Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) announces three exhibitions in new season of photography

International Photography Exhibition IPE 161 – Royal Photographic Society

Brave: The Girls of South Sudan – Kate Holt & Plan International UK

Handsworth Self Portrait: 40 Years On – Bishton, Homer & Reardon


Opening event: Saturday 30 March, 2pm - 4pm        


Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) announces a new season of photography featuring
three exhibitions opening in March.

Jessica Litherland, MAC’s visual arts producer, said:
“We are delighted to present this prestigious and relevant programme of photography. Together, these three exhibitions give us the chance to view artworks of international quality, and also to reflect on themes of family, identity and the politics of communities both
locally and globally.

“All of the exhibitions are free to visit, which means it is a fantastic opportunity for as many people as possible to come and see some of the world’s most exciting photography.”


Royal Photographic Society: International Photography Exhibition IPE 161

Saturday 30 March – Sunday 12 May | First Floor Gallery | Free

The Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition is the world’s longest running photographic exhibition, having been held almost every year since 1854.

This year 7327 entries were submitted to the open-call from over 60 countries, from which 189 were selected for a shortlist. 54 photographers were selected to exhibit in IPE 161 including the winners: Catherine Hyland (Gold Award), Christopher Bethell (under 30’s Gold Award), Alys Tomlinson (Silver Award) and Oli Kellett (Bronze Award).

Presenting 100 beautiful, strong and accomplished images by 54 contemporary photographers, the IPE 161 will tour the UK through 2019, with the showing at MAC the only opportunity to view the exhibition in the Midlands.

See more about the exhibition on our website here: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/international-photography-exhibition-ipe-161

Brave: The Girls of South Sudan – Kate Holt & Plan International UK

Saturday 30 March – Sunday 19 May | People’s Postcode Lottery Community Gallery | Free



Global children’s charity Plan International UK presents Brave: The Girls of South Sudan, a powerful exhibition by award-winning photojournalist Kate Holt, showing girls’ everyday lives as they survive in the world’s youngest country, facing conflict, violence and hunger.

Since independence in July 2011, armed conflict, economic insecurity and chronic underdevelopment in South Sudan has led to one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises, with over 4 million people displaced and 7 million without enough food to eat. As the girls in this exhibition will tell you, hunger remains a daily challenge. From struggling to breastfeed to not being able to concentrate in school, not having enough to eat affects every part of their lives.

See more about the exhibition on our website here: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/brave-the-girls-of-south-sudan

Handsworth Self Portrait: 40 Years On
Derek Bishton, Brian Homer & John Reardon

23 March – 2 June | Arena Gallery | Free

In 1979 Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and John Reardon created a pop up photography studio on the street outside a terraced house in Grove Lane, Handsworth, Birmingham.

Instead of taking the photographs themselves, they invited passers-by to take their own image, passing them the shutter release so they could control the decisive moment of how to present themselves and when they were ready for the picture to be taken.

More than 500 people stopped by to take part in this ground-breaking ‘selfie’ project – some alone, some with friends or family, some striking formal poses, others being more playful. 

Now, 40 years on, this exhibition presents 44 original photographic prints made by John Reardon at the time, kindly on loan from Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, alongside more than 200 images curated from the original negatives by Derek Bishton which have never before been seen in public. Selected portraits will also be enlarged on vinyl across the entire width of the interior wall of MAC’s café.

See more about the exhibition on our website here: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/handsworth-self-portrait-40-years-on

Handsworth Self Portrait © Bishton, Homer & Reardon

Handsworth Self Portrait © Bishton, Homer & Reardon