrid Futures Comes to Salford

We are delighted to share that we’re bringing Hybrid Futures, a new group exhibition exploring sustainability and the climate crisis, to Salford, launching in March 2024 at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Bringing together all the work from across the Hybrid Futures project, you’re invited to join us to celebrate the exhibition launch on the 21st of March.

Exhibition Launch: Hybrid Futures

5-7 PM, Thurs 21st March 2024
Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Open to all and free to attend, refreshments provided.
RSVP here:

A prayer room, water and dates will be made available to anyone observing Ramadan. Want to attend earlier? We will be offering a quiet hour ahead of the exhibition launch. Please contact Rowan Pritchard if you would like to attend from 4 pm.

Hybrid Futures is an ongoing partnership project from Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, Touchstones Rochdale, University of Salford Art Collection and Shezad Dawood Studio exploring collective and more sustainable ways of working.

Marking one of the final phases of the 2-year project, the exhibition brings together the new works co-commissioned for Hybrid Futures from Shezad Dawood, Jessica El Mal, Parham Ghalamdar and RA Walden, each exploring universal threats of climate change, informed and inspired by their own perspectives and backgrounds.

Also featured is the wider work of the project including Collective Futures, a test bed community engagement programme and the findings and recommendations of Hybrid Futures’ Sustainability Advisor, Danny Chivers whose work has been integral to the project and the partners.

More to come from Hybrid Futures:

  • Interested in the behind-the-scenes of the project? The exhibition will be accompanied by a national symposium on 10 May 2024, where learning from Hybrid Futures will be shared. Find the booking and full programme details here on Eventbrite:
  • Alongside the exhibition at the Museum, two additional works by Hybrid Futures artists Parham Ghalamdar and Shezad Dawood will be screened at the New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery, University of Salford, to coincide with the exhibition. Part of the Gallery’s art film season – showing works from the University Art Collection with an international focus – Birds or Borders by Ghalamdar screens 18 March – 3 April, and Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben by Dawood screens 10th – 24th April – visit the UOSAC website for full details.
  • PLUS: A new exhibition by RA Walden will open at the Grundy from 20 April – 15 JuneObject transformations through the coordinate of time is a solo exhibition of newly commissioned and existing works. Spanning sculpture, installation, text and moving image, the works in this exhibition mark and measure the passing of time. Drawing on reference points as varied as, quantum physics, the ecological crisis, ancient timekeeping and the life cycle of worms, Walden is asking us to consider time at both a macro and micro level. More specifically, as an artist with lived experience of a disability, RA Walden also uses their work to explore and express non-normative experiences of time. From sculptures made from hacked office clocks to texts that ask who and what defines, ‘work’, Walden’s exhibition also provides a poetic meditation on lives and bodies whose timekeeping does not conform to the supposed ‘norm’.

Find out more about the Hybrid Futures Project:

Visit the dedicated Hybrid Futures Microsite to explore the exhibitions so far, learn more about the artists & partners, and read about the work of Collective Futures now.

Hybrid Futures, a multi-part collaboration focusing on climate, sustainability, collaborative learning and co-production between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, Touchstones Rochdale, University of Salford Art Collection and Shezad Dawood Studio, and generously supported by Arts Council England and Art Fund with additional funding from Henry Moore Foundation.

🔗 Download the full press release here.

Arts Council England Logo
Art Fund Logo
Henry Moore Foundation Logo

Is Anybody Listening? Symposium: Commissioning and Collecting Socially Engaged Photography

Free Admission – Thursday 29th of February 2024, 9:30am

Williamson Art Gallery & Museum

Slatey Road, Birkenhead, CH43 4UE

Our friends at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum are hosting the last leg of the ‘Is Anybody Listening?’ tour, this also includes a thought-provoking symposium on the theme of socially engaged photography.

Craig Easton and Lindsay Taylor at the Craig Easton: Is Anybody Listening? Opening.
Gwen Riley Jones at the Craig Easton: Is Anybody Listening? Opening.
Craig Easton at the Craig Easton: Is Anybody Listening? Opening.

Facilitated by the Culture Lead for Liverpool City Region, Sarah Lovell, the symposium will explore the ethical considerations of socially engaged photography, and ask “What should we be collecting?”

Attending will be the award-winning photographer Craig Easton alongside socially-engaged practitioners and educators Liz Wewiora, Suzanne St Clare, and Gwen Riley Jones.

Expert Speakers include Sarah Fisher (Open Eye Gallery), our own Lindsay Taylor (University of Salford Art Collection), Laura Jamieson (LeftCoast), and Abdul Aziz Hafiz (Blackburn College).

There are limited spots for this event, so make sure you secure your place sooner rather than later!

Is Anybody Listening? Our Time, Our Place is presented by University of Salford Art Collection and generously supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Special thanks go to National Lottery players.

Rowan Pritchard Reflects On Two Years With The Collection

Hi, I’m Rowan and I have been working with the Art Collection for just over two years as a Team Assistant. Now in December 2023, my time as Team Assistant comes to an end.

Trying to sum up the last two years in just one blog post is quite a challenge. Here are just a few ways I’ve tried to summarise my time working with the Art Collection:

  • Over 400 meetings
  • Over 20 exhibitions
  • 41 (now 42!) blog posts
  • 12 major collaborative projects 
  • 1 entire store move

(plus an incalculable number of cups of coffee!)

Here are some snapshots that capture just a few of my standout moments from working with the Collection.

Artist Mollie Balshaw installing their work ‘Depression Day Realness’ 2021 for Theirs, Yours, Ours.
Installing Mollie Balshaw’s work Depression Day Realness, 2021 for Theirs, Yours, Ours.

The many exhibition installs and take-downs I had the opportunity to work on, particularly installing Mollie Balshaw’s garden chair self-portrait for Theirs, Yours, Ours in the New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery back in 2022. I am still quite envious of those flaming socks.

Condition checking prints in the Art Store.
Cleaning the back of a work on canvas with the Museum Vac.

I have loved learning about the nerdier side of collections care, from the agents of deterioration to environmental monitoring and the museum vac. Even a visit from the air quality control man was thrilling in the moment.

A screenshot from Albert Adams: In Context, showing cross sections of paint layers.
 An expressive etching, depicting faceless figures outlined in black against a natural yellowed background.
Albert Adams, Deposition, 1955, Print. Image Courtesy the Artist’s Estate. Photography by Museums Photography North West.

Learning all about Albert Adams through the Albert Adams: In Context project, and digitising so many of his works that they began to haunt my dreams. Alexandra Lawson’s presentation during the symposium diving into her conservation work on one of Adams’ paintings was truly fascinating, and I particularly loved seeing the microscopic layers of paint. And Greg Thorpe’s beautiful blog exploring Adams’ life and work through objects from his archive will stick with me for a long time.

Young people from Our Time, Our Place visit the art store. Photography by Gwen Riley Jones.
Installation view: Some Days I Feel Triangle at New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery. Photography by Gwen Riley Jones.

Working with Gwen Riley Jones and the young people she connected with through Action for Conservation and Salford Youth Service. I was blown away by their confidence and generosity when sharing their thoughts about artwork. They have taught me to be more open-minded in the way I think about artwork.

Accepting the Collection’s 2021 Green Impact platinum award. Courtesy the Enviromental Sustainability Team.
Myself and Gael Dundas from Imperial War Museums at Art Action >> Climate Crisis.

Going Green! Being the Collection’s Green Champion over the last two years has been really rewarding. From stiffy bags (the silver reusable alternative to bubble wrap!) to Hybrid Futures, working with sustainability underpinning what we do, and seeing that work recognised through programmes like Green Impact and the recent Green Gown awards has been fab. Earlier this year I attended Art Action >> Climate Crisis, a two-day conference held by the Gallery Climate Coalition and Whitechapel Gallery; seeing and hearing from the network of people within our sector and beyond who care passionately about the environment and are taking steps to protect it has restored my faith a little.

Installation View: Visibilities at New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery, 2023. Photography by Jules Lister.

It would be completely remiss of me not to talk about the amazing curatorial opportunities I’ve been entrusted with over the past year. Being invited to curate a collection exhibition for the New Adelphi Gallery was a huge honour. It was a daunting prospect choosing from all of the artwork in the Collection, but the work I chose for Visibilities I hope reflects just a little of the brilliant work the Collection has been doing over the past ten years.

Discussing the work selected for Salford Scholars at The Manchester Contemporary. Photography by Sam Parker.
Salford Scholars Team at The Manchester Contemporary 2023. Photography by Sam Parker.

Finally, I’ve still not completed processing Salford Scholars at The Manchester Contemporary, where months of planning, studio visits, and working closely with our partners at Castlefield Gallery culminated in one whirlwind of a weekend. I am so pleased with our presentation at the Contemporary, and working with all of the artists and partners involved was a treat. The Graduate Scholarship Programme really is something to shout about, with over 50 scholarships offered to graduates over the last ten years.

Installation View: Salford Scholars at The Manchester Contemporary 2023. Photography by Sam Parker.
Taking down Salford Scholars at The Manchester Contemporary 2023.

It would be impossible to touch on all of the things I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with while working in the Collection, and I think trying to capture all of the ways it has impacted me is futile as I won’t be able to do it justice. Working with Steph and Lindsay has been an absolute joy and I want to thank them both for being so generous in sharing their expertise and experience with me. I am excited for Sam Parker, the new team assistant who has joined the Collection as a fresh 2023 Graduate just embarking on this journey. Best of luck Sam! You can read his introductory blog and get to know more about him here.

Rowan Pritchard

Dec 2023

Another year of Green Impact success for the Art Collection

Following on from 2021-22 where the Art Collection took home a platinum Green Impact award after participating for the first time in the University-wide Green Impact Scheme, this year for 2022-23 we are delighted to share that we have once again achieved a platinum Green Impact award for our ongoing sustainability efforts. 

Green Impact is a United Nations award-winning sustainability engagement programme, run internationally by SOS-UK. Throughout the year, organisations across the globe work on sustainable actions in the Green Impact toolkit, each worth either 5, 10 or 15 points. 

By completing actions worth over 500 points throughout the year, the Art Collection team has achieved a second Platinum award. Actions undertaken this year have included completing an energy audit with Marta Strzelecka, University Sustainability Engagement Officer and continuing to reduce single-use plastic and make sustainable swaps where possible across our work; swapping out bubblewrap for re-usable silver stiffy bags as recommended by the Gallery Climate Coalition, and continuing to use ecoboard over foamex and vinyl in our exhibition signage and materials. 

Team Assistant Sam Parker holding the Green Impact award in front of two University sustaininability banners.
Team Assistant Sam Parker at the 2023 Green Impact Awards. Courtesy the Enviromental Sustainability Team.
Resuable Silver Bags being used to store artwork rather than single use plastic.

In addition to day-to-day actions, our Green Impact submission this year also included our wider thematic work around sustainability, including the ongoing Energy House artist residencies and the Hybrid Futures programme. 

For our Hybrid Futures work, particularly around the Collective Futures collaborative engagement programme, we were awarded the special Community Action Award. Collective Futures brings together individuals, invited by the Hybrid Futures‘ partners for their perspective on the climate crisis. Connecting around Hybrid Futures’ ongoing activity, the collective is collaborating to explore new ideas, possible solutions, and examples of creative work that has made an impact in local and global communities. With each member able to both bring their interests, experiences, and insights and share the group’s work back out to their communities, the collective is already proving a fruitful site of collaboration and sharing. 

Additionally, Lizzie King was awarded the Student Leadership Award for her work on Sustaining Photography. MA Contemporary Fine Art student Lizzie has co-developed Sustaining Photography with socially-engaged photographer Gwen Riley Jones as an exhibition and programme of engagement for fellow students and the public, showcasing and promoting plant-based alternatives to traditional toxic photographic methods. If you would like to find out more about Lizzie’s work on Sustaining Photography, click here

Lizzie King holds her Green Impact award, stood in front of two sustainability banners.
Lizzie King accepting her Student Leadership Award. Courtsey the Enviromental Sustainability Team.
A photograph of Lizzie King in the University of Salford Community Growing Space.
Lizzie King, Sustaining Photography. Courtesy Lizzie King.

Art Collection Team Sustainability Champion, Rowan Pritchard shares: “Once again we are so pleased to be recognised for our ongoing sustainability work. From day-to-day activity to our overarching thematic focuses, working sustainability has come to underpin everything we try to do at the University of Salford Art Collection. It has been great to take part once again in Green Impact, and to see and celebrate all of the brilliant sustainability work happening across campus.” 

Find out about all of the teams who participated in Green Impact across the University PLUS read more about the Green Impact programme on the University’s sustainability blog, here

New Blogs from Sustaining Photography 🌿

Throughout November, artist Lizzie King and Socially Engaged Photographer Gwen Riley Jones have been sharing recipes and reflections from their project Sustaining Photography.

Sustaining Photography is a project led by Lizzie and Gwen, exploring and promoting plant-based and sustainable alternatives to traditional photographic processes. 

You can read all four blogs, including recipes for anthotypes and 35mm film developer from Gwen and Lizzie and find out more about the project here: Sustaining Photography

Sustaining Photography has been funded by the Salford Advantage Fund and The University of Salford Art Collection.

Sustaining Photography Blog – Why? Lizzie King

Artist Lizzie King shares why working on the Sustaining Photography project is important to her. Lizzie King is a former Graduate Scholar with the Collection, and is currently studying for her MA in Contemporary Fine Art at the University.

As artists, as makers, as creators there is a journey that results in us adopting processes or ways of making.  We take these processes into our vernacular and use them to describe ourselves, to define our way of practising. The list of these words seems endless: documentary, abstract, commercial, photographer, image maker, artist, content creator… and the list carries on. They don’t just define ourselves but how we are different from others. How about the word ‘ecological’ or ‘eco’ or ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ or ‘climate aware’? How does this define a maker? How does this mark a difference between one maker and another? In this day and age should these words really be something we can define or differentiate ourselves on? 

My journey towards using greener processes has been born out of a continual curiosity about alternative photographic processes. Years experimenting with different versions and iterations of caffenol (coffee based homemade developer) recipes showed me the extent that these recipes could be pushed to. The thought of the impact that the standard photographic chemicals were having had never particularly crossed my mind until I started to try to make developers from plant matter.  As I explored the possibilities  of using plants in the creation processes and their unique compounds and properties that make particular developers work so well, I started to think about how working this way was really allowing my work to talk about the environment while also being kinder to the environment. I use these plant based processes because I am fascinated by being able to use a wide range of materials in making my imagery. The experimentation and the time spent outside looking intently at nature brings me joy.   

A photograph shows two green anthotype prints, on a rack,  being exposed to the sun.
Anthotypes for Sustianing Photography. Courtesy Lizzie King.

The United Nations recognises that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. There is clear guidance from scientists that the world (let’s be honest, the world’s riches countries) needs to act now to be able to see a change from the current trajectory. What does this look like for our practices? At the end of the day this is about working in a way that is aware of ourselves, our precarious stance on earth, how we are intertwined with the earth. As Timothy Morton puts it, “We are all burnt by ultraviolet rays. We all contain water in about the same ratio as Earth does, and salt water in the same ratio that the oceans do. We are poems about the hyperobject Earth.” (Morton, 2013) 

Our society has done everything it can to see nature as other to who we are rather than accept the reality that we are a part of nature. Can we really afford as a community of makers to have a small grouping of makers who are ‘sustainable.’ Can we progress to a stage where it is common understanding that everyone’s practice is as sustainable as possible?   

Many people say ‘there is no green way of doing this’, ‘Photography is never going to be sustainable’ and ‘The only way to do it green is to not do it at all’. This is not about stopping making. What I hope you get from this zine is that we have choices. We’ve presented a few options for different processes you could adopt. You can choose to make these your own. They might open up a new creative avenue for you.  You might find that making something using an alternative greener process gives you a new aesthetic that you’ve been looking for or a new way to relate to the world around you. Perhaps these processes aren’t for you but reading this can start to raise the question within your way of working: how can I do this better? 

I don’t think I have ever written a piece of writing with more questions in it, but the fact is we don’t have all the answers. Analogue photography has a long history of toxic chemical output and unsustainable mining from the earth. Digital photography has problems with mass server usage for storing on the cloud on top of the precious materials being mined from the earth to create the high-tech equipment. Being aware is the first step to being able to change our ways. I hope that the future will see makers discover more sustainable ways of producing what we make. This is all about producing what we do but better. 

Sustaining Photography is a collaborative project by Lizzie King & Gwen Riley Jones to connect and engage students at the University of Salford with sustainable photographic processes, using produce from the University’s Community Growing Space. The project is based at The University of Salford and has been funded by the Salford Advantage Fund and The University of Salford Art Collection.

Click here to find out more.

Sustaining Photography Blog – Why? Gwen Riley Jones

Socially Engaged Photography Gwen Riley Jones, shares why she wanted to work on the Sustaining Photography project.

In 2019, The British Youth Council declared the climate emergency the “biggest issue facing young people”. This headline is taken from the Planting for the Planet exhibition, held at RHS Garden Bridgewater in 2022. In this exhibition, I worked with young people from Action for Conservation to explore nature-based solutions to climate change. Through the process of collaborating with, and learning from, a group of young people to make images for the exhibition, my creative practice changed forever.  

We were making work about nature-based solutions to climate change, so I wondered, are there any plant-based photographic techniques? Turns out there’s loads. 

As soon as I started to learn about it – it made total sense – plants create energy using light – they are light sensitive, they contain pigments that adapt and change with changes in light intensity. My mind was blown, I was hooked. 

But what hooked me in deeper was that I could suddenly create photographs in my kitchen at home. The process is safe and non-toxic, even edible, and I could create anthotype paper at home in my kitchen whilst I made my daughter’s breakfast. I’ve been a photographer for 20 years but setting up a home darkroom has always felt like too big a task – for many reasons, not least, toxic waste. 

A participant exploring sustainable photographic methods as part of Gwen’s workshops during Rediscovering Salford.

Perfection in the imperfection. 

It is a parody of the industrial world that in searching for photographic perfection, faster shutter speeds, sharper images – steps towards the sublime – we have created a toxic world. Maybe the perfection is actually found in the imperfections, in these green pictures which will fade to nothing when left out in the sun.  

And from here, well it makes you wonder, if we don’t need to use these harmful substances, why do we? 

So I now work with sustainable photographic processes almost as a metaphor for sustainable practices, sustainable lives. As a way of starting a conversation – if we can do this using only plants – what else can we do using only plants? 

I grew some beetroot, made anthotypes out of the juice, film developer out of the peelings, and pickled the beets to eat for lunch. You don’t need much money and you certainly don’t need perfection. The beauty of this process is in the imperfection, and the accessibility of the practice.  

So we invite you to join us: pick some spinach from the community growing space (but also make sure you join in and plant some more!) make some anthotypes, cook a curry, use the vegetable peelings to develop your film, ask some new questions. 

Share the spoils of your practice with those around you. Put up a picture, pass on a plate of food, share your experience. And let us know what else you decide to do differently.

Sustaining Photography is a collaborative project by Lizzie King & Gwen Riley Jones to connect and engage students at the University of Salford with sustainable photographic processes, using produce from the University’s Community Growing Space. The project is based at The University of Salford and has been funded by the Salford Advantage Fund and The University of Salford Art Collection.

Click here to find out more.

This Weekend – Salford Scholars at The Manchester Contemporary

University of Salford Art Collection and Castlefield Gallery are pleased to share that they will be at The Manchester Contemporary this weekend, celebrating 10 years of partnership on their Graduate Scholarship Programme.

Curated by Rowan Pritchard, Salford Scholars brings together the work of 5 recent graduate scholars Katie Aird, Mollie Balshaw, Jeffrey Knopf, Katie McGuire, and Adam Rawlinson, working across mediums including sculpture, photography, and painting.

A 35mm photograph of a pink flower, that has been scanned and manipulated to elongate and extrude the image.
Katie Aird (2021/22 Graduate Scholar), Entropy, 2021. Courtesy the artist.
An abstracted 3D printed plastic sculpture with a white pearlescent finish, on a small glass shelf against a white background.
Jeffrey Knopf (2021/22 Graduate Scholar), Check Me Bird Out, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

The Manchester Contemporary takes place annually alongside the Manchester Art Fair, and this year runs from the 17th to the 19th of November. The Manchester Contemporary showcases the strength of the UK’s regional artists and galleries alongside key international presentations that can only be seen in Manchester. 

You can find out more about the University of Salford Art Collection & Castlefield Gallery at The Manchester Contemporary here

Sustaining Photography Blog – How to Make Film Developer from Vegetable Food Waste

Want to give green film developing a go?  Here are the instructions for making film developer from vegetable food waste. 

What you’ll need: 

900ml water 

3 heaped tsp Vitamin C (powdered not tablet) 

9 tsp Soda Crystals (Can usually be found in the household cleaning area) 

Suggestions of foods we have used:  

potato peelings 

spinach, ½ romaine lettuce, and  ½ savoy cabbage 

Red onion, tomatoes, broccoli, green bean, cabbage, bananas 

A person in an orange jumper pours plant-based developing solution into a film developing tank.
Behind the scenes with Sustaining Photography. Courtesy Lizzie King.
A photograph shows plant-based developing solutions in jugs, in a sink with a film developing tank.
Behind the scenes with Sustaining Photography. Courtesy Lizzie King.


Step 1: Place vegetable waste in a container with a lid, a mason jar or pan works well. Cover the vegetable waste with boiling water and leave overnight. Or boil the contents like you would for eating.  (If you are making your tea by boiling veg you could just save the water from this and use it in your developing mix) 

Step 2: After 12 hours remove the vegetable waste and keep the water 

Step 3: Add the vitamin C and the soda crystals into your water (Make sure you are doing this in a container that has extra space. When you add them together as it can fizz up.) 

Step 4: Mix well 

Step 5: You can now develop your film as you normally would but using your homemade developer. 

I. For Ilford HP5 we developed for 15 mins agitating continuously for the first minute then once every minute (Check the resources page for a suggestion on where to look for time information for different films)  

II. Then stop bath and fix as you normally would. 

Step 6: It is safe to just pour this developer down the sink as it only contains things you would find in your kitchen! 

Sustaining Photography is a collaborative project by Lizzie King & Gwen Riley Jones to connect and engage students at the University of Salford with sustainable photographic processes, using produce from the University’s Community Growing Space. The project is based at The University of Salford and has been funded by the Salford Advantage Fund and The University of Salford Art Collection.

Click here to find out more.

Sustaining Photography Blog – How to Make Anthotypes at Home

Step by step instructions on how to make you’re on plant-based sun prints from the Sustaining Photography team, Gwen Riley Jones and Lizzie King.

What you’ll need: 

300g of spinach  

A hand blender  

2 x plastic jug  

1 x funnel  

Coffee filter papers  

A sponge brush  

Acid-free watercolour or cartridge paper  

A clip frame  

Some leaves, flowers or petals – or any other object you wish to use  

Or a photographic transparency – you can create your own using digital transfer film and a home inkjet printer  

Equipment for making anthotypes, laid out on a table.
Behind the scenes, making anthotypes with Sustaining Photography. Courtesy Lizzie King.


Step 1: Put the spinach leaves in a large plastic jug and blend with a hand blender until you create a smooth liquid. 

Step 2: Line the funnel with a coffee filter paper and place the funnel on the second jug. Put the spinach liquid into the lined funnel and leave to drip (approx. 30 mins). 

Step 3: Coat your paper with your filtered spinach juice using the foam brush. Allow to dry between each coat – either naturally or by carefully using a hairdryer. Coat the paper 3-4 times.   

Step 4: Assemble leaves, petals, photographic transparencies or any other flat objects you choose on the paper.  

Step 5: Secure the paper and the objects in a clip frame and leave out in direct sunlight, ideally outside, but inside on a window will also work.   

Step 6: Wait. Depending on how much sun you have the images could develop in a matter of hours, or over a few days. Your image is ready when the uncovered areas of the paper have faded to a pale yellow colour.  

Step 7: Open your frame and reveal your print.  

Note: The print will fade if exposed to direct sunlight.

Sustaining Photography is a collaborative project by Lizzie King & Gwen Riley Jones to connect and engage students at the University of Salford with sustainable photographic processes, using produce from the University’s Community Growing Space. The project is based at The University of Salford and has been funded by the Salford Advantage Fund and The University of Salford Art Collection.

Click here to find out more.