About / Feedback


The Social has now ended.  Your feedback is really important to help us to assess the quality and reach of the programme.  Please could you take a few moments to complete a very short questionnaire here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JRTB6G5



Welcome to The Social: encountering photography, a month long international celebration of photography across the North East of England from 18 October – 16 November 2013.  The Social is an initiative of the North East Photography Network (NEPN) in partnership with the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland.

We are delighted to be working with an array of photographers and artists from around the world to create a dynamic exchange of photographic practices and experimentation, embracing varied social contexts and activities. Throughout our four-week programme of exhibitions, talks, tours and debates, The Social seeks to provide new opportunities for audiences to engage with high quality lens-based practice in ways that are accessible and relevant. The Social aims to create an internationally significant platform for regionally based photographers to showcase their work and will also bring artists and curators of international stature to the region to work alongside.

Sunderland is the creative hub of The Social, with important new partnerships at the Northern Centre of Photography, University of Sunderland, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, The Bridges Shopping Centre, Sunderland Minster and the National Glass Centre.  In extending the reach of The Social across the region, we are also delighted to be working with Durham Art Gallery, Side Gallery, The NewBridge Project and PH Space in Newcastle, as well as Arts Centre Washington amongst others.

The Social is committed to the development of a vibrant creative context for photography in the region, through supporting artists to produce and exhibit new work. Key to this philosophy has been the continued support of Arts Council England and the University of Sunderland. Artists premiering newly commissioned works during The Social include: Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina; Craig Ames; John Kippin; Sarah Pickering; Simon Roberts and Stuart Whipps.

We are also pleased to be showcasing the work of a number of emerging and established photographers who were selected through an international open call, enabling selected artists to bring existing work to the region or new work to completion: Chris Harrison; Michele Allen; Ananda van der Pluijm; Brenda Burrell; Daniele Sambo; Juliet Chenery-Robson; David Bate; Peter Fryer; Harry Hall; Karen Ward; Louise Taylor; Mark Henderson; Aaron Guy; Arabella Plouviez; and Paul Alexander Knox.

Venues across the region include contemporary group and solo exhibitions showcasing work by established as well as emerging artists. Key exhibitions for The Social include You are the Company in Which You Keep (parts 1 and 2) at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. Curated by Alistair Robinson in collaboration with NEPN, You are the Company brings the two neighbouring venues together for the first time in a joint exhibition that explores some of the ways in which photographers and artists map out our new social networks.

In parallel and as a complement to the venue-based exhibitions, The Social also incorporates various public contexts and sites that enable different forms of social engagement with new projects: in metro stations, at Sunderland Minster and the city’s Bridges shopping centre. Large-scale photographic installations can also be encountered on windows at the National Glass Centre and The Bridges car-park, on the façade of Sunderland’s old fire station and on a number of advertising sites around the city centre.

The Social: encountering photography is programmed by Carol McKay and Amanda Ritson of NEPN in partnership with Alistair Robinson, curator at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland.

Supported by University of Sunderland and Arts Council England through funds from the National Lottery.


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