Monthly Archives: April 2021

Vanessa Short

I am a London-based artist with roots in north-west England. I use photography, written texts and audio to document social history, specifically the transformation over time of industries, communities and the environment.

My work incorporates old and new processes: images captured with a digital camera emerge as photogravures*, using a long-established printmaking technique that has been revived thanks in part to the advent of digital technologies. I juxtapose these photogravures with verbatim accounts or factual information presented as textual or acoustic overlays.

I have received Arts Council England funding for several creative ventures. Other Side of the Line, 2015, arose from an extensive period investigating the repercussions of the 1984 – 85 miners’ strike. The strike marked a seismic shift in the UK’s industrial and economic landscape and has great personal significance for me: my grandfather and father were both miners at the start of the dispute and based in Flintshire, Wales and Yorkshire, England respectively. Conceived for the 30th anniversary of the strike’s end, Other Side of the Line focuses on men who crossed picket lines to return to work early believing their cause was lost. A second grant enabled me to turn my lens on the women of the strike, documenting their roles in this apparently male-dominated struggle for a decent wage. In Pit House to Politics, the participants describe their political awakening, which saw them move from the kitchen to the picket line, and subsequently to lives of activism in support of other causes. The enterprise, which

Counting on the Planet, which is also ACE funded, marks a new creative departure. In this project I move away from personal narratives in favour of statistical information expressed in novel ways. It is presented as short texts superimposed over photogravures. By overlaying visually arresting images with statistics about environmental destruction, I aim to confront viewers with unpalatable facts through easy-to-understand analogies.


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