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Students in the frame for 'Youth Rising' exhibition

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Published on 09 September 2021

Susana Hill, Jessie in her Bedroom, from the series Distance, 2019
Susana Hill, Jessie in her Bedroom, from the series Distance, 2019

Ten talented photographers from the University of Sunderland’s BA (Hons) Photography, Video and Digital Imaging and MA Photography courses are having their work exhibited in a new striking exhibition capturing the awkward and emotional moments on the journey to adulthood.

Youth Rising in the UK 1981-2021 at Newcastle’s Side Gallery features rarely-seen photographs of young people in the UK spanning a period of 40 years.

The images, many of which capture the complexities of life, experience and emotions as seen through the lens of student and graduate photographers over the last two years, explore a range of subject matter providing a snapshot of life from different perspectives.

Visitors will be able to see images documenting time spent with family and friends from pre-pandemic nightclubbing to moments of stillness, reflection and self-discovery as well as projects challenging how we perceive ourselves.

As Dr Carol McKay, Arts Team Leader at University of Sunderland, explains: “We’re delighted that our UK and international students have been given the opportunity to showcase their work in such a prestigious professional setting as the Side Gallery alongside documentary photography by some of the most respected photographers in the UK. Our usual end of year shows were not possible this year due to Covid restrictions making this exhibition of work even more special for our students.”

This free exhibition also features rarely seen work by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen and Chris Killip shown alongside recent work by Alys Tomlinson, Maryam Wahid, Sadie Catt, Tom Sussex, Christopher Nunn, Vanessa Winship as well as University of Sunderland Alumni Paul Alexander Knox, who graduated back in 2007.

Liz Hingley, the exhibition’s curator, said: “This exhibition seeks to provide a meaningful space to reflect on the unique and historic experiences of young people in the UK during the last two years and offer a valuable opportunity to those whose final year exhibitions were cancelled. Many of the student and graduate photographs, which were selected through open call and are displayed in the ground floor gallery, portray the complexities and intimacy of life during the Covid-19 pandemic as they used their cameras to share their views and emotions.

“Side Gallery has brought light to critical and often overlooked stories from around the world for over 50 years, through exhibitions of acclaimed documentary photographers. The photographers in the Youth Rising exhibition tenderly document the awkward, surprising and passionate journey into adulthood, that resonates across generations but is at once unique to each. The projects featured intimately explore themes of grief, illness, play, rural and urban life, migration, love, education, homelessness, ritual and race. They are works which with-hold judgment and give meaning to this moment and beyond.”

Youth Rising in the UK 1981-2021 is on until Sunday, October 3rd. Admission is free. Pre-booking is recommended via www.amber-online.com/side-gallery. Side Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.

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