Preserving and Growing our Living Archive

The AmberSide Trust is excited to announce the launch of a new fund we are starting to support the production and commissioning that will tell the stories of today that will continue to resonate for the next fifty years.

We would like to commission 3 photographers in 2020 to document our changing region – to do that we need help from you. This fund will be supported by individual donations and, vitally, through regular donations via our New Works Patron’s Scheme. As a Patron your monthly donation will directly support documentary photographers to create new work. As a thank you for your support our Patrons will enjoy a variety of benefits, including opportunities to view the commission and engage in dialogue about the work.

The Commissioning Board of committed Photographers and Creatives will select a Photographer to create a new documentary project to become part of the Amber Collection. Our community of dedicated visitors will be able to support the commission fund by joining the Patrons.

Together we can grow the fund to reflect our changing region and continue the legacy of AmberSide.

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50 Years of AmberSide (10 mins)an introduction to AmberSide

Amber Film & Photography Collective

Working in and from North East England, our mission is to enrich people’s lives through powerful, challenging, innovative and inspirational experiences in visual storytelling, that speaks authentically from, to and beyond working class, diverse, marginalised and threatened lives, communities and landscapes.

This year marks the 50th year Anniversary of AMBER in the North East. In 1969, the newly formed collective of artists found inspiration and a home in the tightly knit terraced communities of Newcastle and the thrumming industrial landscape that surrounded it. Through filmmaking and photography they documented the rhythm of life and work in the shadows of shipyard and colliery. By living and working closely with the community they began to grow an epic, multi-voiced portrait of our region. After the work shifted and the industrial identity fractured, we remained, alongside communities and individuals affected, to tell the stories that represent the spirit and resilience of this unique part of the world. In 2011 UNESCO recognised our film and photographic narratives, inscribing them in its Memory of the World register as of ‘outstanding national value and importance to the United Kingdom.’

The Living Archive

The AmberSide Collection grew out of our integrated approaches to creating and supporting the making of work; out of our collecting and showing documentary from the North East and beyond. The films and photographic exhibitions we hold are united by a concern for working class, marginalised and threatened communities. The collection is a complex of stories, which continues to grow:

•      Over 20,000 photographs with exhibitions from many of the world’s most celebrated documentarists – Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Robert Doisneau, Graham Smith, Tish Murtha, Chris Killip, Weegee, Susan Meiselas, recent additions include Liz Hingley, and JA Mortram;
• 100 films made by Amber and by others;
• 10,000 slides celebrating visual culture – housing, townscapes, design, vernacular culture and much, much more.

It is one of the world’s great documentary projects, perhaps the most significant multi-artist body of cultural work to have been created in the North East of England over the past 50 years.



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