Films documenting lockdown to be exhibited at Photo Fringe

A project to capture restricted conversations in the city during lockdown, led by the University of Brighton’s Katy Binary, is about to get its public debut.

Working with filmmakers Lilly Murray and John Edwards for a series of films called ‘2m Conversations’ commissioned by Phoenix Art Space, in collaboration with the university’s Centre for Arts and Wellbeing and Brighton and Hove City Council, Katy interviewed over 60 people who discussed their experiences of dealing with Covid-19 soon after government restrictions were introduced in March, and how it has affected their lives.

The six films will be exhibited as part of the Photo Fringe, a lens based visual arts festival taking place from 3 – 31 October, both online and in venues across the city.

Katy, who is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Design, said: “Editing the conversations we had down to six short films was a tough job – there was so much fascinating material.

“The films are a snapshot of people’s concerns around the time of the lockdown earlier this year, concerns which are no less relevant now. Covering topics from food poverty to childcare, work, leisure and more, everyone we spoke to told us stories that were funny, sad, moving and thought-provoking.

“Our world has changed so much in this past year and the films are a window into the moment where people were first facing those massive changes.”

The films will be physically exhibited at Phoenix Art Space in September 2021 and there is hope they will be on display at public venues across the city before that, once restrictions eventually ease.

Duncan Bullen, Deputy Head in the School of Art for Research and Enterprise and Director of the Centre of Arts and Wellbeing, said: “Katy and her colleagues have produced such a timely and relevant set of films and the Centre is pleased to have been able support this artistic commission and to be partnering Phoenix Arts and Brighton and Hove City Council. We’re looking forward to the day when we can view the films at Phoenix and other venues around the city.”

Sarah Davies, Executive Director at Phoenix Art Space, added: “Quite quickly at the beginning of lockdown, we wanted to create a project marking the impact of Covid-19 directly on the residents of Brighton and Hove.

“The conversations that Katy Beinart managed to encourage are insightful, poignant and with humour, which reflects the mood of our society in these challenging times. With the support from the Centre of Arts and Wellbeing and Brighton and Hove Council, I hope we will continue to capture these stories as we continue to live with Covid-19.”


View the films online at Photo Fringe from this Saturday, 3 October.



About Phoenix Art Space


Established in 1995 as a charity, Phoenix runs two public galleries, 120 artists’ affordable studios and a learning programme for community, families and adults. We work locally, nationally and internationally sharing ideas, expertise and resources.


Each year we present in partnership approximately 17 exhibitions featuring 150+ artists. In 2018 we secured two patrons: Turner prize nominated David Shrigley and BAFTA winning writer Henry Normal, who leads our new Friends’ and mentoring schemes. An accessible café provides a meeting place for the communities we work with and a varied events programme for all.


Phoenix partners with Brighton Festival, Photo Fringe and the Digital Festival and is a founding member of the Hanover and Elm Grove Communities Forum and the Phoenix Tenants Residents Association. Phoenix runs the Creative Workplace Network and is a member of the CVAN. We are a partner member of Brighton & Hove’s Cultural Framework, an advisory body of cultural organisations in the city and a committee member of the Arts & Health programme for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Centre for Arts & Wellbeing which is part of the University of Brighton.


About the Centre for Arts and Wellbeing


The Centre for Arts and Wellbeing at the University of Brighton develops research and enterprise initiatives that directly benefit the wellbeing of individuals and communities, innovating in a wide range of practices where the arts improve people’s lives.

The university has a long and illustrious history in art and design practices, medicine and healthcare, and was a pioneer in community engagement and co-productive research. The Centre for Arts and Wellbeing brings these strengths together, fostering novel, vital, creative and collaborative modes and methods through which a range of health and wellbeing issues are investigated and brought to public benefit.

Research in this area makes a vital contribution to contemporary cultural life for communities well beyond the university, while refining the academic understanding of how and why the development of arts and wellbeing interweave.

Our membership includes all academic levels, welcoming PhD students and early career researchers, and extends across the broadest definition of arts and health practice, aiming to discover new strengths through the co-location of creative minds and multidisciplinary interests.

We look forward to hearing from potential partners and new members who can join with our aim to understand and develop the relationship between the arts and our shared wellbeing.


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