Woodlawners – photographic exhibition and oral history

By Gemma Nash and Michele Selway

Produced in August 2012, this exhibition documents the lives and living arrangements of the residents of Woodlawn Court, Manchester.  Built in the 1930’s, Woodlawn Court comprises of 78 flats and is situated in the leafy suburban area of Whalley Range.  A few of the older residents have lived there since it was first built, and still refer to the housing development as Whalley House – home of local entrepreneur Samuel Brooks. Whalley House was demolished to make way for the flats, but within the spacious grounds you can still find a few traces of the original structure.

inspiration for the project came from Daniel Meadow’s and Martin Parr’s exhibition ‘June Street’. Originally the work was presented on a cloud based virtual canvas, with an aim to create a similar digital story with a more contemporary feel. Because we wanted to provide the audience with an insight into the history of the area and relationships between neighbours, we recorded residents speaking about their experience of living in the area, and how it has changed.  Both the photographs and oral archive touch on issues of diversity, isolation and community spirit.

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Funded by: Drake Music, Furtherfield and Stockport University