#10 Care2020 was a year of unexpected changes and challenges. A year which we were forced to stop or to pivot direction. For some, 2020 allowed time to think, to reflect, to experiment or to change. It has also without a doubt highlighted how we care; for each other, for ourselves and for our communities. This issue of Photography+ explores photography in relation to care. We have published an exclusive conversation between photographer Peter Watkins and writer Oliver Shamlou, a conclusion to Watkin's series The Unforgotten, ‘to some future place where the centrality of this trauma is moved aside.’ Meanwhile, artist Othello De'Souza-Hartley speaks to us about his practice and forthcoming projects, including a new self-portrait in his father’s empty bedroom. We are pleased to partner with Wellcome to bring you a creative writing response to their current commission The Covid-19 Anxiety Project. Read a new piece of writing by West Midlands based curator and writer Anneka French who, when looking at the images, shares how her own memories of lockdown are evoked, and poems come to her. We are excited to share new work by Murray Ballard, Zoe Childerley, Celine Marchbank and Helen Sear for CONNECT – the 3Ts hospital redevelopment public art programme at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital. Finally, delve in and enjoy the final essay by our 2020 Writer in Residence Marissa Chen: The Many Faces of Self-Care.
Celine Marchbank’s practice focuses on capturing small details in everyday life that may go unnoticed. It is about documenting human presence by way of exploring stories of people and emotions that the traces left tell.
Town Portfolio stems as a response to emotions of hopelessness and unease experienced by the artist in the many waiting rooms in hospitals she visited whilst accompanying her terminal mother to cancer treatments. As one of the four artists commissioned for CONNECT – the 3Ts hospital redevelopment public art programme – Marchbank was invited to work with the thematic frame of ‘Brighton and Hove’. The artist comments that ‘what attracted her to the commission is that it was about making clinical spaces nicer for the people that use them’.
During her preliminary research, Marchbank attended meetings organised by the Royal Sussex County Hospital’s personnel, joined a variety of community groups attended by staff and patients alike, organised encounters with hospital users, and visited other clinical settings and hospices. Marchbank realised that what makes a space warm, kind and welcoming is the simple things such a vase of fresh flowers, a soft chair for you to sit on as opposed to the uninviting plastic chairs in hospitals waiting rooms or a cup of freshly brewed tea waiting to be drank; things we generally find at one’s home. The idea of home and exploring what makes ‘home’ became central to Marchbank’s proposal for the commission.
Working in collaboration with the different people she connected with, Marchbank set out to explore what ‘home’ meant to them. Having an expansive approach to the theme, Marchbank not only documented people’s homes but also activities and situations that, in their view, offered the warm comfort and peace that the idea we have of home should provide.
The 45 photographs that compose Town Portfolio, are Marchbank’s attempt to stimulate positive emotions in the future users of the renewed Royal Sussex County hospital by bringing some of that home’s cosiness and familiarity to ward settings.
Photoworks in partnership with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Willis Newson and the University of Brighton have commissioned four new works for CONNECT – the 3Ts hospital redevelopment public art programme.
These commissions deliver a permanent collection of photographic artworks sited across 36 public waiting rooms within the new 3Ts redevelopment of Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital to open soon.
CONNECT, the public art programme for the hospital, will create a distinctive identity for the hospital and a lasting legacy of accessible, high-quality public art for the city, county and community. Underlining a sense of place connecting patients and the local environment, the four themes chosen for the photography programme of CONNECT are Sussex, South Downs, Brighton and Coast.
Text: Raquel Villar-Pérez, PhotoworksLearn more about Celine Marchbank Learn more about 3TS Read more Photography+ here