New exhibition by photographer Mark Loudon

Wednesday, 28 August 2019 23:00 | Posted by 

Unity Bar hosts new exhibition by photographer Mark Loudon

New exhibition running 10 Sep - 17 Oct captures inspiring community arts projects accross Liverpool  

Liverpool-based photographer Mark Loudon presents What It's All About, an exhibition documenting three community arts projects across our city. Catch it in the Unity Bar from 10 September - 17 October. 

Here's what he has to say about the project: 

Working in various community projects over the years I noticed people using a phrase to describe the reason they were involved in volunteering their time and energy to community projects. I’ve heard both old and young people use this phrase which carries with it the implication that no more needs to be said on the matter. “It’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?” they would say.

During the last decade, a time of economic hardship, the fundamental structures of support for those who need it within our society have been systematically removed or sold for profit. Small businesses and high street social hubs such as pubs, youth clubs and churches have massively declined. Some areas of the city were literally laid to waste. These photographs are from three of the projects I have documented during this decade, projects where small diverse groups from the grass roots have come together to build things. Artists, community activists, gardeners, chefs, bakers, musicians, business people, architects, people of all ages and walks of life have contributed to projects like Homebaked, Squash and the Northern Flowerhouse. These projects are far from alone, these are just the ones I have been closest to for a number of years. To me they are more than just symbols of hope in dark times, they are what it’s all about.

Homebaked Anfield grew out of a Liverpool Biennial project which responded to the housing crisis brought about by Project Pathfinder. A mixture of local residents, artists and social activists who were using a building which had housed a local bakery decided to re-open the bakery as a social enterprise, and form a Community Land Trust to develop the terrace. Situated directly opposite Anfield stadium in an area of multiple deprivation Hombaked has had to fight to survive but has grown steadily as a business, an employer, a community hub and an example of what is possible in difficult times. My involvement in the project began in 2012 and has continued until now, as both a photographer, volunteer, and in recent years as a baker.

Based in Liverpool 8 since 2007, Squash are a social enterprise, working within communities to share skills and promote food health and well-being, who believe that everyone should have equality of access to the enjoyment of good food in all of its aspects and culture. Although very similar in fundamental ethos they are as different from us at Homebaked as the North of Liverpool is from the South. It is a joy to take part in their extraordinary events, deliver bread to their beautiful cafe and to photograph their work.

The various differently named wildflower projects instigated by Richard Scott and Polly Moseley have been planting wildflowers in increasing numbers all over Liverpool for about 6 years now, perhaps the most noticeable in Everton Park which is where I first ran into them. Currently under the banner of Northern Flowerhouse and partnering with the Eden Project and LCC , they have planted 6 locations in the city this year, including an area on Ullet Road which is their first venture into the South End. They always bring musicians and artists together with schools and local community groups in their inspiring work.

Mark Loudon is a freelance photographer and baker. Based in Liverpool since 1989, he has migrated through various roles in the arts sector from theatre technician through dance, live art and photography, collaborating with artists, performers and community activists. He currently bakes bread for Homebaked Anfield.

Available to view in the Unity Bar during theatre opening hours from 10 September - 17 October. 

See more of Mark's work at
Becky Birtwistle

Becky is Unity Theatre's Communications Officer.  You can follow her on twitter at @beckybirtwistle