University of Greenwich 2017

Journeying Home

Saturday 2nd December 2017 (11:30am-6pm)

Family Ties Network: Journeying Home explores notions of place, rituals, loss and the family archive through the work of Jacqueline Butler, Sally Waterman, Matthew Humphreys and Celine Marchbank.

This seminar event was held in association with the ‘So Cheerio for Now’ exhibition in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, which features photographic and video works by FTN co-ordinators, Jacqueline Butler and Sally Waterman:


Sally Waterman’s autobiographical practice and research explores memory, place and familial relationships through literary adaptation. Her doctoral study at the University of Plymouth (2004-2010) used T.S Eliot’s 1922 poem, ‘The Waste Land’ to examine her self-representational strategies and interpretative methods.

Waterman’s video and photographic works have been exhibited and screened extensively since 1996, including Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales, Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery, London, CCA, Glasgow, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York, and Moviemento, Berlin, Germany. Her work is held in public collections including The National Art Library at the V&A, London; John M. Flaxman Library at The School of Art Institute of Chicago and the Yale Center for British Art, New York. She is a sessional lecturer at Ravensbourne, London and UCA, Rochester.

Sally presented her ‘Keep Smiling’ (2015) and ‘So Cheerio For Now’ (2016) videos from the ‘Letters Home’ project, which is on show in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery. These works reflect upon the role of analogue photography and traditional letter writing through a re-staging of the self as a student in the early 1990’s, drawing upon the diaries and letters of Sylvia Plath, alongside letters from her Grandparents and family snapshots.

Sally Waterman, Still from ‘Keep Smiling’, 2015

Sally Waterman in conversation with Nicky Bird

Matthew Humphreys’ lens-based practice is centered on his family. His parents are both deaf, his father has recently gone blind and suffers with Alzheimer’s; this leads his research into the still and moving image as a conduit for memory and how this can be represented within the gallery space for a wider audience.

Humphreys holds a MA in Fine Art, Central Saint Martins 2013 and a BA in Film and Video, Newport Film School 2002. He is a recipient of Arts Council of England, Grants for the Arts Award and Artists International Development Bursary. He was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 and since then highlights include winning the Celeste Prize, completing a yearlong residency at The Florence Trust and taking part in shows in the UK, Italy, Tehran and New York. His film poem ‘The Lost Reels’ (2002) has won numerous awards and still gets screened internationally to this date.

In ‘Goodbye’ (2014), Matthew uses the iPhone to document each farewell from his parents over a period of three years and presents the dialogue alongside the video in the form of a script. The ‘Living Room’ (2012) and ‘Memory Theatre’ (2016) videos are documented spaces that have echoes from the past scattered throughout. He also discussed some still image works that are based on personal archive photographs, such as ‘Embrace’ (2016), a digital collage of Matthew’s first portrait and ‘Performance for Photo Booth’ (2016) which is a reenactment of a photo booth strip of his father when they were the same age.

Matthew Humphreys, Still from ‘Goodbye’, 2014

Matthew Humphreys in conversation with Nicky Bird

Jacqueline Butler’s arts practice sits within photography, video and writing. Her artwork explores two distinct areas; a focus on family, exploring loss and female inheritance, and reflections on the illusory space photography offers. Currently studying at Glasgow School of Art, her PhD weaves technology (both old and new), and reflects on the history of the medium, she considers herself an adventurer, exploring the terrain of the philosophy and history of photography, to map out landscapes of the imagination. Jacqueline is the Interim Head of Department of Media at Manchester School of Art, MMU and one of the Coordinators of Family Ties Network. She is currently on the Executive Board at Open Eye Photography Gallery, Liverpool and on the Advisory Board of The Image International Research Network.

Jacqueline discussed the photographic work ‘After Dusk: Mourning Bouquets’, which is on show in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery. She evaluates the potency of ritual visualised in the artist’s parent’s wedding album. The work reflects upon themes of illness and mourning through photography. Jacqueline appraised her process of mourning and remembering in the light of her father’s death.

Jacqueline Butler, ‘Untitled’, from the series ‘After Dusk: Mourning Bouquets’ 2017

Jacqueline Butler in conversation with Lizzie Thynne

Celine Marchbank is a documentary photographer. Her work focuses on the quiet details of everyday life. Her photo series tell small, gentle and deeply personal stories through universal subjects. Last year Celine published her first book: ‘Tulip’, the story of the last year of her mother’s life. Published by Dewi Lewis, it has received widespread acclaim; named Photo Book of the Month by Sean O’Hagan in The Observer and featured in many well-respected publications.

A Fellow of the RSA and a Leica Ambassador, Celine’s work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK and internationally, taking part in shows in France, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Japan and Argentina. Her work has won several photography awards including most recently the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, Jury’s Selection for Prix Virginia International Photography Prize for Women and Creative Review Photography Annual. She is a lecturer in photography at Ravensbourne in London.

Celine discussed two personal projects. ‘Tulip’, the story of the last year of her mother’s life, is told through a tender and poetic narrative, focusing on small details in her home rather than images of her mother’s demise. ‘A Stranger in My Mother’s Kitchen’ tells the story of reconnecting with her mother, who was a chef most of her life. After discovering her recipes she decided to cook them as a way to distract her from the grief.

Celine Marchbank, ‘Untitled’, from the series ‘A Stranger in My Mother’s Kitchen’

Celine Marchbank in conversation with Lizzie Thynne