New exhibition looks at how Peterborough is changing

Matt Lewis picture by Sandra Keating

Matt Lewis picture by Sandra Keating

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A new exhibition featuring three artists who have spent the last 12 – 18 months ‘in residence’ in Peterborough, working with local residents to help document and make sense of the fast changes that are happening to the city opened today (Friday) at City Gallery in Priestgate.

Hosted by arts organisation Metal, artists Marc Atkinson, Jessie Brennan and Matt Lewis have all been exploring the tensions between communities and developments and working directly with local residents to reflect on the changes, and record their views and concerns through sound recordings, film, and photography.

Having grown up in Peterborough, Marc Atkinson walked the boundaries of the city to reflect on the impact of its rapid expansion. Alone and with local people, he has captured through film and photography, a landscape where the urban and rural meet. These often overlooked ‘edge-lands’ reveal the traces of our heritage, our impact on the environment and the social implications of current trends in town planning.

Jessie Brennan has been based at The Green Backyard, a vibrant and productive community garden and growing project run by volunteers in the heart of the city centre. The future of the site is uncertain as the land is proposed for potential future development. Through an archive of photographic ‘cyanotypes’ and oral recordings made with the community, her year-long project explores debates around regeneration and community land rights.

Matt Lewis has been working with local residents to create sound recordings which capture the ‘noise’ of place and communities living on the edges of the city. These are sites where residential meets industrial or agricultural. The project has focused on the housing estates in Welland (built in the 1960s) and Cardea (still in development). The resulting atmospheric soundscapes explore the complex, layered ‘music’ of how natural and man-made environments co-exist audibly (for better, for worse) and their impact on those that live there.

The free exhibition runs until August 28. There will be a programme of free talks, photo walks, sound workshops and cyanotype workshops running alongside the exhibition.

The first talk is at the gallery this Saturday (23rd) from 1.30pm to 4pm when celebrated writer and historian Ken Worpole will discuss the role of landscape as heritage and as a site of crucial contemporary debates about the value and meaning of place in a modern, post-industrial society. He will also reflect on the history of garden cities and new towns, and the political and social factors that continue to shape and influence communities.

Marc Atkinson will also be discussing his project Along the Outskirts.

All workshops and talks are free but booking is essential.

To book or for details of other talks and workshops visit www.metalculture.com or call Metal on 01733 893 077.