‘There’s still a lot of work to be done…’ Interview with Liv Graham, Centenary City Ambassador

Liv Graham is a student at Manchester School of Art and a Centenary City Ambassador. She took part in the School of Art’s Unit X ‘Deeds not Words’ project, which worked with the Pankhurst Centre in early 2018 to curate an exhibition at the School in May. Here, she talks about that process, and their publication ‘Hammer Heights’, which appears in the Centenary City exhibition.

Centenary City – Ambassador Decisions!

By Tessa Chynoweth, Curator, Pankhurst Centre

Ambassadors have been making some decisions about the Centenary City archive and exhibition today! The exhibition will open on the 21st November 2018 and we’ve been thinking hard about what should be included in it… Several themes have emerged from the material that’s been submitted throughout the year. Here’s some of the pictures of the day, kindly taken by Sabrina Fuller, if you’d like to see…

The theme of  ‘threads’ was particularly strong, and allowed us to weave our way from Manchester’s past, in cotton production and radical protest, to today’s responses to the centenary, which have overwhelmingly taken the form of embroidered works, contemporary banners, and radical dress-making.

Stories of ‘Super Women’ have also appeared in our archive and on the Manchester; Centenary City digital map, and suggest another theme, of inspirational Manchester women, who, like the suffragists and suffragettes, are dedicated champions for the rights of women in contemporary contexts.
Another theme that made itself heard very clearly in the the archive is that of the female voice; the vote may have been a way that some women were represented in parliament, but the centenary has reminded us that there is still much to be done to ensure female voices are heard…



Ambassador Photography Workshop – Part 2

By Natalie Whitehurst, Centenary City Ambassador 

A second photography training session was held on Sunday 12th August, where more ambassadors were able to try their hand at documentary photography. As I am a photographer myself, I was asked to attend both sessions to lend a hand with the photography. Although, as I don’t have much previous experience with documentary photography I was looking forward to developing my own skills as well as helping others!

The wonderful Laura Deane was back to deliver this session again, and this time we were able to go into one of the museum rooms to practice taking portrait shots of each other- with some ambassadors modelling the awesome costumes too! We practiced photographing each other and getting comfortable with both using our camera and interacting with people whilst photographing them.

After this, we were able to venture outside and try our hand at photographing the general public on the street.

Laura made it very clear from the beginning that it does not matter at all what equipment we were using- be it a DSLR or a phone camera- the photos don’t have to be ‘technically’ perfect in order to be deemed good. –  “The best camera is the one you have with you”.  The important thing is that we are out there talking to people, interacting with them, and capturing something raw and candid. Sometimes an image will be a bit blurry or out of focus…but it will be filled with emotion and will tell a brilliant story. And that makes a great photo.

As I had both my DSLR and phone to hand, I switched between each one and found that using a phone camera actually worked in my advantage in some situations as it was less intrusive and I think that put people at ease. Which is what we want when we’re photographing any centenary events; we want people to feel comfortable and not threatened, as they will then be more willing to participate and share their stories.

It can be very daunting approaching people you don’t know, but the key thing I learned is that if you push yourself it will pay off. Towards the end of the session we were challenged by Laura to take a photo of someone from less than a meter away which was a great opportunity to really push our confidence that bit further!

Here’s the photos I took: