COVID-19 Week 2

Nottingham Centre for Photography and Social Engagement 

Statement COVID -19 Week 1

Hi !

The World Health Organization had an important update this week. It altered the term “social distancing” to “physical distancing”. Now roughly a quarter of humanity is now on some form of lockdown and this increases by the week.

For us, it means we must find ways to add sparkle to our online socialising. We don’t what the future holds in store, or what kind of haircut will emerge from the months of isolation, but what is becoming clear that everyday acts of kindness and social solidarity is so important. 

Off Centre will be running five different online social events on a regular basis (listed below), and we will continue to send you a weekly information newsletter to keep you inspired and working. 
Key messages from Off CentreStay at home – do not endanger yourself or members of your community by leaving home unless urgent and unavoidable. If you must leave home, stay at least 2m away from other people. If you think you have symptoms – a persistent, new, continuous cough and a fever – check the NHS website.Seek help with finances – We know most photographers will have had work cancelled, and projects put on hold, and with most government help not actually coming on streamline next month, we will all be struggling. If you need help read the information below, or email us and we can try point you in the right direction.Continue to create, exercise and engage – This is time for physical isolation, but not social isolation, continue to create, and look after yourself. We are running a series of online events so keep in contact. Help others – Yes, don’t put yourself or others at risk, but remember to also help to break the isolation of others. For some people, like older people who may live alone and those suffering from mental health issues and/or trauma, the climate of fear and collective doom will just reinforce their social isolation and anxiety. If you cook a meal, just drop off some food, or do a chore, it’s a time to connect, albeit safely.Share the burden –  Your social activism should continue to promote and demonstrate equality. Notably, but not exclusively, women are likely to find themselves obliged to take on an even more substantial burden of domestic and childcare duties during periods of confinement. We must respond to ensure that women (our relatives, friends and comrades) are not placed in this invidious situation but share the work with them equally and based on need.
Off Centre online events over coming weeks 

Image © analog_limoncella

Dan’s Parlour Games: Every Saturday at 11am
Dan Wheeler is hosting a weekly online class to inspire you all to make more work in confined spaces. These are taking place every Saturday at 11 am – just follow the link at the Photo Parlour Instagram page here
Tasty Tuesday Photo Club: Every Tuesday at 2 pm (for Taster Tuesday member-only) 
We have been working with people facing food poverty with collaboration with the local charity, Himmah. Although the weekly get-togethers have had to move online, the work at the Tasty Tuesday Photo Club and Himmah are continuing. Due to safeguarding issues, the session is not open to the general public, but if you wish to join in please contact Jagdish directly on
You can see the work of Himmah during this crisis on Channel 4 news here.  If you have spare cash, you can make a donation here  

Scrambles online get together 

The Scrambles group are meeting every Thursday online.  If you wish to take part please contact Alyn Mulholland at at or Jagdish at

© Honey Williams

The Sisterhood Creative Zine Workshop

The Sisterhood Creative is opening up online submissions from their latest zine-making workshop that took place on International Women’s Day. During the workshop, we made collages, drawings, shared photographs and shared women who inspire us. The submissions can be any creative form, from poetry and photography through to painting and drawing – scan or send us your files to Leah or Bridie at

Online Photo Social
Wednesday 1st April 2.30pm to 3pm
Seeking help with your finances Q and A with an accountant Steve McKenna, TaxAssist accountants  

Join Zoom Meeting

We know these are worrying times for you all. We have arranged for a free online session with Steve McKenna, from Tax Assist Accountants in Sherwood. TaxAssist Accountants provides friendly and professional accountancy and tax service for small businesses in Nottingham. Steve has over 20 years of working experience that includes running his own family business, managing at a senior executive level in a major leisure organisation and of course, having a passion for ‘the numbers’. He lives locally, and as QPR supporter, he faces anguish on a regular basis. 

We would prefer you to send any questions in advance so that we can address as many issues with similar themes together. Can you please email us at OffCentre or Jagdish directly at by Tuesday 31st March, 5pm

Some useful links 
Format has announced a new fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19
The Artist General Benevolent Fund (Artists)
The Axisweb Hardship Fund our members. In light of the uncertainty artists face due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have introduced a fund to help our members facing significant financial hardship and who are unable to work, disabled, a carer, on low income or freelance. “Any member experiencing financial hardship is eligible to apply. We won’t ask you to explain why, but please apply only if you need the money. This is for members that are facing significant financial hardship and who are unable to work, disabled, a carer, on low income or freelance. In this first phase we are making a fund of £5,000 available. We are thinking of 50 x £100 awards decided on a lottery basis (this is how we have run a similar initiative in the past). Any member in receipt of this award won’t have to repay any money.”
The Eaton Fund Grants are restricted to artists and students working in the visual arts fields, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, print-making, photography, and video installations. We do not give grants for the performing arts. Only make grants to artists or art students who live or study in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
East Midlands Artists Corona Virus Impact Fund Rafia H supported by In Good Company @rafiaproduces “looking to raise £2000 and distribute £200 to 10  people on a first come first served basis. If you need to access this fund because you have been affected by loss of income due to COVID-19 then please do get in touch. It can be for rent, childcare, groceries etc – there will be no questions asked. “
Disability Arts have announced new commissions for disabled artists
The Arts Council have announced emergency measures and a £160m funding package including:£90 million available to NPOs to ‘reboot their creative work, but we also understand it may be required to alleviate financial pressures on NPOs’. In addition, this round of NPO funding will continue until 2023, with the next round of applications opening in 2022 (originally scheduled to open autumn 2021)£50 million available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from Arts Council England. Organisations who have applied to National Lottery Project Grants are welcome to apply for this support.£20 million of financial support available to individuals to sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. Local writer, François Matarasso, has written a thoughtful blog post about the recent Arts Council announcement, and you can read that here.
Many of you are thinking about working more online. Eventbrite has some useful tips on how to host an online event or webinar, and you can this here.

COVID-19: Week 1

Statement from Nottingham Centre of Photography and Social Engagement

We are at the start of a health crisis, which might last 12 weeks, maybe more, but it will end.

It is not just a local or national event, but a global health crisis, something that should unify us, and remind us that borders, bunkers, and hoarding aren’t what really defines us. It is not a time to think about the worst of outcomes or become overwhelmed by collective fear. The press just feeds this mood, and then let people justify their actions by this. We should remain positive and remember that this will end.

Humans have been through much worse in history; indeed, many places plagued by war and poverty still go through worse. We have to remind ourselves that the myths and stories which will survive into the future will be those of love and hope. It is why we will still talk about the blitz spirit.

At the Nottingham Centre for Photography and Social Engagement, we want you all to remember that we are all social beings. Despite the myth of the isolated artist, we need to recognise that for art to be created we need each to connect and that at this time we should appreciate how reliant we are on upon one another.

This health crisis is touching all of our lives, and we should use the opportunity to reach out to people, support one another and keep working. Remember, our actions should not be based on fear or thinking about the worst outcome but love and compassion.

We will be connecting more online over the coming weeks, and also using the opportunity to showcase the work and connecting with our local photography community. We are thinking about running classes, and portfolios review online. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know.

In the meantime, most of you will have had all paid work stopped, or delayed, and be worrying about income streams. Government guidance, Art Council and other funders will not be making their announcement until next week. Once this is clearer, we will try to arrange to get online conversations with people who can offer advice. If you have any questions, please email us, and we will try and provide answers.

Here’s a list of things to think about
Get a plan for your cash flow
Most photographers will have their work cancelled or delayed, and worrying about money, but there should be help around. The precise nature of the financial assistance will be more evident next week, in the meantime, don’t just worry about finances, work our your cash flow for the next four months. Work it out precisely and think about where you need help, which items can be delayed, put on hold, or simply cancelled. If you need help with working out cashflows contact us. There is some useful advice on the Redeye website here (

Help others
Yes, don’t put yourself or others at risk, but remember to also help to break the isolation of others. For some people, like older people who may live alone and those suffering from mental health issues and/or trauma, the climate of fear and collective doom will just reinforce their social isolation and anxiety. If you cook a meal, just drop off some food, or do a chore, it’s a time to connect, albeit safely.

Share the burden
Your social activism should continue to promote and demonstrate equality. Notably, but not exclusively, women are likely to find themselves obliged to take on an even more substantial burden of domestic and childcare duties during periods of confinement. We must respond to ensure that women (our relatives, friends and comrades) are not placed in this invidious situation but share the work with them equally and based on need.

Start or continue a photography project, and remember to document these times
We now hear a load of words, albeit negative words, daily. A month ago we did not use these words, “Social distancing”, “social isolation”, “super-spreader”, “WFH” (working from home), “WFO” (working from office), “contactless delivery”, “micro-socialising”, “lockdown”, “self-quarantine”, “cocooning”, “community spread”, “Wuhan”, “contact tracing”, “N95”, “flatten the curve”, “quarantini”, “distance learning”, “iatrogenic”, “caremongering”, “young vector” and “virtual happy hour”. You could have so much fun creating visual images for this new language.

If you do this, please email us, and we will promote your work in future newsletters. Spread the word If you think other people will benefit from this newsletter, please forward it and encourage people to subscribe.

Keep safe and stay optimistic. Jagdish, Dan, Jake and Leah

Leia Ankers

I am a documentary and Portrait photographer. My work’s focus is to breakdown stigmas and change perceptions of identity within contemporary society.  The same as you began from having a disability myself. Since a young age I have stigmatised myself through my differences. I wanted to change the notion of people with dual sensory impairment and additional disabilities. It became apparent over time, that everyday objects and environments are very important. We use our senses all the time but most of that is by default and not conscious awareness. Most of the time we take our senses for granted. In this series, I aim to represent the perception of disability.  

Venue- Photo Parlour

Jade Birchnall

This project documents my brothers struggles with drug abuse. This Photo was taken during the height of his heroine addiction and a few weeks before he received a prison sentence. It is a personal project and is used to serve my brother as a reminder of how far he has come to conquer his addiction. He is now 2 years clean and making an effort to rebuild his life.

Venue- Backlit

Jacqui Booth

My work uses the landscape to tell my story, leaving space for you to tell yours. My upbringing in Derbyshire was infused with tradition, from galas where I took part in village life to a Tideswell lambing ceremony with a male voice choir and real lambs. In my early teens the coal mines closed and I was wrenched away from Derbyshire to Leicestershire. I further cemented the move from the rural by moving to Leicester and making it my home. Photography and art was always an interest, but moving out at eighteen demanded a ‘sensible’ job, and that’s where I languished for many years. One day I bought an entry level SLR and worked with that until my needs exceeded its capabilities and, through a little photography related work and a loan, I bought a better camera which has been an engaging tool.   My practice moved from straightforward landscapes, quickly changing to darker landscapes as I aimed to echo my thoughts and emotions through my photography. Prior to studying this year, my work was mainly centered around my own personal emotions. The thought process behind the images was not necessarily directly alluded to yet there was a personal narrative behind each one.  Through circumstance, I am largely self-taught, not entering higher education until my experience and exhibitions in Leicester, Nottingham, Brighton and London allowed me to access an MA in Fine Arts without holding a BA Degree.   I produce both digital and film images, reflecting my love of the wilder places in the UK. Most excursions begin with an OS map, starting from the edgelands and looking towards the wilderness, the lost places. Recently, my photography considers my ongoing frustration regarding freedom to access green space, trespassing and the urban environment, particularly the impact of traffic and the effect of that on mental wellbeing. Looking around my mostly urban area, there are city parks, verges and further out, fields and a few country parks. I appreciate these but they are structured, small pockets of shared space in which we are ‘allowed’ to visit if we have a car and the fee. Other ‘green’ areas are simply there because the land has no value for further development. Bearing in mind dangerously ignored climate change concerns, it has recently evolved to incorporate images of traditional and ‘false’ shrines to reflect what I observe to be revered, protected and respected.   Five Signs of a False Salvation   From this viewpoint, an overgrown, decorated and highly protected car park ticket machine gains the air of a modern shrine, an ancient arboreal shrine is misregarded by offerings of artificial materials, a young bird lies still on concrete in a city. Peace is found in a sacred glen but the scene is poisoned, sunlight burns through an unnatural veil of colour.  Stillness is felt at a stone monument, but it is a false shrine.    Shrines are usually sacred places, often natural such as groves but they can also be built temples or sanctuaries containing holy relics or objects. In some cases they may be said to contain the manifestation of a god or spirit. They are a space for remembrance, praise or worship.  These sacred places could be said to reflect a culture’s worldviews and values, with the idea of strengthening biological and cultural diversity. I would argue that this is clearly happening in our modern society, but they do not reflect back glory or salvation from an unseen deity, but a reinforcement of capitalism and the destruction of the environment, a shrinking of horizons for the working class person rather than the promise of salvation as if what is held sacred can’t be bothered to lie anymore. Yet despite it being laid out before us, we turn a blind eye. We allow our money to be taken by machines more venerated than nature, we festoon pagan shrines to the water supply with plastics, we leave our wildlife to die.   This work marks a departure for me away from the solely personal to a wider narrative, and a step away from the use of muted hues to overtly using colours in my work.  The influence is from the urban environment and Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, Red Desert (1964) which despite his previous work using black and white film, powerfully uses colour as a tool. I have explored alternative ways of presenting my photography, using plywood and tarpaulins, echoing visuals from run down and developing cityscapes and the opening scenes of Robinson in Ruins (Patrick Keiller, 2010). I particularly admire the work of Jonny Bark who has a similar aesthetic.      I hope to further develop my practice over the coming year by means of collaborations with groups in the Midlands, both established and self-led and show my work in carefully selected exhibitions.

Venue- New Art Exchange

Carl Bull

No matter what class, race, gender or creed we all mostly want the same thing in life, to get through it with as little friction as possible whilst being treated with respect and decency.  My ongoing project is born of the simple premise in that preconceptions can often be wrong and that people are brilliant, interesting, friendly, decent and funny and these photos hopefully go a small way in proving that.   I also hope to prove that the old cheesy cliche saying ‘A stranger is just a friend you havn’t met yet’ is true. 

Venue- New Art Exchange

Richard Chung

I am an analogue photographer based in Nottingham. I am constantly setting myself a wide range of different projects around themes that have a personal interest for me.  This is an ongoing project documenting the vibrancy and diversity of the people in the Hyson Green area of Nottingham.  This is a deliberate effort to promote the qualities of this part of the city. Whilst not without its problems, the beauty of Hyson Green and the opportunities within the location are often lost in the wider negative reflections on the area.  As these images were all shot on one very hot summers day i have decided to call this set of images ‘A Sunny Afternoon in Hyson Green’  I had recently watched Spike Lee’s film ‘Do The Right Thing’ which is filmed on one very hot summers day in Harlem, and was inspired by the aesthetics of the film and how Spike Lee had managed to portray that hot summers day feeling throughout the film but also the vibrancy of the Harlem community.  This is something i have tried to create…the vibe on those rare overly warm summers day where everything seems to slow down and the local community are on the streets enjoying the sunshine.

Venue- Backlit

Will Claxton

These are a selection of images taken over 3 trips, across a period of approximately 3 months. All situated in the beautiful, yet obscure landscape of Dungeness, Kent. Classified as the UK’s only desert, Dungeness’ shingle wasteland gives the impression of a time capsule from a fishing industry long forgotten. In the shadow of a close-by nuclear power-station, there are buildings and objects sprayed across this vast area – which spans across 12sq miles. I have chosen to use a wide 3:1 crop to try and emphasize the juxtaposition of the peaceful, yet bleak wilderness and these man-made structures situated within

Venue- New Art Exchange

Simon Clegg

“Once More the Fleeting Sensation”.   “Once More the Fleeting Sensation’ is a series of photographs that explores the literal and metaphorical journeys that I went on in the pursuit of memory. The title is an excerpt from the first volume of Marcel Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, in which Proust explores why certain objects and experiences can become the catalysts for the vivid recollection of erstwhile memories. While going through a box of my late mothers possession’s, I discovered several cases of slide film that she had shot whilst hostelling in the late sixties and early seventies, and I was struck by the clarity in which they had recorded a place and a time. I chose to track these places down, to discover where she had been, and in turn attempt to reconnect with someone with whom I missed deeply. Little did I know when embarking on this journey, just how powerful the act of moving through the landscape could become, memories flooded back, un-bidden and at times traumatic, this was not the first time I had travelled this road, and I now realised, decades of journeys had filled this path with countless impressions. For Marcel Proust, recollection of the past came in the form of a cup of tea and a Madeleine cake. For myself it came in the finding of old photographs, and the journey that they subsequently inspired. Influences for this work include the American photographers Stephen Shore, William Eggleston and Alec Soth, and British photographer Paul Graham.  

Venue- Rough Trade

Chris Dale

I’m Chris Dale, a photographer based in Nottingham, England.  My photography comes from the enjoyment of being out in the woodland and countryside, unwinding from life’s stresses and being surrounded by nature. A lot of my work is focused on the local area, which isn’t known for big vistas. This has led me to look at the landscape differently, trying to capture the essence of the place at that time, rather than a straight representation. While most of my photos have no obvious landmark I aim to portray the different elements that make up a location, from the wider views to small details and abstract interpretations.  More recently I have been focusing almost entirely on abstract and project work, especially within a darker aesthetic.  My images have been published, exhibited and awarded in major competitions.

Venue- Photo Parlour

Kelly Daniels

Throughout the summer of 2019 I was travelling within Southeast Asia. On this journey I finally ventured into Indonesia for the first time and revisited both Malaysia and Thailand. During this time I focused on meeting people from rural parts of these countries and exploring off of the tourist track. After meeting many people, absorbing the language and learning details about the culture I decided to focus on the women of these local communities.    From my encounters I found most women to be very humble, which was refreshing and understandable from a religious viewpoint. I was drawn to these women as I felt there was a lot I could learn and discover through them.   I chose to focus on these women to show the labour they endure everyday to make a living. Typically the women I met were strong, highly skillful, focused and hard working. Work for most people in these less developed areas can be very physically demanding. Long hours and heavy lifting is a trait I found prominent in most job roles for both men and women. In comparison to the UK I find stigma, culture and beauty expectations can divide the physical work that men and women do in their careers. It was eye opening to meet these women and get a glimpse into their everyday life.  The title “Tangan Wanita” translates as “women’s hands” in both Indonesian and Malay. As seen in my images all the hands of these women are rough, dirty, wrinkled, damaged and/or well worked. Once again, not the typical image of hands you may see from many women in the UK. I aimed to capture movement and detail in all my images to express the process taking place before me, representing how time consuming and repetitive these tasks can be.  All of the women are shown processing and handling local natural resources in preparation for sale. Regardless of the material in hand, I wanted my images to show the toll these tasks have on these individuals and how, like most job roles, the effects form the shape and appearance of the body we inhabit.  In all, I created these images to give an insight into the lives of these women to people who may not be exposed to the work that goes on in small local communities, like the ones in this project. In life everybody has a role to play and by understanding one another I hope work like my own can bring people from all over the world closer together.

Venue- Backlit

Jonny Davies

I’m a Welsh photographer based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.  I became interested in making photographs whilst working as a stills and documents archivist for the British Film Institute.  Whilst working there I studied part-time at the London Institute of Photography and initially photographed authors for publishing houses and musicians for record labels. I relocated to Nottinghamshire in 2018.   The Rylands is a neighbourhood of Beeston which takes in sections of the River Trent and the Nottingham-Beeston Canal.  Historically the area has been badly affected by flooding and a defining Rylands image in the Google archives shows a caravan almost entirely submerged under water.  There are now new flood defences and whilst there is still some lingering sense of jeopardy,  I wanted to document the feeling of endless youth  / permanent vacation I found when I first visited in early 2018.  I plan to slowly evolve the project over several years.

Venue- Photo Parlour

Mariano Doronzo

Mariano Doronzo (b. 1986) is an Italian engineer, photographer and poet based in Nottingham. He moved to England in 2013 and started working with black and white street-photography using an old Praktica film camera.  Currently living in Nottingham, he still works only with analog equipment whilst also expanding his skills in the darkroom from processing film to handmade printing. Also a keen writer, Mariano was published in Italy in 2016 where his poetry book “Echi del mio tempo” (Echoes of my time) won the Premio Polverini national award for poetry. Most days you can find Mariano serving the finest pints at The Dragon Pub in Nottingham.

Venue- Backlit

Paul Dowker

Grassroots  Football has and always will be a key part of some people’s weekends, especially Sunday league football. More and more the land around these green spaces is being developed for residential or commercial developments. The green land that are home to this ‘religion’ is constantly being squeezed.   I have set out to document the contrast between the goals and the background, how they co-exist. I am shooting the images on a Mamiya C330 film camera and processing the images at home, then scanning them for use.   The project has only just started

Venue- New Art Exchange

Natasha Edgington

I’m a film photo-maker based in my hometown of Chesterfield. Though my subject matter varies wildly between sacred spaces, British pastimes, self portraiture and collaborations with artists, I am always coming back to – and building upon – my photographic catalogue of everyday midlands life (of which my submitted images are a select few.) My approach and aesthetic is to present each situation exactly as I find it, in all its raw and imperfect beauty. Most of the time I get in my car and drive around aimlessly. Having no fixed destination means I meander to parts I wouldn’t normally venture, and from my experience, those golden moments that we strive for as photographers lie await in the unknown. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any Brit today who doesn’t acknowledge the social and economic decay that we find ourselves navigating daily. We’re expected to feign a smile and gloss over the fact, despite the visible signs of increasingly vacant high streets and growing dependencies on community food banks. I wish to capture these hard truths through the lens of a midlands native.

Venue- New Art Exchange

Phillip Formby

Philip Formby is a photographic artist and storyteller who has lived and worked in Nottingham for over a decade. His art covers themes of environment, community, sub-culture and belonging. Josh Osoro Pickering is a British/Kenyan writer, producer and educator. He has worked and lived in Britain, Brazil, France and Kenya. His writing looks at ideas around music, food, minority ethnic communities and urban culture.

Venue- New Art Exchange