“Exploring the Banlieue” is an image-led exhibition investigating the...
“Exploring the Banlieue” is an image-led exhibition investigating the theme of suburban communities in France known as “banlieues”. It aims to showcase creative work produced in July 2013 during a week-long Summer School organised in Greater Paris by the AHRC-funded “Banlieue Network” (www.banlieuenetwork.org). Part of a cutting-edge programme involving international artists, researchers from various disciplines and young residents from peripheral urban areas, the event was designed to engage participants in discussions, debates, urban walks and creative writing, photography and drawing workshops. The exhibition results from this immersion in the creative energy generated by the banlieue’s cross-cultural influences. The selected visual material is the outcome of an innovative collaboration between artists, scholars, doctoral and early career researchers and members of the user community. These exciting images reflect various perceptions of the urban periphery as experienced and expressed by the research community. They illustrate the diversity of the urban periphery and the fecund synergies between various art forms.
By conveying a powerful sense of narrative, the exhibition seeks to communicate the “banlieue” experience beyond its locality in order to further understanding about urban segregation and provide a resource to challenge negative stereotypes. Focusing on visual images produced as part of our culture which is governed by socially established symbolic codes, this exhibition illustrates the crucial role that visual representations play in the arts and humanities and contributes to our understanding of the social settings in which they are produced and consumed. Generated by cross-disciplinary research and creative collaboration, the exhibited material builds up a multi-layered narrative of disadvantaged urban areas represented from an array of perspectives. The richness and diversity of these images challenge the stereotypes associated with the banlieue.
Creative work from the Summer School, including images, texts and audiovisual works, will be exhibited at the Glass Tank Gallery, located on the ground floor of the new Abercrombie extension on the Gipsy Lane site. The exhibition will open on the night of the 3 April, and run until 1 May.