North: Identity, Photography, Fashion
Join OCA tutor Derek Trillo on the 4 March in Liverpool to visit North: Identity, Photography, Fashion
This promises to be an intriguing multi-disciplinary exhibition referencing images, fashion and their impact on the culture of the region and the wider world. It is a rare opportunity to compare cross-cultural influences that both reflect and shape identity. How we choose signifiers of style and identity is largely personal, but we can all relate to certain aspects that would unequivocally be described as Northern. However its depiction can so easily be stereotypical, confusing and without a definitive boundary.
Beyond the parodies, the North is a region that rose to prominence as the start of the industrial revolution, including the world’s first industrial city. It’s still a major force, as Melvin Bragg pointed out in his radio series Matter of the North, ‘The area has twice the economy of Scotland, if it were a country in its own right it would be the eighth biggest economy in Europe’ (BBC Radio 4 2016).
So how can ‘North’ (of England) be represented in an exhibition? The curators have chosen themes that ‘appear regularly in design and media’. We can discuss whether that is a valid method of identifying the North’s identity, whether it’s possible to represent a diverse area through cultural references, and whether it repeats clichés, or successfully digs deeper. It will be interesting to hear students specialising in different areas discussing how their medium evokes ‘The North’ when compared with other media and how these might interact.
The Open Eye gallery states that
‘…this exhibition is both about the style and cultural heritage of the North, and the ways in which ideals of it – the clothes, the music, the smells, the houses, the men, the women, the communities – have spread and, in turn, been shaped by others through visual representations.’
Also on display are interviews from designers that hail from the North of England, who discuss the impact the region and their upbringing had on their creative output.
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