We have commissioned artist Michelle Allen to photograph Cobalt over the course of a year. For us this offers an opportunity to try and understand the breadth of activity that happens here through the eyes and observations of another. It also helps us to communicate what we do. We hope that it will culminate in an exhibition.
I am a photographic artist and researcher based in North East England. My artistic and academic work is broadly concerned with sense of place, and is often created in response to specific locations. My art practice incorporates documentary, video and oral history often involving some degree of collaboration with particular communities in its production, and has been exhibited in gallery spaces, site-specific installations and community settings. I am interested in revealing hidden histories, or unfamiliar views of places and I’m fascinated by the variety of different perspectives that can exist in connection to any given place or situation.
All images copyright Michele Allen
We Are Sanguine
Over the last six months I have been working on a project in Cobalt studios, documenting events in the pop up space and art studios. In this short time I have photographed a remarkable series of events ranging from live art performances and open studios to community cookery, film screenings, a treasure hunt in fancy dress and dancing toddlers. As anyone who has visited Cobalt will know the space has a very distinctive style and colour scheme which, despite it’s name, is predominantly pink, not blue. At times I began to wonder if I’d end up producing a series of photos lit entirely by pink neon, so I began to think about this colour as a way of titling the project. Searching for something evocative, I happened across the word sanguine, which describes both a blood red pink and also a mood of happiness and optimism (often in the face of adversity). At a time when the arts are increasingly marginalized in our education system and independent spaces are pressured by commercial developments it seems a fitting description for the positivity and determination of artists who continue to make work and build creative spaces in our city.