29 Nov 2021

long lockdown

Reflecting on a second year of COVID it would be strange not to include the five storeys high exhibition. However the real highlights for me have been the impact on local community groups. This outreach work was part of our pitch for fundraising and for me in particular became a way to reconcile my initial unease with the project. Spending time with a group from Southall staring up at the front of Ealing police station felt like a way of squaring the circle.

The resulting workshop back in their space produced some poignant reflections on the impact of the pandemic on their lives. I brought A4 versions of the photographs from the show to pick from and A4 paper so they could draw and write their responses. It was a privilege to hear the emotions and memories evoked by the photographs. Afterwards, sharing their creativity with the photographers whose work was selected alongside the accompanying pieces, gave us all a moment to reflect for ourselves.

It also gave me momentum to develop a pop-up version of the exhibition to create a space in a community centre in another part of Ealing to share their experiences of the pandemic.  

 Ealing Unlocked Popup

I spent time with people in a couple of drop-in sessions just listening and then talking about the idea of the show and encouraging them to bring their own photographs from the last eighteen months. The result was a unique display of photographs made by the Gurnell Grove community during the pansemic on screen, presented alongside a mini version of Ealing Unlocked on foam board, ranged around the community centre. 

Collaborating in this way, to recognise the value and give a platform for people's images, was another fascinating way to leverage the original project to create something new and significant.

Can't wait to see what we can do next.