‘Help shape the future of Amber’…

Amber Film & Photography Collective

The Screes, Wast Water, Cumbria. © John Davies

Amber Film & Photography Collective came together in 1968 and moved to North East England the following year. It has documented the lives and landscapes of the region’s working class and marginalised communities ever since. The AmberSide Collection holds over 20,000 photographs and 100 films. It has grown out of the work the group has produced, commissioned, supported and shown for over 50 years. In 2011, the cultural significance and value of the work of founder member and photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, alongside that of Amber Films, was recognised by UNESCO, being awarded inclusion in their Memory of the World Register.

Side Gallery and Cinema

In 1977 Amber established Side Gallery and Cinema – a unique combination to publicly showcase work created by the collective here in the north east, alongside the strongest work from documentarians globally. Until very recently, Side Gallery was the only venue in the country dedicated to humanist documentary photography. Following a major refurbishment programme supported with major grant funding from by National Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Side Gallery re-opened in 2016, with an expanded, an fully accessible space across three floors.


Exhibition Programme

Today, Amber Film and Photography CIC, is a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO), funded by Arts Council England and comprises of:

  • Side Gallery
  • Side Cinema
  • AmberSide Education
  • AmberSide Production
  • AmberSide Archive/Collection


Through our exhibition programme, we seek to bring the best in documentary photography and film to the region and to our audience. Crucial to the success of this, is a wide-ranging approach to the selection, programming, curation and delivery of the exhibition and engagement programme. In 2021, we seek to expand the curatorial voice and influence governing these decisions by creating a new Curatorial Advisory Group(CAG). The CAG will include experienced curators and representatives from all departments of Amber (above) and in addition, be enhanced by the inclusion of passionate and enthusiastic representatives from the following areas:


Artist Representative

Community Representative

Youth Representative (16 – 25)


As an Artist, you may be an emerging or established documentary photographer, filmmaker or curator. A Community representative may have a passion for the work of the Amber Collective and the documentary genre and may also be involved in your local community in a voluntary capacity and can champion the positive impact of art on health and wellbeing. A Youth representative may have an emerging passion to develop a creative practice in filmmaking, photography or curation and be able to represent or promote contemporary issues that concern and affect young people.


The Curatorial Advisory Group

The Group will meet remotely via the Zoom platform on a quarterly basis, therefore we welcome applications from outside the region, extending internationally. The Curatorial Advisory Group will:


  • Critique regular submissions for exhibition received by Side Gallery
  • Nominate artist’s work for programming consideration
  • Nominate contemporary themes, topics and issues for exploration and future programming
  • Advise on Audience Development and Engagement initiatives for current and future programming
  • Consult on future partnerships & collaborative relationships


We want to create a diverse, inclusive, democratic and dynamic Group with a wide-ranging age, experience and representation. We want the Group to be the creative driving force to expand and deepen our relationship with new and existing audiences whilst maintaining Amber’s reputation for excellence. Please consider applying if you satisfy one or more of the following criteria:


  • A practicing documentary photographer, curator or filmmaker
  • A passion and interest in documentary photography / film and archive
  • Experience in photographic curation
  • An understanding of the history and ethos of Amber Film and Photography Collective
  • Experience of working in the arts in a voluntary, professional or participatory capacity
  • Demonstrable commitment to a teamworking and collaborative ethos


The positions will be initially offered on a 12 month basis and will require quarterly attendance at the CAG meeting. A stipend of £200 per meeting will be offered to cover preparation (to include advance perusal of relevant material) and attendance.


To apply, please send a CV, alongside an expression of interest on one side of A4 to  laura.laffler@amber-online.com, citing Amber Curatorial Advisory Group and setting out how you meet the above criteria and feel you can contribute to Amber’s artistic programme. Closing Date February 28,2021. We look forward to hearing from you.

Support Amber

Gallery • Archive • Education • Cinema • Production