Artworks created as part of a ground-breaking photography programme – the first of its kind to be delivered within a social care setting – went on display at a unique exhibition at Liverpool’s Watch Factory yesterday (31st August).
Entitled RESIDENCE, the showcase was unveiled during a special launch event at the extra care facility in Prescott where social care charity Community Integrated Care supports people to live their best lives possible.
The event was the culmination of an innovative nine month photographer-in-residence programme designed to inspire creativity and encourage discussion between the residents and others in their community and is the result of a collaboration between Community Integrated Care and one of the UK’s leading photography spaces, Open Eye Gallery and the ‘Young at Art’ initiative, an arts programme working with those aged over 60 across the Liverpool City Region.
Artists Sam Batley and Marge Bradshaw were appointed photographers in residence at The Watch Factory in February and have since worked with people supported there to set up a Photography Club and engage in a range of creative projects which will be unveiled for the first time in the upcoming exhibition.
Originally the home of the Lancashire Watch Company, the factory is a significant part of Prescot’s local history and was converted into an extra-care scheme in 2018. Some of the people who are supported at the service remember the original factory and had relatives who used to work there, so the building represents the very fabric of the community for those who reside in it today.
The group have been looking into the area’s past, their personal connections to it and also their role as ‘watch factory custodians’ of the space today, all through experimenting with different photographic styles and creative endeavours including creative writing, film and digital photography, camera-less photography (creating lumen prints and cyanotypes) and mixed media collage.
The series of works produced will be exhibited both as a temporary installation within the public facing spaces of the ground floor, alongside more permanent framed works situated throughout the building as a legacy to the project and for future generations of the Watch Factory to enjoy.