One of the new portraits acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. Singer Jake Bugg as photographed by Julian Broad.
One of the new portraits acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. Singer Jake Bugg as photographed by Julian Broad.

NPG Connects With Nottingham

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The National Portrait Gallery in London has acquired four new portraits with the help of GCSE students from Nottingham.

As part of Creative Connections: Nottingham, 22 photography students from Farnborough Academy, in Clifton, have created a series of works which respond to the themes of identity, pride and place. On a research visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London, the group took inspiration from the Collections and explored portraits of famous faces who have shaped and influenced Nottingham – including D.H Lawrence, Ada Lovelace and Paul Smith – and noticed that a few of their favourite icons were missing. Their recommendations led to the acquisition of four new photographs, and now portraits of Magistrate Eric Irons, footballer Viv Anderson, singer Jake Bugg and actor Vicky McClure will be exhibited, both at the National Portrait Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary, alongside the students’ own work.

The project itself has allowed the students to be mentored by artist and photographer Katherine Green, who has been teaching them how to best capture the spirit of the people and places that make up their community. Throughout, they have visited key places and met local people, finding out about the residents’ lives, backgrounds and histories. Such research has informed their photographic approach and has seen them use different framing, lighting and technical skills to capture people’s interests and personalities, foregrounding their role within their community. She says: “It’s been a great pleasure working with the students at Farnborough Academy, they’ve been learning about documenting their local community and have proved to be sensitive and mature in their approach. The community of Clifton have been very welcoming and supported the students by taking part in photo shoots and interviews.”

The students’ work, including their research into the history of Clifton, will be exhibited in two major international art galleries – Nottingham Contemporary and the National Portrait Gallery – and will also appear alongside the four new portraits. Students, their families and local people will  be invited to launch events at both galleries, celebrating the community spirit of Nottingham alongside national partners. The exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary is on display from 19 July – 31 August, Tuesday to Sunday 11am – 3pm. The exhibition will open at the National Portrait Gallery in London later on in the year, from 4 October 2017  – 25 February 2018.

This is the first time that Creative Connections has ventured outside of London since its launch in 2012. Devised by the National Portrait Gallery, it has previously taken place in four schools across London, and is designed to inspire young people, raise aspirations and support their creative development. The partnership with Farnborough Academy is part of a pilot scheme, and Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director at the National Portrait Gallery, said: “Through this pilot we are seeking to extend the project and build a way of working with different types of museums and galleries nationally.” You can find out more about the project here.

Kids in Museums are always thrilled to hear about the lasting and positive impact young people are having on heritage. Have you got a story? Get in touch at [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you!

Becky MacNaughton, News Editor

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