University of Brighton graduate, Matthew Broadhead, was selected to visit and report back on this years Unveil'd photo festival via Photograd. During his visit, Matthew took over the Photograd Instagram and has since written a very detailed and comprehensive report of his experience of the festival. We've decided to include the first section of his report here, alongside some of his images taken during the weekend, and hope that our readers would like to read the report in full on Matthew's website.
We would like to thank Tom at Unveil'd for encouraging and supporting our call out, and Matthew for being a fantastic reporter.
My name is Matthew Broadhead, I was selected to exhibit in Exeter Phoenix in South Devon for Unveil’d Open 2016. Also being chosen by Photograd to be the event reporter for Unveil’d I was in Exeter and present at a selection of scheduled events throughout Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October.
The first event I attended was Project Management in the Arts held by Daisi from midday until 2:30pm at Exeter Library in The Rougemont Room. Daisi are the Arts Education Partnership organization for Devon and Torbay started in 1995. To summarize, they provide information, advice and development opportunities for artists, young people and educators. Ruth Cohen delivered the talk and the presentation provided an introduction to the organisation along with case studies of what they’ve done recently as part of their initiative.
The workshop aspect was simple but effective, forming groups to conjure a response to a commission for charities including Cancer Research UK and The National Trust considering a programme and who/what it’s target audience to enrich is. It highlighted important questions unearthed during the process of creating a proposition for funding and then the endeavour to answer the questions and deliver. Many of the students who attended the talk were Plymouth College of Art students studying BA (Hons) Photography in their third year and Louise Fago-Ruskin, lecturer in photography at Plymouth College of Art, approached me after the workshop to deliver a talk to her students about my body of work Heimr exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open. I was very pleased to oblige and we went over to the venue after Daisi’s workshop. I had a very positive experience talking about my work and practice after graduating from Brighton University for around three quarters of an hour.
I left Exeter Phoenix and walked up to Rougemont Gardens behind Exeter Library, one of multiple different locations of the Towers exhibition. On the Unveil’d website, the exhibition was described as a series of large-scale images on show throughout public grounds in the city of Exeter, curated in response to the fortification of Exeter’s Roman wall in the 13th century. They wrote:
“Tracing its history, the wall surrounded institutions of central powerhouses; government, religion and military. The construction of ten towers were built to protect and observe the city, bringing forth tensions of boundaries and their role in defining the city and more widely how we deal with place. The city wall itself was constructed in response to the geology of the land, in particular the strategic placing of five gates reflecting the movement of the river.”
The setting of each exhibit correlated with the locations of these ten towers. The images were printed on strong weather resistant material with a loop at the top and bottom for scaffolding tubes to pass through. This particular piece consisted of four panels with a single large format image on each side by the artists Jessica Lennan, Oliver Udy, Eva Cooney and Glauco Canalis. All of the imagery was evocative of environment, both with and without human presence. Eva Cooney’s dramatic piece particularly reflects the movement of the river through Exeter. A few minutes walk through Rougemont Gardens in the green space elevated between Exeter Phoenix and the rear entrance of the Royal Albert Museum there was a single piece by Tim Mills titled Overdale Road from his project Twelve Shilling Paradise. The garden study depicted a fish tank with live goldfish positioned on bubble wrap on a piece of wooden furniture. The concept of the exhibition and ideas ruminating in this photograph make me consider the transience not so much of the environment but more of the existence of humanity within it. The detail shot shows a ladybird and the whole front and back of this piece were covered with them, adding another dimension to the piece.
Unfortunately by the time that I was exploring Towers for myself the artwork in Northernhay gardens was vandalised and subsequently taken down. The work presented belonged to Robert Darch and Melanie Eclare. The final exhibit I saw as part of Towers was further away towards Exeter Bus Station in Southenhay Gardens. The triangular structure consisted of work by Jem Southam, Fern Leigh Albert and Brendan Barry.
To read Matthew's report in full, visit his blog.