Volunteer Trip to Brighton

A retrospective on our last volunteer trip visiting some of Brighton’s latest exhibitions.

On the 17th February, we took a day trip out with our wonderful volunteers to visit some of the latest exhibitions around Brighton. Donning our warmest hats and coats we braved the harsh elements, eager to see what the city had to offer. Here are a few highlights of the trip, featuring some of our volunteers.

A volunteer examining the Undercurrents exhibition at Phoenix Art Space

Our first stop was to Brighton’s CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) at the Grand Parade. Their latest body of work on display entitled; ‘Today’s gift is tomorrow’s commodity. Yesterday’s commodity is tomorrow’s found art object. Today’s art object is tomorrow’s junk. And yesterday’s junk is tomorrow’s heirloom’ has been curated by Lloyd Corporation following a sustained period of research over the last 18 months. Drawing on the history of the barrel as a unit of measurement and symbol of trade – as an initial starting point – the exhibition brings together two installations.

The first, as you walk into the gallery space, is a darkened room illuminated by photographic slides from three projectors. Each collection shows looping series of various signs, adverts and notices from the streets, all photographed by the artists across multiple cities around Europe. Together they act to serve as a reference to both the site of the exhibition and the locations in which the artists found themselves separated during lockdown. As we continued through the exhibition, we stepped into the North Gallery space where we found five shipping crates; each filled with various goods collected by the artists from auctions, abandoned storage units, internet sites, junk shops and street finds.

North Gallery Space, CCA

After some quick lunch, we moved on to our next exhibition at ONCA Gallery. Coinciding with LGBTQ+ History month, their latest exhibition by Brighton-based photographer and researcher Olga Saavedra Montes de Oca (AKA Olisam) documents and explores the experiences of the Cuban Trans-community. Entitled ‘The Family as a Space for Gender Transition‘, the body of work centers on transgender individuals in relation to their families and invites the audience to re-examine and bear witness to a particular way of experiencing gender within a hetero-normative family setting.

As we stepped into the gallery we were warmly greeted at the front desk by Peanut the Pug, ONCA’s very own ‘guard’ dog. Looking around the gallery space we were immediately drawn in by the striking imagery on display. Through the combination of powerful portrait photography and video installations, the exhibition creatively constructs an intimate domestic setting, reminiscent to that of the subjects. All of which is emphasised through the use of small interior details such as a hanging washing line, emerald green velvet curtains and even an toilet with a built in sound installation.

Following on from ONCA, our next stop was to Phoenix Art Space where we grabbed a quick coffee before checking out their latest exhibit, ‘Undercurrents‘. Curated by Louise McCurdy and Steve Geliot the show investigates the wild secrets of Brighton’s starling murmurations, all of which is explored through the use of visceral experiences, physical evidence and multi-channel sound capture of both starlings and peregrines. Alongside this the exhibition featured an installation of starling nest boxes that were made from locally sourced wood in East Sussex and will be located around the city to create a starling colony once the exhibition finishes.

Rounding off the day, we decided to make our way back to the Brighton University and check out the latest collection of works at Edward Street campus. We visited Dorset Place, a tiny project space that hosts exciting projects by emerging artists. On show was ‘Action without Action‘ by artist, Joshua Le Galliene. Utilizing the limited space they had, Le Galliene explores the relationships between sound, space and invisible natural forces by filling the room with a number of bespoke glass bells, each suspended in mid-air by a helium-filled balloon. We were even lucky enough to have a one on one discussion with the artist themselves which really helped give us further insight into the piece. Overall the exhibit was a mesmerizing body of work that left us intrigued for far longer than we would of expected.

It was a really wonderful day and it was great to catch up with one another whilst discovering some great art. One of our volunteers shared their experience:

“We really enjoyed the Volunteer walk around Brighton Art Galleries yesterday – Informative and enlightening!”

Till then, we’ll be looking forward to our next volunteer trip!

A volunteer examining the Undercurrents exhibition at Phoenix Art Space


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