48 Hours in Easington

 Visual response 

 

Easington is listed as one of the least diverse places in Britain with only 2% of their population coming from an ethnic minority. I wanted to go somewhere I would feel out of my comfort zone and I thought Easington sounded like it might do exactly that.

 

Over the 2 days I spent in Easington I was pleasantly surprised by how welcomed I felt. Everyone I spoke to was, yes surprised I was there, but also interested and keen to answer any questions I asked. I learnt all about how the mines closed down, the oil explosion that killed 89 men in 1989 and the general effects the closure of the mines had had on Easington. What struck me most was the pride the people had in their heritage and the strength of their community. The people I meet were determined to not allow Easington to crumble as it easily could in such hard circumstances.

 

Visually I wanted to express the change from my initial impressions of the people I meet to the altered one once I had interacted with the community. I did this by creating faces using contour lines. The contour lines act as wrinkles and visualise the strong sense of pride and ownership the inhabitants have for Easington. Wrinkles to me also visually represent an individuals story and experience of life.

 

I used the colours of brands that I noticed on my trip. I did this to reflect the tendency for brands and people to be easily associated. Individuals are not products of brands but of the experiences and environment they are surrounded by. With the portraits I created I intend to place them on closed shop shutters. This was a visual that stuck with me as I saw many a closed shop shutter on my stay in Easington. It represents on a small scale the closure of the mines and the harrowing question to whether Easington will ever recover and prosper as it once did.

What I valued most from the experience is the realisation of my own subconsious bias judgements that I had made on a group of people based on a statistic I had read online. By confronting and interacting with the people I had stereotyped I challenged and changed my own unjustified opinions.