Archive | Research & Development

The Missing Chapter

The Missing Chapter is a three-year research project led by Autograph ABP with the mission to augment the photographic narratives of migration and cultural diversity in relation to Britain’s past, and disseminate a visual heritage that is fragmented and dislocated.

In partnership with cultural institutions and other collaborators, The Missing Chapter initiates new research around public and private collections to identify, contextualise and showcase a dedicated portfolio of photography dating back to the mid 1800s. Our research implicitly traces 19th century photographic developments in relation to socio-cultural and visual accounts of the black presences* in Great Britain up until 1945.

‘Animating the past to imagine the future’ is a concept and commitment that shapes the different programme strands of The Missing Chapter. The project aims to bring the photographic archive out of the gallery/museum context and into direct engagement with different communities of interest, inspiring interactivity around historical content for a diverse and intergenerational audience, via participatory activities, innovative public displays, and a range of educational resources. archive out of the gallery/museum context and into direct engagement with different communities of interest, inspiring

The Missing Chapter is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

*In the context of The Missing Chapter, the term ‘black presence’ is a politicized identification of black and South Asian communities and individuals

Responses to the award

We are delighted to support this project, which gives us a fascinating visual insight into the culturally diverse heritage of the UK. It will enable people from all walks of life and all over Britain to learn about the history of migration in the UK and gain imaginative access to the photographic archives of some of our most famous museums.

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London

Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for The Missing Chapter signals an important endorsement of the patient and consistent effort made by Autograph ABP over twenty five years to develop its unique and extraordinary archive. The award marks a significant step change in our ability to make visible more of the critical narrative of migration which concerns us all.

Iqbal Wahhab OBE, Chair of Autograph ABP

This investment enables Autograph ABP to deliver an exciting range of projects across several different public and institutional fronts. It allows us to carry on with our incisive work into photographic history. With this support we can critically unlock known and as yet undiscovered photographs. The Missing Chapter will highlight the significance of these photographs, and foster a better understanding of their relationship to the wider cultural narrative of Britain.

Mark Sealy MBE, Director of Autograph ABP, Joint CEO Rivington Place

Credits

Director of Autograph ABP

Mark Sealy

Mark Sealy MBE is the Director of Autograph ABP. He is currently a PhD candidate at Durham University, his research focuses on photography and cultural violence.

Curator / Head of Archive

Renee Mussai

As Curator and Head of Archive at Autograph ABP, Renée Mussai oversees the Archive and Research Centre’s programmes. She is currently a PhD candidate in Art History at UCL, with a special interest in feminist and post-colonial politics of portraiture, gender and sexuality in Africa and the African diaspora.

Archive Project Coordinator

Adelaide Bannerman

Adelaide is a curator and project manager. Her research interests are focused on privileging the performative gestures and engagements with live and visual performance art, citing individual and group autonomic practices.

Activity Strands

Inspired by the research unearthed, a dedicated programme over three years includes a series of temporary large scale image projections in public spaces, pop up and gallery based exhibitions, the development of digital learning tools, online portfolios, an interactive app for desktop and mobile devices as well as a series of participatory activities for volunteers and young people to produce creative work.

COLLECTIONS DEVELOPMENT

The bedrock activity of The Missing Chapter project is to research significant archival bodies of photographs relevant to the black experience in Britain prior to 1945 held in different national and personal collections. The selected images, many of which have not been seen before, or were inaccessible or unpublished, form The Missing Chapter Image Portfolio.

These images are the source materials that shape ‘behind the scenes’ activities and curatorial work including digital preservation, cataloging and contextualisation of new images, before they are shared with the public for enhanced learning and enjoyment via different project outputs.

WEB APP AND DIGITAL TEACHING ZONE / LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

As part of our digital strategy, we have commissioned design firm Bold Creative to create a free, multi-platform web app that promotes and enables broad user access and interactive engagement with aspects of the TMC Collection.

Conceptualised around the notion of the developing tray used in a photographic darkroom, the TMC App will allow users to select from a pool of images arranged by keywords on a wheel, before developing their chosen photograph(s) and finding out more information, in text and audio. Photographs can then be saved to a personal photo wall, and revisited at a later stage. 

The second stage of the App is primarily aimed towards educators pursuing active learning with KS3-5 students in formal and informal settings. Our TMC Learning Environment and Teaching Zone is a web-based resource that enables access and cross-curricular engagement with culturally diverse photographic heritage material for group activities across the subject areas of art and design, history, geography and citizenship. 

The TMC Learning Environment offers three distinct activities, which were developed as part of action research during a series of workshops delivered here at Rivington Place in 2014. These are: Interview The Image, Analyse The Image – interactive task-based activities to encourage visual literacy and the development of research skills - and the exploratory Journey of the Image. Students are able to compete activities on- as well as off-screen, and print or save their work to a teachers’ dossier folder. Further tools include a glossary, a history of photography timeline, and a series of downloadable worksheets.

Developed in consultation with Maria Amidu.

EXHIBITION IN AN ENVELOPE

In development for 2016, Exhibition in an Envelope will be a limited edition tool-kit and pop up display pack featuring a set of 25 – 30 image reproductions from The Missing Chapter collection. The pack enables groups in a variety of settings to facilitate and participate in discussions to plan and curate an exhibition on their own premises.

IMAGE PROJECTIONS

A key component of our widening access campaign is to bring the archive out of the museum/gallery setting and into other realms.

To this end, The Missing Chapter image projection campaign is developed as a series of site-specific interventions staged in public spaces, where image slideshows drawn from the Collection are presented in different locations to spark discussion and interaction amongst local communities and passers-by.

Each Image Projection is curated specifically for the site, and is accompanied by a special event that helps to animate the space. This can be a photography portrait studio, an artist residency, or a spoken word performance in response to the images.

Image Projections in 2015 were presented at Gillett Square in Dalston, and on the exterior facades of Rich Mix in Tower Hamlets and the Royal Festival Hall at the South Bank Centre.

MULTIMEDIA HERITAGE PRODUCTIONS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE

We aim to work with young people as cultural producers responding to questions about history and cultural heritage; what do those terms means to themselves and their peers, and how would they like to collaboratively present those ideas for the public to interact with?

To do this we either invite or recruit a cohort of young people to meet on a regular basis, and engage with The Missing Chapter collection and associated content in a facilitated environment with discussions led by professionals from the arts and humanities. Participants have the opportunity to discuss their developing research, and meet curators, artists, writers, historians and archivists. Their creative outputs will be showcased online, and via pop-up screenings, displays and other events.

Partner organisations include Mouth That Roars and Hoxton Hall, amongst others. For the 2015/16 programme, we are building a collective of young people to take part in a six-month facilitated course.

PUBLIC PROGRAMME: EVENTS, RESIDENCIES, DIALOGUES & LEARNING

There are several additional strands to our public programme, which are either hosted at Rivington Place or at other venues with collaborative Partners.

Audience engagements off site are based around a community residency led by an educator/arts practitioner, and focused around intergenerational participation in a series of workshops and activities organized for the wider community to enjoy. At Rivington Place the programme is curator-led and invites the perspectives of multidisciplinary practitioners in the arts and humanities to contribute their interpretations of The Missing Chapter in symposia and other associated events.

Our learning programme consists of facilitated workshops, class visits and tours for students and pupils, and are organised to coincide with archive-based presentations held at Rivington Place. Alongside viewing photography from the collection, learners are introduced to the contexts of heritage and history, and photography-based activities.

Black Chronicles II Exhibition

12 September - 29 November 2014
Rivington Place, London

Part of The Missing Chapter, Autograph ABP's widely acclaimed exhibition Black Chronicles II explored black presences in 19th and early 20th-century Britain through the prism of studio portraiture – continuing our critical mission of writing black photographic history.

Drawing on the metaphor of the chronicle the exhibition presented over 200 photographs, the majority of which had never been exhibited or published before. As a curated body of work, these photographs present new knowledge and offer different ways of seeing the black subject in Victorian Britain, and contribute to an ongoing process of redressing persistent ‘absence’ within the historical record.

Read more >

Past Events

The Missing Chapter Image Projection Campaign
 Black Chronicles: The African Choir
11 September - 14 September 2014
Royal Festival Hall, London

Illustrated Talk with Dr Caroline Bressey
Tue 28 October 2014, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Rivington Place, London

Gallery Talk: ‘As Serious As Your Life’
Val Wilmer in conversation with Margaret Busby
Tuesday November 4 2014, 6.30 - 8.30pm
Rivington Place, London

The Missing Chapter Recitals
Friday 7 November 2014, Doors open 6:30, 7pm start
Rivington Place, London

Walking Tour
Saturday 8 November 2014, 4 - 5.30pm
Rivington Place, London

The Family Album Roadshow
Sunday 9 November 2014, 11am - 3pm
Rich Mix, London

Photography Studio Workshop
Make your own Carte-de-Visite
Sunday 9 November 2014, 2-4pm
Rich Mix, London

Informal Gallery Talk with Paul Frecker
Thursday 13 November 2014, 6:30pm
Rivington Place, London

Image Projection at Stamford Works
14 & 15 November 2014, 5 - 11pm
Gillett Street, Dalston, London

Have your portrait taken at Gillett Square
Sat 15th November 2014, 12 - 4pm & 6 - 8pm
Gillett Square, London

Film screening
 Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People
Friday 21 November 2014, 6:30pm
Rivington Place, London

From Dusk Image Projections
Fri 7 - Sun 9 November 2014
Rich Mix, London

Exhibition closing party & book sale 
Black Chronicles II
Thurs 27 November 2014, 6 - 9pm
Rivington Place, London

Free Black Chronicles II Exhibition Learning Opportunities
12 September – 29 November 2014
Rivington Place, London

Invitation to Groups: Free Black Chronicles II Exhibition Tours
12 September - 29 November 2014
​Rivington Place, London

Partners

Hulton Archive/Getty Images is a major visual resource and home to over 80 million images. It is one of the oldest and largest archives in the world, and its contents are predominantly drawn from approximately 1500 accessioned and bequeathed collections, which include unique, photographic materials and visual ephemera dating back to the early 1800s until the present day. http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/collections/hulton-archive

The National Army Museum, London, was established by Royal Charter in 1960. Its research collections, resources and Museum explore the traditions, artifacts, personal stories and the national and global impact of the British Armed Forces from 1066 until present day. http://www.nam.ac.uk

The National Portrait Gallery, London was founded in 1856 and opened in 1896 with the purpose of collecting and exhibiting the portraits of historically important and famous British people. The collection includes over 200,000 portraits represented as photographs, paintings, drawings and sculpture. http://www.npg.org.uk

Mouth That Roars is a not-for-profit youth media organisation in Hackney, London. It was set up in 1998 with the purpose of providing access to media projects and training in video production for disadvantaged young people. Workshop and training sessions are facilitated and led by experienced youth and community practitioners with media industry professionals, who engage and work alongside young people, who are encouraged to discuss and produce media that is representational of their lives and experiences. http://mouththatroars.com

About the Archive & Research Centre

Autograph ABP's Archive & Research Centre was established to address a gap in the visual representation of Britain's cultural history and its diverse communities.

Through preserving and mining photographic archives and working with artists internationally, we encourage progressive curatorial research in order to produce new narratives. Over the years, we have built a unique collection that, through photography, multimedia and writing, critically exploires global politics of migration, diaspora and difference.

Press Contact

For further information, please contact Lois Olmstead at Autograph ABP - phone +44 (0)20 7729 9200 or email lois@autograph-abp.co.uk.

  • Missing Chapter Image Projection campaign, courtesy Autograph ABP / original portrait reproduced courtesy of the Hulton / Getty
  • Missing Chapter Image Projection campaign, courtesy Autograph ABP / original portrait reproduced courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery