Voices and images from the Banlieue

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Banlieue - GlassTank

Art created in response to the Paris Banlieue, the deprived outer suburbs of Paris, are currently on view in the Glass Tank exhibition space.

Voices and Images from the Banlieue celebrates the work by artists from suburban housing estates, urban collectives and residents, which challenges negative stereotypes associated with life in these marginalised communities.

Featuring photography, painting, poetry and audio, the exhibition reveals a sense of diversity, vitality and creativity, to counter the clichés of violence and delinquency. A book of the same title was launched at the opening of the exhibition and an interdisciplinary conference took place on 3 and 4 April at Oxford Brookes attended by researchers, artists and  interested professionals. This multi-disciplinary approach was described as a “breath of fresh air” and “a way of breathing new life into research”, by participant Isabelle Galichon, University of Bordeaux 3.

We were delighted to follow the progress of a group of PhD students and young researchers attracted by our cross-disciplinary events and we were very impressed by the skills and talent of the Brookes students who contributed to the exhibition and related art book

Dr Christina Horvath, Senior Lecturer in French Studies and Dr Juliet Carpenter, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Planning

Keynote speakers were Professor Edward Welch of the University of Aberdeen and Mohamed Mechmache of L'Association collectif liberté égalité fraternité ensemble unis (ACLEFEU).

The exhibition builds on the work of the Banlieue Network, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which seeks to promote exchange of knowledge around the subject of the suburbs. The first conference, Communities at the Periphery: Perceptions and Representations of the French Banlieues, was held in April last year at the Institut Français in London.

Dr Christina Horvath, Senior Lecturer in French Studies and Dr Juliet Carpenter, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Planning, who led on the project for Brookes, reflected on its success:

“Over the last 18 months, we managed to bring together over a hundred artists, researchers, politicians, practitioners, stakeholders and Banlieue residents, engaging them in knowledge exchange, co-creation and interdisciplinary dialogue.

“We were delighted to follow the progress of a group of PhD students and young researchers attracted by our cross-disciplinary events and we were very impressed by the skills and talent of the Brookes students who contributed to the exhibition and related art book.

It is hoped the exhibition will encourage further debate among these disciplines concerning the futures of cities and the existence of disenfranchised communities living within them

Dr Joanna Walker, Brookes Gallery Manager and Exhibitions Curator

“We have just been awarded funding from the Central Research Fund to tour the exhibition and display it in Paris in July 2014. We look forward to this opportunity to reach out to new audiences while celebrating the Banlieue as a hub of creativity.”

Dr Joanna Walker, Brookes Gallery Manager and Exhibitions Curator, who co-curated the exhibition with Dr Horvath, commented:

“The Glass Tank assisted the Banlieue Network with the production and display of this touring exhibition and it has been very much a collective effort, with collaborations with students and staff within the University.

“A small selection of work created during the summer school has been chosen for display, and the identity of the Glass Tank fits well with the aim of the exhibition. As a key learning space, it functions as a hub of cross-disciplinary thinking, with a close affiliation to established Schools in Fine Art, Architecture and Planning.

“It is hoped the exhibition will encourage further debate among these disciplines concerning the futures of cities and the existence of disenfranchised communities living within them.”

Voices and Images from the Banlieue will be on display is in the Glass Tank until 1 May 2014 – further information is available on the event webpage.