The second chapter of a photography festival celebrating work from across the west coast of Cumbria and beyond is set to launch.
Packed with world-class photography exhibitions, outdoor installations, creative family-friendly workshops and film screenings by artists, the second instalment of the West Coast Photo Festival 2021 will launch on October 7, organised by Signal Film and Media.
Continuing on from the success of the summer chapter in June; which featured a fully digital photography festival with exciting online commissions and hundreds of residents from the west coast of Cumbria participating in creative workshops and engaging talks, West Coast Photo Festival returns for its next and final iteration, spread across multiple venues including Florence Arts Centre in Egremont, train station platforms on the Cumbrian railways, Barrow Market and the Rum Story in Whitehaven.
“It’s extraordinary… a place of light and shade and many, many layers, one of great fragility and also of great resilience,” said commissioned artist Vanessa Winship.
Gallery exhibitions and live events at the newly renovated Cooke’s Studios Gallery Spaces, Barrow include:
- A striking exhibition bringing together for the first time the newly commissioned work of two acclaimed British social documentary photographers, Vanessa Winship & Phoebe Kiely.
- Cumbrian Focus: an exhibition of new work from local & emerging photographers featuring Marie Smith, Katrin Joost, John Darwell, Mario Popham, Henry Iddon & Philip Green celebrating the people and places of this unique coastline.
- Video work from Cumbrian artists Danielle Chappell Aspinwall and Zoe Forster who were mentored by Signal Film and Media throughout lockdown.
- A beautiful exhibition of artwork made by young people from schools from across Copeland and Barrow-in-Furness. Made during outdoor beach-based workshops with environmental artists Tim Pugh and Di McGhee.
Outdoor installations and exhibitions in venues across the west coast of Cumbria:
- The Caravan Gallery will create their Barrow Pride of Place project at Barrow Market encouraging visitors to get involved by sharing stories and taking part in workshops, transforming a market stall into an exhibition space and watching it grow over the opening weekend in October.
- Large-scale outdoor photography installations from the Elements open call competition in multiple stations along the West Coast Railway.
- On the site of a historic iron ore mine, Florence Arts Centre in Egremont will host exhibitions celebrating the photographic talent from across the west coast of Cumbria. Showcasing an outdoor exhibition of the top five winners of the Elements Open Call competition and artwork made by young people from schools across the county during workshops in the spring of 2021 with artists Tim Pugh and Di McGhee.
- Explore decades of photographs from the west coast and beyond in the Sankey photography archive exhibited at the ‘Seeing the North with Sankey’ exhibition at the Dock Museum in Barrow from October 15.
Creative workshops, engaging talks and family fun-filled events for all to get involved:
- Sign up to photography workshops at The Rum Story in Whitehaven led by west coast celebrated artists and photographers such as Philip Green.
- Learn from the critically-acclaimed artists who are exhibiting at Cooke’s Studio in Barrow during the opening weekend with a programme of talks, panel discussions and masterclasses.
- Take part in drop-in family creative activities on October 9 and the half-term October holidays with local artists at Cooke’s Studios.
- Join the closing weekend of the festival for its wrap event including film screenings at Florence Arts Centre on November 6.
“After the inevitable postponements we now cannot wait to finally share all the brilliant work that has been created,” said Loren Slater, co-director of Signal Film and Media.
“The exhibitions reveal and explore the unique identity and character of this often-overlooked, fantastic area of the UK, and this county-wide festival will provide a rare opportunity to see world-class exhibitions and exciting new commissions. We hope it will be something welcome, uplifting and inspiring in what has been a turbulent and worrying time.”
John Baker, chief executive at Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners said: “Whitehaven Harbour was delighted to host two stunning installations as part of chapter one of the West Coast Photo Festival within our hub area. They provided a real landmark and talking point for the thousands of visitors that walked the harbour and marina each week and the engagement was fabulous to see.
“On the back of this success, we are looking forward to hosting photography, animation and family workshops during the month of October within our Rum Story Exhibition, which I am sure will be incredibly popular.
“We have seen that working alongside the creative talent involved in the festival and with the Emma Hunt exhibitions throughout the summer here at the Rum Story, that there is a real thirst and demand for art and creative, cultural expression in Whitehaven. It has encouraged significantly increased footfall, it has brought people out of themselves and given them a platform.
“On the back of such challenging times for everyone, it has demonstrated that art and creativity is a force for improving general wellbeing in the community, that it encourages discussion and engagement and that it draws people into the town and inspires them to bring to life the stunning landscapes, landmarks and communities that surround us in Whitehaven and along the west coast.”