Anne Douglass
The universal desire to belong, to call some place home, often invents culture.  Optimistically it is our place of residence which forms the foundation to our culture’s identity, however one city, one country could never confidently summarize the concept of ‘My City.’ Rather than addressing the twinning of Sunderland and Essen, these Mosaics, compiled of several places by many people, create a symbolic mask of eventful places in Essen to represent the diversity and complexity that is identity.

Josh Cockroft

Location Unseen
Commonly, tourist locations are photographed in an appealing, albeit stereotypical manner to attract visitors. Location Unseen uses alternative viewpoints to create an unsettling mood and make us consider what is outside the advertised image.

Paula Korte

My work draws inspiration from the Twin City-relationship of the cities of Essen and Sunderland.

Naomi Pugh

The photographic postcard of the “Winchester Castle” depicts my grandmother’s life as she travelled from South Africa to Britain, to begin life again. It features a treasured travel identity card that she used everyday in London, where she lived for the rest of her life, never forgetting her fear of being restricted by police to leave South Africa in 1947. By creating a photocollage these mementos become moments in time that a camera could not capture and touch upon the story of her migration.

Ian Robert Simpson
My work sought to explore the interactions that take place between ourselves and the world around us, how we shape that world in different ways. I also wanted to take into account how a billboard is a means of communicating a message to viewers and wanted a message that would reflect the ambiguities inherent in our relationship with nature.

Sam Henderson

The images created for this project come from my observations of the cities of Essen and Sunderland. Both are rich in industrial heritage and the people of these cities have had a history of working hard and playing hard. With this intense passion both cities and cultures have a strong football identity. I have chosen to explore this connection by taking this theme into still life landscapes, not about teams and cultural differences but the spirit of the sport which they share.

Nicholas Gray
When I visited Essen, Germany in May 2010 I first took notice of the differences, for instance how green and clean the place is; as I became familiar with the differences I started to take notice of the similarities. One of these was film posters, whose titles had been changed (but still kept in English) so that the German population can easily translate the title, while the iconography remained the same.
This Summer features a series of pseudo promotional images for non existent movies. The work appropriates the language of western cinema and advertising, using their codes and conventions to imply narrative that are exported across the world. The title is derived from the stereotypical narrated opening to American movie trailers, which is then coupled with the removal of text that would normally contain the title, release date and a catchy tag line to hook the audience. This creates an interruption in their normal vernacular, as well as pushing the audience to engage in dialog with one another about what the ‘movie’ may be about.

Esmé Fletcher

Symbols of Hope
Images of natural phenomena, presented out of context, can provoke a conscious reading which attributes an intended message or meaning: a white dove is a symbol of peace, in isolation; but simply seen eating grain in a farmyard it is merely a white dove.

Gertrude Stein’s assertion that; “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” may attempt to deny that the image or even the description of a rose has any meaning other than being what it is, however the image of a Pink Rose has been culturally imbued with connotations of friendship, joy, happiness and grace – of appreciation, rather than the passion associated with red roses.

The image of Fireweed gained currency as a symbol of hope and regeneration when it grew amongst the rubble of urban bomb-sites throughout Europe during the Second World War.

The irrepressibility of nature in urban settings is also represented by the image of Green Shoots bursting through Tarmac, and in the recent Global Economic Crisis, many commentators spoke of ‘the green shoots of recovery’.

Beyond the accepted formal symbolism of these plants, they also betoken a paradoxical fragility which contrasts with the hard-edged brutality of the built environment of the city, where they are clearly images taken out of context.

I intend them to be seen as symbols of happiness, hope and recovery. Visiting the City of Essen in early 2010 I spoke with young citizens who felt troubled by their prospects for the future due to the economic situation, and spoke of a lack of hope, and a sense of gracelessness and arrested regeneration in their home city.

At the most basic level I wish to ‘cheer people up’, but I also intend to spark a recognition in passers by that the City has survived the days of fireweed in the past, the ‘green shoots’ of recovery are already evident, and there will be happiness and joy in the future.