Artist Commission Update: Easington Colliery Infant School

An aerial shot of Easington Colliery

Drone image of Easington Colliery Primary School and surrounding area

In November 2020 Carl Joyce, filmmaker and photographer, was granted the first AmberSide Trust commission. The project aims to engage with the local community to explore and creatively respond to issues around the demolition of Easington Colliery Primary School.

A Grade II listed building, the former Infant School has stood on the site for over 100 years. Closed for 23 years, former pupils and local residents have been sharing memories and photographs of the school via social media. The Amber Collective has a long and deep rooted relationship with Easington; including photographic work showing the town before the Miner’s Strike 1984/85, numerous films and most recently What Happened Here which premiered online in October 2020. This commission is an opportunity to connect with the community and explore the iconic building in the town.

Carl, a Durham based filmmaker and photographer, has filmed around the site and is working with the local council to get into the structure, understandably, there are safety considerations before he can safely capture the interior. He has identified and interviewed a number of local residents who were former pupils at the school.

Carl plans to photograph some of the people interviewed as part of the film. This series of portraits will feature as part of his own exhibition at Easington Colliery Welfare Hall. Local arts organisation Creative Pop are managing an arts and heritage project about the school and Carl’s work will feature in their outdoor exhibition.

This commission is entirely funded by AmberSide Trust Patrons. Levels of support start at £10 a month/£120 per year. AmberSide Trust is hugely grateful to the current Patrons and thank them for their continued support; without them this commission would not have been possible. You can find out more information about the AmberSide Trust Patron scheme; Carl Joyce’s previous work and the original commission callout.

If you attended the school and would like to share your memories, old photographs or objects (e.g. school books) from your time there,  you can contact Carl directly; carl_joyce@ymail.com.

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