North East Photography Network and Belfast Exposed Research Residency



Interesting parallels between the industrial, economic and social histories of Newcastle and Belfast can be drawn and both cities and regions have a rich photographic history and a strong tradition of photographers developing relationships with the city and its inhabitants. The North East Photography Network (NEPN), in partnership with Belfast Exposed Gallery, recently offered a research residency opportunity for a photographic artist from the North East of England to develop work in Northern Ireland.

Following a competitive process, Northumberland based photographer Richard Stout has been awarded the Residency and is planning an initial visit to Belfast to initiate contacts and conversations with artists, photographers and communities interested in his area of work.

Richard is an artist member of the ‘Garden Shed’ project, an arts initiative set up by Gateshead Council and now jointly run in collaboration with The National Trust. Based in a small woodcutter’s hut (The Woodcutter Studio) in the historic grounds of the Gibside Estate, in the Derwent Valley, 8 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne, Richard has recently embarked on a long term visually led exploration of Gibside and the population of workers, volunteers and visitors who use the site. Described in more detail in the artist statement below, one of the objectives of the Gibside project is to create links with communities of interest and practice- other artists, projects, groups and initiatives – based locally and further afield.

This is the context for Richard’s Residency in Northern Ireland.


Richard wants to use his NI Residency to develop links (comparative or contrasting) to his continuing project at Gibside in order to encourage dialogue and exchange of ideas, themes and projects. He is also interested in building relationships which will help him to develop his initial ideas and lines of enquiry and also to test/evaluate his working methods and visual approach.

He will be visiting Belfast between May-September 2012 and would be keen to use his time here to:

  • Visit and visually explore local National Trust sites
  • Gather information about their rich history (local, social and political)
  • Identify and where possible view related photographic archive images and materials
  • Discover plans, conservation schemes, restrictions, artefacts, antiques and oddities related to the sites
  • Meet with and where possible interview people who work with or have lived/worked on National Trust sites, including: Owners, Guides, Rangers, Volunteers, Historians and Conservators and Local, Recreational, Tourist, Educational and Historical groups.
  • Initiate discussion around past and continued use of the sites.

Richard is also interested in discovering potential ideas and themes for a larger project/exchange between himself, the “Woodcutter Studio”, the NE England and NI based galleries, artists and communities.

Richard will be delivering a talk in the Exchange Space at Belfast Exposed ………..

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