Students’ collaboration with acclaimed photographer now in museum’s permanent collection
Ground-breaking digital images created in a collaboration between renowned artist-photographer Alice Hawkins and students from The Northern School of Art have now been acquired to be part of Hartlepool Museums’ permanent collection.
In March 2022, fine art, graphic design, fashion, costume and photography degree students enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work alongside the acclaimed female artist-photographer Alice Hawkins on an exciting project capturing the contemporary character of Hartlepool.
As part of the project created by the School in partnership with Hartlepool Art Gallery, which was funded by Tees Valley Museums Group and The Northern School of Art, Alice Hawkins was commissioned to work with the students to collaborate on the series of photographs of local residents.
The images were included in a retrospective exhibition – The Female Gaze: Revisited – at the Art Gallery last spring, featuring highlights of Alice Hawkins’ 20-year-career, showcasing an extraordinary panoramic portrait of women around the world.
Alice has worked for a variety of commercial clients including Agent Provocateur, Diesel and Sony, has shot editorials for clients including Vogue and British Vogue and her celebrity subjects have included Donatella Versace, Paloma Faith and Tom Jones.
The exhibition examined the power of the female gaze, questioning perceptions of sexuality, gender and personal agency.
Alice Hawkins used the same approach to capture images of Hartlepool residents. The Northern School of Art students were encouraged to seek out models with a strong sense of self-cultivated style and identity, and to scout out distinctive locations.
The resulting portraits are unique – glamour contrasts with industry and urbanity; people and places are frozen in a snapshot of time.
The 24 digital images have now been accessioned into the permanent collection of Hartlepool Museums Service, where they will be preserved for future generations.
To mark the occasion, a mobile digital display of the images – entitled ‘Alice in Hartlepool’ – toured locations in Hartlepool, including in front of Hartlepool Art Gallery, pictured below.
Ahead of the tour Alice Hawkins, pictured below in a self-portrait as Dolly Parton, Nashville 2011, said: “I’m incredibly excited that my work will be exhibited outdoors, literally on the road – my favourite place to be!
“Envisioning the work we made in Hartlepool displayed in this unconventional way reminds me of driving through the desert into Vegas, passing huge lit-up neon signs that seem oddly and gloriously placed in the epic natural landscape.
“Placing the portraits back into the locations near where they were shot is the perfect way to showcase such a brilliant project.”
Angela Thomas, Hartlepool Art Gallery Curator, said: “We were thrilled to partner with The Northern School of Art on this fantastic, ground-breaking project.
“The collaboration between Alice Hawkins and the students produced some superb and striking images capturing unique local personalities in a moment in time.
“They will be permanently preserved in the Hartlepool Museums Service collection and we were delighted to be able to have shared them across the town in the mobile exhibition.”
Senior Lecturer Alyson Agar, who co-ordinated The Northern School of Art’s involvement in the original project, said: “It was a fabulous experience for students across many different programmes to have the opportunity to work with a photographer as prestigious and talented as Alice.
“It was wonderful to be able to explore Hartlepool and its beautiful locations as part of the project and we loved every minute of the collaboration. It’s very exciting and we are very proud that the images are now part of the museum’s permanent collection, and that people had another chance to see them as part of the travelling exhibition.”
To read more about the 2022 collaborative project and exhibition click here
For further information about the range of creative courses offered by The Northern School of Art head to northernart.ac.uk