Ferry Folk exhibition – A community collaboration on display at Museum of Liverpool and Open Eye Gallery

It has been nearly 6 months since I took on the photographic artist in residence with Mersey Ferries. Commissioned in partnership with Merseytravel and supported by grants for the arts, Arts Council England, the project sought to reflect a contemporary view on the community behind one of Liverpool’s greatest assets – the Mersey Ferries. The project ties in with the retrospective exhibition of photographer Tom Wood’s work “The Pier Head” premiering in the UK at Open Eye Gallery on 11 January 2018, and images which reflect the Pier head and ferry life of the 1970s.

With all residency projects I have been asked to work on, I am always looking for ways to engage the people and places behind the subject matter, and invite them to collaborate on how they as a community want to be represented. With such as variety of people attached to the Mersey Ferries, however, from tourists and daily commuters, to festival goers and staff, it became apparent that the invitation to collaborate would be responded to in a plethora of ways.

Fleeting tourists and daily commuters capturing the same ferry crossing I happened to be on, who I may only get to meet that one passing time on board, generously shared stories of where they came from and what brought them to the ferry that day. Portraits were also captured either during the time we met, or through self captured images sent to me later in email or social media.

Some local residents, Merseytravel staff and commuters took on a more in-depth level of collaboration, working with individuals to capture their own personal story – where they are from, who they are and their attachment to the ferry both physical and emotionally. These works find themselves displayed as a series of photo stories on the digital atrium screens at Museum of Liverpool, as well as large portrait map on the exterior of Open Eye Gallery’s building.

A local over60s group, Digital Ambassadors also collaborated with me throughout the residency period to create their own Mersey Ferry photographic project which will pop up across all elements of the Ferry Folk showcasing.

Some of the community collaborators have even gone on to create their own photo-story using images which I either captured or they have created themselves, and these can be found on the photostories.org.uk website.

Ferry Folk pierhead from the water pinholecamera. C. Liz Wewiora 2017

A series of audioscapes capturing stories, memories, song and poetry created by everyone I met along the way is presented within the entrance to the Open Eye Gallery space, respecting how some people prefer to work off camera rather than on.

Finally back within the Museum of Liverpool building, a final invitation to participate is produced – in the form of a sculptural photographic installation, where by the public interact with and decide what images are to be viewed.

You will be able to see the full body of work from 12 January until 25 March, with an opening event on 11 January. For more details why not check out the press release via my news page here

Head Image:  Pier Head School Children, C. Elizabeth Wewiora 2017

Image: Pin Hole view of Pier Head, part of workshop series with Digital Ambassadors group, C. Elizabeth Wewiora and Digital Ambassadors, 2017

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