Beyond the Visible: Contemporary Visualizations of Loss, Illness and the ‘Unseen’ in Representations of the Family

Northern Charter  & The Family Ties Network in association with NEPN present:

Beyond the Visible: Contemporary Visualizations of Loss, Illness and the ‘Unseen’ in Representations of the Family

23rd March 2017

1.00pm – 6.45pm


Natalie Laydon ‘The Family Curse’ 2016


Rosy Martin, Arabella Plouviez, Sophie Ingleby, Sarah Tulloch and Marjolaine Ryley

Chairs: Nicky Bird and Carol McKay

Venue: Northern Charter, 5th Floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle, NE1 6QE

This study day will consider how photography is being used to create visual conversations around the lived experiences of illness, loss, medical conditions and the ‘unseen’ within representations of the family. Photography is a difficult medium when it comes to photographing something that is not always visible. The particular visual strategies adopted by the artists explore a range of approaches for circumnavigating the challenges this presents.  Their work raises questions as to how we see (or don’t see) these lived experiences. More than this, through their exploratory visual strategies, such practices are asking if it is possible to perceive – and therefore understand – such experiences and conditions differently? As well as talks by our speakers, a range of graduates and current students will be showing portfolios of work that connect with the day’s themes. There will also be a chance for informal discussion and dialogue around this important subject.


1.00–1.30           Register  / Folios on View

1.30                      Welcome

1.45-2.15            Sophie Ingleby

2.15-2.45            Arabella Plouviez

2.45-3.00            Chaired Q & A with Nicky Bird

3.00-3.30            Break / Folios on View

4.00-4.30            Marjolaine Ryley

4.30-5.00            Sarah Tulloch

500-5.15             Chaired Q & A with Nicky Bird

5.15-5.30            Break / Folios on View

5.30-6.15            Rosy Martin

6.15-6.45            Chaired Q & A with Carol McKay

6.45-7.45            Drinks / Book Launches

Drinks and an informal launch of ‘Image Object’ by Sarah Tulloch and ‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea’ by Marjolaine Ryley will follow the main event. All welcome.


The Northern Charter is a space for contemporary art in Newcastle upon Tyne. The Northern Charter is an artist-led organisation and we provide spaces for artists and art organisations to make, show and curate contemporary art.

The Northern Charter is based in Commercial Union House in Newcastle city centre. We have created thirteen workspaces and a project space within this purpose built office building. The Northern Charter is developing a public programme of events that will support and encourage thinking and talking about contemporary art. Our project space is a large and flexible creative space and will be used for performances, talks, screenings and other events.

The Family Ties Network is a research group of artists, filmmakers and writers who explore memory, space, place and the family in photography and moving image. Through events, conferences, exhibitions and publications, they aim to investigate a range of issues, encompassing the visual representation of family memories, the family album, oral history, bereavement, displacement, estrangement and the family home. Co-ordinators of The Family Ties Network include Dr. Suze Adams (University of the West of England), Nicky Bird (Glasgow School of Art), Jacqueline Butler (Manchester Metropolitan University), Rosy Martin (Independent artist/researcher), Lizzie Thynne (Sussex University) and Dr. Sally Waterman (Ravensbourne, London).

NEPN aims to develop new opportunities for photographic artists and to develop audiences for photography through commissioning and exhibiting innovative photographic work in gallery and new public contexts. NEPN curates a programme of themed symposiums and conferences to explore ideas and inspire fresh thinking in photography. NEPN’s current project DEVELOP offers a new kind of support for photographers, comprising peer learning and mentoring and aiming to develop audiences for photographers’ work and raise the resilience of the photographic sector in NE England. Established in 2009, NEPN is hosted by and is an initiative of the Northern Centre of Photography at the University of Sunderland.

Places are free and should be booked via eventbrite:

To see Speaker Biographies please click below


Project Update – New Publication

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The Thin Blue Line PDF

‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea – Explorations of Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss’ is a new publication (NEPN 2015) and can be downloaded as a PDF – (see link above)

To purchase a signed/editioned copy please email

The publication is £6.00 including P&P – All proceeds go to support the Miscarriage Association Charity

things about miscarriage no. 33: Big Fat Negative

There are some really great blogs out there and I think many women will relate to this moving blog ‘Things about Miscarriage’

things about miscarriage

Today we had a negative pregnancy test.

Another one.

It was our fourth month of trying, this time round.

It was maybe my eight millionth negative test. Eight or nine.

I was about to write “there is nothing worse than a negative test”, but the truth is that ALL of trying to get pregnant post recurrent miscarriage is rubbish. All of it.

There is something very specially rubbish about negative tests though.

This morning I made my partner go and check the result. I stayed, lying in bed, as he padded off to the bathroom. In that moment it was as though time crystallised; the awareness of two possible futures, either one as likely as the other. Which way would our day go? Our week? Our month, year, life?

He took his time. The bugger. Apparently there was a shadow cast by the top of the test. It was a bit confusing…

View original post 222 more words

Art Lending Library

I will be showing a new framed work from ‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea’ as part of the ‘Art Lending Library’. Members of the public can choose a work from the library which they will then have installed in their home by a professional art handler. I like the idea my image might offer comfort to someone who has experienced miscarriage.


Art Lending Library – Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich

A project by Market Gallery and Walker & Bromwich

Project dates:  5 May – 6 June 2015

Opening parade: 12 noon, Saturday 16 May 2015

“Join the artists on a public walk from High Street West to the City Library at midday on May Day, to celebrate the opening of the Art Lending Library.

The Art Lending Library developed by artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich and Market Gallery offers a unique opportunity to borrow artworks for free to enjoy at home, or in the workplace.

The Art Lending Library will be based in the entrance to Sunderland City Library and is a modular structure made up of detachable wooden crates each filled with an artwork. It includes paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, as well as video, and even performance. The Art Lending Library follows the model of a public lending library where members of the public can join free of charge to then select an artwork to be delivered and installed in a place of their choosing. As the artists remark, “the project stands in resistance to the tide of narrowing access to the arts and education by creating an egalitarian place where art can be borrowed and enjoyed by everyone.”

The Art Lending Library was originally conceived by Market Gallery for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art in 2012. This exhibition includes artists from the inaugural show as well as additional local, national and international artists selected by curators from Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland. The project has been made possible through the generosity of participating artists in gifting their works to the people of the City of Sunderland for the duration of the exhibition.

Beagles and Ramsay, Vicki Bennett, Sophie Lisa Beresford, Oliver Braid, Kathryn Brame, Debbie Bower, Jemima Brown, Rachael Clewlow, Katy Cole, Mike Collier, Fiona Crisp, Graham Dolphin, Jacqueline Donachie and Roderick Buchanan, Bill Drummond, Graeme Durant, Peter J. Evans, Graham Fagen, Alec Finlay, Dryden Goodwin, Sandy Grant, Susie Green, Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Henna Rikka Halonen, Dean Hughes, Ben Jeans Houghton, Kevin Hunt, James Hutchinson, Nick Kennedy, Paul Alexander Knox, Dawn Lehrer, Edwin Li, Kate Liston, Rachel Maclean, Ewan Mansen, Russell Maurice, Nicola Maxwell, James McLardy, Arnaud Moinet, Michael Mulvihill, Tom Nolan, Joanna Piotrowska, Ciara Philips, Marjolaine Ryley, Andro Semeiko, David Sherry, Calum Stirling, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, Dean Turnbull, Mark Vernon and Ian Middleton, Yu-Chen Wang, and Eleanor Wright, with more artists to be confirmed.”  (Text from website)

Wakefield at Easter

madonna and child-1
prayer for a baby-1It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness…

when the trying stops-1

During some of my darkest hours when I wondered what I had done to deserve my five miscarriages I took some comfort from the message on an Amnesty international leaflet pinned to my studio wall ‘it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness’ and I will admit I did light a lot of candles and say a lot of prayers. My mother (originally from Belgium) and myself even took a trip to see the infamous ‘lady of miracles’ at Mechelen on one occasion. This seemed to work for my first pregnancy but after three more miscarriages  it was Heparin, Aspirin and the wonderful staff at St Mary’s who answered my prayers. On my latest Easter trip to the MA in Wakefield it seemed higher forces were at work again as I found myself in the cathedral taking pictures, contemplating my work and the progress of my residency, wondering at the mystery of life..and death that miscarriage encompasses, and trying to make sense of it all. A beautiful Madonna and child greeted me and I felt compelled to light a candle for all the women and men  who are grieving for, hoping for and saying goodbye to their babies this Easter.

1 in 4 (02)-1

iv'e made my mark-1

Goodbye baby-1

A powerful male perspective on miscarriage by Andrew Foster

A powerful scroll by artist Andrew Foster explores miscarriage from a male perspective:


“Andrew Foster, award winning artist and father of 2, challenges the common perception that miscarriage only happens to women; exploring his and other men’s miscarriage experience.

On a personal level, he celebrates the lives of the 3 children he has lost through miscarriage. This work is not sentimental or depressing but has an authenticity, integrity and a tenderness that breaks down the perception of who experiences miscarriage.

This work will provoke the viewer with its joyous aesthetics and challenging content. Both men and women will be moved by the imagery that celebrates the everyday experiences of fatherhood.

Included in the exhibition will be a 75ft x 2ft 4” scroll painting, ‘Pain will not have the last word’, inflatable sculptures that act as uncomfortable symbols of joy, and an 11ft x 11ft painting, ‘Miscarriage of Justice’ previously shown in New York in 2011.” Text from website:


Work in Progress an Exhibition in the Making..

My project year seems to be flying by and I’m starting to think about an exhibition…It is always interesting making the translation from book to wall, exciting but also daunting, especially with such a personal subject. Today I had some help from hard working Photography students Sean and Giulietta. They have their own exhibition to plan at the moment though (and it is going to be a cracker this year!) 23_march_exhibitiontest-1 23_march_exhibitiontest-3 23_march_exhibitiontest-2