Local ME support groups in Essex and on the South Coast are being offered an unusual chance to put on ‘a bit of a do' – thanks to a three-way partnership between a new charity arts organisation, photographic artist Juliet Chenery-Robson and ME North East.
The new charity, Life with Art, has secured empty offices in Victoria Avenue, Southend, and on the Solent Business Park in Fareham to display 70 photos from two of Juliet's award-winning shows about the invisible nature of M.E. Both these shows will open in June.
“The pattern's been set at a former Orange call centre in Peterlee, Co Durham, where Juliet is already holding a Life with Art exhibition. And there's a chance now for any local ME group group that wants to use the space in Southend and Fareham to tell me what they'd like to do”, said Jennifer Elliott, chief executive of ME North East, who counts Juliet among her trustees.
An ME North East open evening was held in the Peterlee premises – the Gemini Building in Whitehouse Way – on May 13 and this show continues until June 17. Juliet has already nominated ME North East and ME Research UK to receive grants from Life with Art.
Juliet, who's studying for a PhD in photography at Sunderland University, described how Life with Art is moving with almost military precision to roll out her exhibitions nationwide.
“They've already got four sets of my photos printed up, and the easels to go with them. I don't have to do any of the expensive printing or framing myself and I won't physically have to be everywhere, all at the same time”, said Juliet, whose 19-year-old daughter Emilia (pictured above) is featured in some of her work. Emilia has had ME for the past six years.
Life with Art have ambitious plans to launch Juliet's show in 16 separate venues round the UK this year – all inside empty offices and businesses.
Emilia was on the front cover of the ME Association's quarterly ME Essential magazine two years ago – with a double-page spread about her mother's photography inside. Unfortunately, Juliet was behind the lens at Peterlee so we have no photos of the photographer herself there!
If you are part of a local group and want to talk with Jennifer Elliott about any of the forthcoming exhibitions to see how you can use them to your advantage, please phone 0191 389 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured left at the ME North East open evening in the former Orange call centre are, from the left: ME North East chairman Phil Burns, Bev, Arabella Plouviez, Peter Fryer, Emilia Chenery-Robson, Callum Chenery-Robson, Michael Chenery-Robson (with baby Liliana), Jennifer Elliott, Kath Hague and Joan Beech.