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‘As & When’ Community Photography Exhibition
1 July – 2 September
As and When, an exhibition of original photography, reflects on the ideas and identities of two distinct groups of Halton residents, looking at how we build a sense of community and what we mean by health and wellbeing.
The photographs on show are an honest look at the daily lives of two community groups, the Women of Windmill Hill and Widnes Vikings Golden Generation group. As and When, shows how two communities living either side of the iconic Runcorn Bridge are brought together through shared perspectives on social mobility, local visibility, health and well-being.
The Women of Windmill Hill, a group based in the Runcorn estate, began their project by actively reconnecting with their area and its history. Along the way, they decided to base the style of their work on a 1970s promotional article about moving to the area, at a time when families were often dispersed to the “suburbs” and away from the Liverpool slums. They are exhibiting a body of work that compares promised perceptions of Windmill Hill in the 1970s’ with the reality of today.
To explore the lives of Widnes Vikings Golden Generation Group, a social group for fans of the super league club aged over 55, the community were each given a disposable camera and asked to document what they do on match day before arriving at the stadium. Through this process, the group collectively captured over 450 photographs. These images reveal the true extent of their social mobility and daily interactions, further highlighting their common aim of breaking down stereotypes that being older means being in-active.
The show has been developed by Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery and Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, with venue partner The Brindley Theatre. Open Eye Gallery invited photographers Gary Bratchford and Robert Parkinson to meet and work with the communities. The work was produced collaboratively, with all artistic decisions made by both the photographers and members of the groups.
Some of the ideas behind As and When are based on the World Health Organisation’s 1948 definition of ‘health’ as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. The exhibition looks at how a sense of belonging is a crucial foundation to healthy, happy people. It is the first exhibition in a series of similar shows around the region, as part of a wider project called Culture Shifts.
Dave Sweeney, Chief Officer of NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, and Dr Cliff Richards M.B.E, Social Prescribing Lead for Cheshire and Merseyside, wrote a collaborative statement:
“More recently there has been a focus on how to deal with less than complete health. Ultimately it is the resilience of individuals and communities that create health. Culture Shifts aims to throw light on this genesis.”
Over the next six months, a series of Culture Shifts shows will take place across Merseyside and Cheshire. The projects connect photographers with various communities, encouraging people to explore the stories of their surroundings, deepen their understanding of their home and create a sense of positive community cohesion.
Shows will take place in Toxteth, Kirby, Sefton, Wirral, and St. Helens. The exhibitions will culminate in a long-running show at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery in October, collecting together highlights from each of the exhibitions.