The East End Archive at London Metropolitan University is an online and digital resource intended for artists, designers, academics and researchers from a cross-section of disciplines.
It collects work from artists and photographers whose practice is concerned with the East End of London and its diaspora. For the purpose of creating this collection, the East End has been understood as both a geographic and conceptual space, interpreted as the ever-changing eastern frontier within the urban sprawl of London that is part tangible and part imagined.
The East End Archive is conceived as an archive for the future, which brings together not only historic bodies of work but contemporary collections from photographers currently working in the field, reflecting current rather than retrospective ideologies. Furthermore, the Archive holds only bodies of work rather than one off images in order to understand more fully the working methodology of the photographer practitioners, and to give context to the work.
The work collected ranges from traditional documentary to works of the imagination in order to reflect the East End: a place where dreams, dissent and transformation co-exist.
Disobedient Buildings is a multi-sided research project about housing, welfare and wellbeing based at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford. It is funded for four years by the Art and Humanities Research Council. Launched in January 2020, the project employs a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and visual practitioners to study the impact of neo-liberal reforms over the past three decades on the everyday lived experiences of inhabitants of aging tower blocks in different European welfare states: the UK, Romania and Sweden/Norway.
"In 2003 a group of photographers who all had children with Down’s syndrome put up a small exhibition for Down’s syndrome awareness week. One of our visitors Susan Andrews, a senior lecturer from London Metropolitan University, asked us to participate in a new exhibition she was curating as part of the “concerned photographer" series for ‘Photomonth’, held in the East End every year. With a small grant from the University to produce some work and a catalogue, the exhibition Shifting Perspectives made its first tour from the University to Norwich Arts Centre where an accompanying conference was held. The conference panel consisted of the Shifting Perspectives photographers, the curator Susan Andrews, and Amanda Hopkinson from the University of East Anglia. The exhibition was widely shared in the press and from there ‘Shifting Perspectives’ has developed.
In 2005 the Down’s Syndrome Association asked Richard Bailey to exhibit his work at the.gallery@oxo, for the start of Down’s syndrome awareness week. Richard brought Shifting Perspectives with him and it has now found a home in supporting the DSA with challenging and changing the perspectives that are currently held in society.
Over the years the exhibitions have supported the DSA’s ‘Employment campaign’, where they have worked to allow people with Down’s syndrome the chance to enter the workforce they deserve. In other years the images have shown that cultural backgrounds, family values, aspirations and environmental influences all help to shape the individuality of a person with Down’s syndrome, in the same way that it would for anyone else.
Before Shifting Perspectives started there was little positive imagery surrounding Down’s syndrome. Many of the images would be of a medical or charity-based nature and it should be noted that less than twenty years ago, images such as ours would neither have been made or seen.
As a group we now have a very large body of work concerning many aspects of Down’s syndrome and with thanks to a very generous grant from GlaxoSmithKline we are able to tour the exhibition internationally.
If you would like to learn more about Shifting Perspectives or would like to exhibit the work please get in touch with Richard Bailey or Andrea Bishop at the Down’s Syndrome Association."
RICHARD BAILEY, Shifting Perspectives
"The Brady Club collection of recovered photographs consists of approximately 1,000 photographs dating from the 1920s - 1970s, which had been rediscovered after storage in a loft for approximately 40 years. A former editor from the Sunday Times, Hannah Charlton, deposited the collection with me in August 2016.
A Brady Club stamp was on the back of some of the images but little else was known. In order to discover more information and locate some of those depicted in the more recent photographs, I arranged for a series of exhibitions and events. Through this process I connected with many former members of the Brady Club and now work with them collaboratively to uncover their history and identify photographs.
A key area of research has been working to establish ways in which photography can be used to uncover lost histories, in this instance a history of Jewish immigration and youth in London’s East End. Of particular interest has been the Brady Girls Club as so little has been documented regarding the daily lives of young Jewish immigrants from this era. It is currently the subject of a joint AHRC funding bid. Additionally, the use of photography as a mnemonic aid in recording oral histories and as a means to create a sense of well-being has been a key area of the research.
Note: The Brady Club was established in 1896 by the Rothschild's, Josephs and Franklins to assist Jewish refugees arriving in London's East End, fleeing the programs in eastern Europe and Russia. The Club had its heyday in the 40's, 50's, 60s and 70's, when it gave exciting opportunities to many financially poor East End young people, much of which is documented in the photographs and old club magazines. Members participated in practical skills workshops, sports, social events, weekends in the country and even holidays abroad. The club hosted politicians, celebrities, musicians e.g., The Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix, and royal family members. The Duke of Edinburgh award was also trialled through the club.
The link above is to The Brady Club member's photography archive. They are working to collect further photographs and histories related to the former Club."
Susan Andrews, curator of the collection