Neighbours team up for picture project

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Know Thy Neighbour Community Group. © Pic Shannon Lyon JMU Journalism

The Tate has welcomed a new addition to its Constellation exhibition from the photography delights of Runcorn community group, ‘Know Thy Neighbour.’

It features an in-depth look into the area of Windmill Hill and the dramatic changes it has been through.

The photographs and film show how their once-beautiful green land is being cut down and built upon, plus the loss of their local GP centre.

The group says it shows how many areas within the estate have huge rates of poverty and are underdeveloped.

Gary Bratchford, who is one of the organisers of the community group Know Thy Neighbour, told JMU Journalism: “It was about how photography can promote wellbeing.

“The women didn’t know each other before the project but after it they had friends, a support network and health benefits. They were more active.”

The collaboration helped many within the barren area who have felt isolated to make friends with people they have never met before. Members say it provided the community with a sense of belonging, as the group meets twice every month to socialise and take trips out to photograph.

YouTube: Shannon Lyon

It has helped local resident Margaret Hurst develop a newly-discovered talent. She told JMU Journalism: “I was never really interested in photography. I’d never been in woodlands before and I thought, this is amazing, You forget you’re on your own. I thought wouldn’t it be a good idea to start an amateur photography group. There’s nothing like this in the area is there.”

The filmmakers involved in this project alongside were Gary were Robert Parkinson and Adam Mead.

Peter Moore, a local resident who is a classical pianist, composed the soundtrack to the film made about the area.

The exhibition, then under the name of ‘As And When’, was the second biggest attendance for the Open Eye Gallery. After finishing their original eight-month residency, they were the only one of eight projects to be extended into the research phase for which they came up with ‘Know Thy Neighbour’.