Posts tagged: University of Salford Art Collection

New writing on Mishka Henner’s electrifying performance ‘The Conductor’

Two new pieces of writing in response to the debut of The Conductor, a brand new performance artwork developed by Mishka Henner as part of his Energy House 2.0 artist residency. You can now read reviews from Lizzie King and Jack Nicholls for Corridor8.

The Conductor captivated audiences at Sounds From the Other City 2024 by translating live lightning data into electrifying percussion. Set in a reverberation chamber at the University of Salford Acoustics Department, The Conductor is the result of an 18-month artist residency by Henner at the University of Salford’s Energy House 2.0, a cutting-edge research facility that simulates extreme global climatic conditions under one roof to help design net zero and carbon neutral housing for the future.

Dive into the immersive experience by reading the reviews from Lizzie King and Jack Nicholls here:

The Energy House 2.0 Artist Residency Programme is organised by the University of Salford Art Collection in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool as part of the LOOK Photo Biennial, and Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, and generously supported by Friends of Energy House Labs.

Elliott Flanagan’s A Piece of Something Bigger showing soon!

A Piece of Something Bigger officially begins showing in the New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery, coinciding with the University of Salford Degree Show, on Thursday 23rd May 2024!

Flanagan’s film explores contemporary masculinity through the prism of package holiday culture. Flanagan looks at the ideas entrenched in the male gender stereotype that saturated his youth as a way of disentangling himself. Misunderstood and under pressure to conform and perform, he studies a tension from his own experience between one’s own consciousness and social expectation.

As part of the Degree Show opening night the New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery will remain open until 8:30pm, giving you plenty of time to experience Flanagan’s film. More information about the Degree Show here.

If you can’t attend in person, be sure to check out the online showing of the film below, this link also provides you with more information about Flanagan’s film!

Online Viewing : Elliott Flanagan’s A Piece of Something Bigger (2018)

Book now for the Hybrid Futures Symposium in Salford

Hybrid Futures: making, showing and collecting art in a time of climate crisis

Friday 10 May 2024 10.00-16.30

The Old Fire Station, University of Salford & Salford Museum and Art Gallery 

Limited places left – please book here.

Next month, Hybrid Futures: Making, Showing and Collecting Art in a Time of Climate Crisis, will be hosted in Salford. This symposium will see a day of activity and conversation around the ambitious three-year hybrid Futures project. 

What are the environmental issues currently facing museum collections, art galleries and artists? 

Is it possible to make your work more sustainable in the visual arts sector? 

How can arts organisations and their local communities work together to influence change?

Is there the potential to test ideas and new ways of working in order to create a robust and effective model to change the way that galleries should operate in the future?

An installation image of the Hybrid Futures exhibition at Salford Museum & Art Gallery
Installation View: Hybrid Futures at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, 2024. Photography by Jules Lister.

Join us and our Hybrid Futures partners, along with the Hybrid Futures artists (Shezad Dawood, Jessica El Mal, Parham Ghalamdar & RA Walden), commissioners, local authority staff, funders, community members and consultants, for a day of conversation and activity; sharing our learning and exploring together actions our sector can take to create enduring and effective models of sustainable practice for galleries and museums.

You will leave having met like-minded colleagues and equipped with practical knowledge and encouragement to make changes and take action. 

 Book your place at the symposium here.

Speakers & Conveners Announced! 

We’re delighted to share with you some of the names who will be a part of the day’s programming on the 10th of May. 

Speakers and convenors:

Kit Abramson, Collective Futures, Creative Producer; Paulette Brien, Grundy Art Gallery; Rachael Burns, Touchstones Rochdale; Danny Chivers, Hybrid Futures Sustainability Advisor (Gallery Climate Coalition); Helen Cooper, Senior Manager, Philanthropy/Visual Arts, Arts Council England; Claire Corrin, Salford Museum and Art Gallery; Shezad Dawood, Hybrid Futures lead artist; Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor; Mark Doyle, Touchstones Rochdale; Jessica El Mal, Hybrid Futures artist; Parham Ghalamdar, Hybrid Futures artist; Mishka Henner, Artist in Residence at Energy House 2.0, University of Salford; Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery; Rowan Pritchard, Exhibition Coordinator, University of Salford Art Collection; Emily Speed, Artist in Residence at Energy House 2.0, University of Salford; Lindsay Taylor, University of Salford Art Collection; RA Walden, Hybrid Futures artist (via video link), Kate Wafer, Hybrid Futures Evaluation Consultant; Helen Wewiora, Castlefield Gallery.

There is also a Marketplace where you can meet relevant organisations to get the latest information and guidance. Participants confirmed include Museums Development North, The Carbon Literacy Project, LANDS (Lancashire Arts Network for Developing Sustainability), GMAST (Greater Manchester Arts Sustainability Team), University of Salford Sustainability Team, and SPARK.

Want to know more about Hybrid Futures so far? Visit the Hybrid Futures website for more information on the Symposium, the Hybrid Futures partners, artists and exhibitions, case studies & resources. You can also now read all the reflections from the Collective Futures community engagement project. 

Craig Easton : Is Anybody Listening? Commissioning and Collecting Socially Engaged Photography

Back in February the Art Collection team returned to the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum to host a final event for the Craig Easton Is Anybody Listening? and Our Time, Our Place touring programme. The symposium ‘Commissioning and Collecting Socially Engaged Photography’ brought together partners and stakeholders along with artists and participating communities to ask again: Is Anybody Listening? It was a full day of talks from artists and facilitators, as well as audience feedback sessions based around the concept of ‘socially engaged practices’ and their place in the art world.

In the morning, we heard directly from Craig Easton, along with artists/facilitators Liz Wewiora, Poppy Cain, and Gwen Riley Jones; celebrating the work of the young people and emerging photographers that they supported, as well as discovering what impact each project had.

Gwen Riley Jones, Lindsay Taylor, and Rob Fulton enjoying their time on the discussion panel.
Photo credit : Roger Sinek

Stemming from questions that have arisen during the project, the afternoon focused more closely on the ethics surrounding socially engaged photographic practice – from commissioning and collecting through to what is valued, by who – and why? Speakers including Sarah Fisher (Executive Director of Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool), Lindsay Taylor (Curator, University of Salford), Laura Jamieson (Creative Producer, LeftCoast), Craig Easton (exhibiting artist/documentarian), Gwen Riley Jones (socially engaged photographer and Creative Director of Stockroom), and Rob Fulton (Youth Work Manager, Salford Youth Service) each presented a response to the question:
From the spectrum of socially engaged photographic practice, what should we be collecting?

The panel went on to answer questions about what evidence there was that our audience are interested in socially engaged photographic practice, whether we are omitting an important part of art history by failing to collect socially engaged practice, and how we might begin to think about recompense for those co-authoring the work; this led to a very engaged and thought-provoking debate amongst the delegates.

The event then finished with a touching reading from poet Abdul Aziz Hafiz; collaborator on Craig Easton’s Bank Top project.

Abdul Aziz Hafiz reading his poem to the room.
Photo credit : Sam Parker

At the Art Collection, we know that our recent socially-engaged work with young people has already made a huge impact on the way we work – including the way we think about commissioning, collecting, and reaching audiences and participants. In particular, our projects with Salford Youth Service have proved particularly inspiring, and we hope to find ways to develop this work further in future.

Sam Parker, Art Collection Team Assistant, April 2024

Spotlight on Sustainability with Emily Speed

Emily Speed, currently Artist-in-Residence with Energy House 2.0, discusses sustainability and her practice with Castlefield Gallery in the most recent addition to their ongoing series Spotlight: Artists and Sustainability.

Click here to read the full interview on the Castlefield Gallery website, where Speed discusses how her work relates to issues of climate change, the ways she works more sustainably in her artist practice, and her thoughts about the role of arts and art institutions in tackling the climate crisis.

Emily Speed was awarded the second of two 18-month artist residencies at Energy House 2.0, in partnership with Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool in early 2023 and she is currently engaged in research, working closely with the Energy House Labs team.

The Energy House 2.0 Artist Residencies are hosted in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool and Castlefield Gallery, Manchester.

Both residencies have been made possible through funding from the Friends of Energy House 2.0 Community: 

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.