Winds of Change
Kirkby Gallery, 18 September – 14 January
Winds of Change is part of the larger Culture Shifts project, which covers seven areas of the Liverpool City Region. Communities co-author photo stories showing their identity, interests and lives to inspire, surprise and even challenge a wider audience.
Photographer Tony Mallon has returned to his Kirkby roots to work in collaboration with Golden Years, a group of older women from Northwood, Kirkby, to create an exhibition capturing the story of the area. Although they meet for weekly coffee mornings and afternoon bingo, the women also represent some of Northwood’s key community activists, challenging stereotypes of older people. Despite their age, health and mobility, as volunteers they took on the responsibility for a soon-to-be-closed community centre in Northwood and worked to keep the building open. It is now a thriving hub for the local residents.
These women, some of whom have lived in Kirkby for over 50 years, moved to the area on the promise of fresh air, outdoor space and a cleaner, better life away from the Liverpool city “slums”. Winds of Change brings together a series of collaboratively devised and produced photographs, which reflect their lives and activism locally, and how the area has altered in their lifetimes.
The exhibition also includes found photographs alongside artefacts from Prescot Museum’s collection which relate to the Kirkby area; a key source of inspiration was an album of images depicting Kirkby ROF (Royal Ordnance Factory) that produced a tenth of the ammunition used in World War II. The site was later used by other factories, and this change in use of the land ties into the Golden Years’ experience of living in the area.
Another element to the Culture Shifts project is a new open online platform that anyone is welcome to contribute to, and add their own photo stories: www.photostories.org.uk