Poetry Centre

  • Positive: Chairs and Ladders Game

    by Hannah Wilmshurst

    Positive Chairs and Ladders Game by Hannah Wilmshurst

    Hannah Wilmshurst is an artist working in Oxford. She is on the Board of Trustees at OVADA (Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency); a not-for-profit, artist led organisation. Hannah is currently working as a Photographic Technician at Oxford Brookes University.

    There have been ups and downs, good and bad.

    A photogram has the complex beauty of capturing 3D objects on a 2D surface. For me, photography has the technical skill to capture depths and intricacies on all levels. I hope this image displays a balance of playfulness but also the serious message behind it also. When approached to participate in this project it was a privilege to use the medium of photography to assist in this visual translation of communication, or in some instances, lack of communication. In the interview I heard, the member of staff says: “I’ve sat with members of staff who don’t even give you eye contact at all”.

    Family life is clearly at the core of 'success' (however we define it) and ultimately self-employment would be the ideal. Controlling and elevating the time under your own mind and intentions; in this instance: with his wife and child.

    Amongst the shadows captured here are items from a Chairs and Ladders Game. Ladders represent the opportunities: “I’ve had opportunities to go from point A to point B” and the chairs, for me, represent the interviewee's experience of unsuccessful applications for other roles. A chair can be symbolic of various roles, opportunities and interviews, and for me, certainly correspond with the interviewee's negative experience with his application to the Board of Governors: “So where does this stem from? That just stems from the top, and if the top doesn’t believe in it, then the other people down the structures will do the same and then they’re not going to be interested. So, it has to come from the top."

    Additionally, there are multiple references to struggles in the interview, which for me reside as a sensation of being caught up in a net: “For me personally..I believe it has been a struggle getting to where I have got to...Underneath all that is a genuine struggle”.

    I have chosen the positive print over the initial negative; to encourage the growth and changes that will, hopefully, be made in the future.

    Find out more about Hannah’s work on her website

    There have been ups and downs, good and bad. The people do make a difference, but you can always tell. I’ve come across scenarios whereby you believe you have the potential to carry on something; everyone else seems to demean that potential in you, and even if you wanted to go ahead and still prove beyond that point, you’d still find some difficulties in doing so. I think I should be somewhere above where I am today and I don’t think I’ve got the opportunity within this organization to get there. [...] For me, it’s the understanding that one day one time I’ll be out of here, and the patience for me comes from my wife really, because I think overall she is the only reason why I’m still here.

    An interview with a Brookes member of staff