Photographic artist Jo Howell was born in Sunderland in 1985, and has been creating collaborative artworks with the population of the City since 2010.
Her recent projects include:
#Untitled10 exhibition, a commission with the Bowes Museum in 2019. A personal response to an object in the collection.
#WeArExperimenting a commission for The Cultural Spring and the North East Photography Network in 2018. This was a large scale commission that Jo designed and delivered to the people of Sunderland across 6 months. Engaging more than 1200 people with science and photography through community learning experiments.
A pinhole photography project that was supported by The Cultural Spring, and Sunderland City Council. Jo worked with residents from Sunderland communities, and members of the Sunderland Art Studio, to create an exhibition for Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, and the Artrium Studio in Hartlepool.
Other commissioned projects include: working with the British Institute of Human Rights and Arcadea Disability Arts to explore the Human Rights Act. Creating a series of three mixed-media works for display in an exhibition at The Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne 2010.
The Big Picture, a project developed with fellow artists Criss Chaney and Liz Shaw which culminated in a permanent public art work for Sunderland Aquatic Centre as part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012.
As a commercial artist, Jo has produced several moving image pieces for the National Glass Centre, Creative Cohesion, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Arcadea Disability arts.
“Sunderland is a unique City. In fact, it was only a large town when I was born, and in my lifetime it has gained City status. That to me, feels like a town with great ambition. A great part of our identity and our culture is still firmly rooted in the jobs that our grandfathers had. We are from grafters, engineers, scientists, miners, ship builders and fishermen; masculine trades where roles were clearly defined. Those uprisings in the 1980’s of socialist miners against Thatcher’s sweeping de-nationalisation, and the closing of the mines; whilst so real to my dad, and the older generation of my family, is only viewed by me through the lensing effect of those around me. Times have, and are changing extensively. I am glad that I am of the time that I am.” - Jo Howell