A Community Portrait of Moss Side: Powerhouse Portraits Project

Powerhouse Portraits - a community portrait of Moss Side

A project where local people create a community portrait of Moss Side through workshops in photography, writing and magazine making – that’s Powerhouse Portraits!

Crossing Footprints are proud to be partners in developing and producing the Powerhouse Portraits project by Segment Arts. Anyone living around or near the Moss Side area can join the Powerhouse Portraits Project and be part of a group creating a community portrait of and around Moss Side, have your work featured in a vibrant magazine and exhibition, also create your own photo album to take home.

Powerhouse Portraits - a community portrait of Moss Side

There are three sets of free workshops: one for young people aged 8 to 12 years Mondays 5-7pm), another for teenagers aged 13-19 years or so (Tuesdays 5-7pm), and a third for older adults and seniors (Tuesdays 1.30-3.30pm). Beginning on 22nd May the workshops take place at Powerhouse Community Centre and Library, 140 Raby Street, Moss Side M14 4SL. Everyone’s work will be represented in the exhibition and publication – coming v soon with a launch on 29th July .

The workshops are led by visual artist Leo Macdonald-Oulds from Segment Arts, writer Nasima Bee from Young Identity, artist and photographer Ian Johns from First Cut Media and co-produced by digital artist Kooj Chuhan from Crossing Footprints. This is a fantastic opportunity to create something special that will have both artistic and community value for years to come. The project will create an intergenerational portrayal for a final exhibition and magazine. More details at https://segmentarts.org/ or contact segmentarts@gmail.com .

Thanks to our funders – the Lottery’s Community Fund and the Arts Council England, also to all our partners esp the Powerhouse.

PRESS RELEASE for launch event (main narrative)

Segment Arts in partnership with Powerhouse, Crossing Footprints, First Cut Media and Young Identity present    


A photographic, creative writing and art exhibition at The Powerhouse, Moss Side, Manchester

PREVIEW & MAGAZINE LAUNCH EVENT: 29 July 2pm – 4pm. Exhibition runs until 31 October 2023

Moss Side, an inner-city area of Manchester, is a group of neighbourhoods where diversity is celebrated and there is a strong sense of community and identity.

Powerhouse Portraits reveals the intergenerational lives and stories of the neighbourhood’s residents. The collection features a vivid reflection of people and place through photography and creative writing. It is a valuable record of a particular moment in Moss Side’s history because it represents the voices of people from within the community.

“The project has been all about the participants from local neighbourhoods portraying people they know the way they want to instead of being directed by anyone else” – Leo Macdonald Oulds, Director of Segment Arts.

99 disposable cameras, sketchbooks and notebooks were issued to 40 participants, ranging from 8 to 87 years old, who took photographs and wrote about their lives and experiences for this exhibition and book. They worked over a period of six weeks in a series of eighteen workshops, led by artist Leo Macdonald Oulds, photographer Ian Johns and local poet Nasima Bee (biographies below), in three groups, 8-12 years old, 13-18 years old and senior/adults.

“This project really captures the spirit of all the different communities that make up the Moss Side that I know and have lived in for a long time.” – Deanne Heron, local writer.

The participants attended workshops during the hottest June on record, as Manchester City football team won a historic Treble of all three major trophies in a single season, and June 22nd saw the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain. The exhibition and magazine publication highlight the community-centred creative process and the personal albums produced by participants featuring photographs from workshop sessions and day to day lives.

This outstanding exhibition also includes a 30 year retrospective from photographer Ian Johns, who originally graduated from Jamaica School of Art and has beendetermined to challenge negative stereotypes of Moss Side’s African Caribbean community. The work on show includes selected photos from Johns’ Fatherhood Projects. This work is testament to the role black Father’s play, recorded with the tenderness and empathy of shared experience.

“Seeing men relaxed caring for their children inspires me, it is a wonderful influence and challenge to the negative speculations of black men’s role in society.” – Ian Johns, artist and photographer.

The launch event includes poetry by Nasima Bee (Young Identity) and special guest local peace activist Professor Erinma Bell MBE DL JP. Additional speakers from the Moss Side community: writer Deanne Heron, and photographer Dorothy Ennis Hand. The project raises the visibility of local creative talent that has remained below the radar for too long.

“It’s great to have input by people from the Irish community like myself into this amazing project, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.” – Dorothy Ennis Hand, local photographer.

The photographs and writing document the dignity, wit and sensitivity of the participants and their friends and families. Poignant portraits show character and strength, families are depicted, people are at leisure in the park, children at play and details of the immediate environment are recorded. Collages of photographs speak of a love of life while hearts, smiling faces and peace signs drawn around photographs enhance sketchbook pages. These photographs, drawings and writing transform fragments of daily life from the ordinary into the extraordinary.#PowerhousePortraits  #youthempowerment  #mossside  #communityarts @ace_thenorth @TNLComFund Powerhouse Portraits funded by Arts Council England & National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All.

These photos show the really amazing talent flowering in the room! You can get the sense of the community portrait of Moss Side being created, but at the same time each individual set of photos, writing and the corresponding album will be unique. Three groups of photos here: Adults and Seniors, Older Teens, and Late Juniors to Early Secondary .

Adult and seniors group:

Older teens group:

Late juniors to early secondary (8-12’s) with Nasima Bee from Young Identity:

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