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Article: SHIFTS Professional Development Bursaries

Posted on: 7 April 2022

Four photographers have been selected following an open call for applications for a professional development bursary.

Will Creswick, Paul Alexander Knox, Lorna MacKay and Simone Jimena Rudolphi are each undertaking their own professional development, supported by NEPN, peer conversations, external mentors, workshops and a training budget.

In late 2021, NEPN invited applications from NE-based photographers for a new SHIFTS Professional Development Programme. The programme aims to support photographers who wish to explore new areas of research and development, or new ways of making and sustaining their practice. This scheme aims not be prescriptive; but to listen to the needs of applicants and to support individuals to progress in relation to their own needs. Bursaries are be awarded without expectation of artistic output, allowing investment in photographers for their own development

Selection was undertaken by a panel made up of regionally-based photographers Joanne Coates, Ingrid Pollard and Kuba Ryniewicz with NEPN.

The programme will be evaluated by Dr Susanne Burns, who is an Independent Development Consultant with over 30 years of experience in the arts sector, specialising in research, evaluation, strategy, and organisational development.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and University of Sunderland.

Will Creswick is photographer from Newcastle who began making images 10 years ago, naturally documenting the local skateboarding scene in the city. He was particularly drawn to photographing the world around skateboarding rather than the act itself, which facilitated wider themes appearing in his work. Undergraduate studies in Community Development & Youth Work helped him adopt a more critical view of the world and in turn began to further influence his image-making.

‘My approach to photography has always been reactive to the people and places around me and driven by my own curiosities. Parts of my work have a very descriptive style while others offer more abstract and explore ambiguous narratives.’

Will was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2021 and his project ARWEN, a sobering visual account of the damage caused by Storm Arwen, is featured in Then There Was Us: Ways of Living exhibition at Open Eye Gallery.

Easington-born, documentary photographer Paul Alexander Knox works with people to explore changing cultures and how they are represented. Working in the North East over the last 20 years, he has focused on the changes in society and the impact the loss of industry has had on people and the landscape.

Paul has spent the last 15 years developing a socially engaged practice whilst undertaking commissioned work and delivering education and engagement projects. He has worked with communities to document their own lives and tell their stories with authenticity, vitality and pride. In his most recent commission in 2019, he worked with Emmaus, a charity providing paths out of homelessness, both as a documentor and mentor.

Paul has a substantial portfolio of international and published work with clients and commissions that have included Side Gallery, Durham University, James Bay, Republic Records, Wichita Records, Rolling Stone, Vice, FT Magazine, NME and The Big Issue.

Lorna MacKay is an artist working across photography, printmaking and moving image. Interested in heritage, identity and our relationship with environment her work often explores connections between people and place.

Lorna is based in Newcastle upon Tyne, having worked locally in theatre, museums and galleries before returning to education to study photography at Newcastle College in 2016 and latterly an MA in Creative Arts Practice at Newcastle University, graduating in 2021.

In 2021 she was a recipient of the British Journal of Photography’s inaugural Decade of Change Award dedicated to addressing the climate crisis and more recently has been shortlisted for the National Trust’s North East Emerging Artist Prize 2022.

Simone Jimena Rudolphi is a German- born, socially and politically-engaged photographer with a strong documentary thread to her project work.   Simone lives in the North East and works where opportunity take her; documenting a range of important issues such as climate justice, including campaigns in Glasgow during COP26, and political struggles against poverty and racism.
Simone’s empathetic focus is guided by her own need for learning and a curiosity about people and the wider world beyond stereotypes. At the heart of which rests bearing witness, sharing stories, and trusting in our common humanity.

Recent exhibitions include Hope is Maybe (Group, Travelling) opened at Munich International Airport, Germany, 2018; Changing States (Group) NGCA, Sunderland, England 2018; Parallel Voices 2020 (Group) Photometria, Ioannina, Greece 2020.