John Rylands Library
Saturday, September 2, 2023
12:00 AM
150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH
North West England
Castlefield Gallery

Meet at 9am at Oxford Road station for optional walk
or meet at 10:15 at John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH

SPARK #15: Photos from Plants is hosted by lens-based artists Sara Davies and Helena Lee. The session will focus on photography, looking at works in The John Rylands Library’s photographic collection with links to landscape and the environment with Library Imaging Manager Gwen Riley Jones. Participants will also make their own anthotypes – a type of photographic image created with an emulsion made from photo-sensitive plant parts such as crushed flower petals.

Please register on Eventbrite at

Sara Davies is a PhD candidate and Lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Using a combination of photography, performance and other mark making practices her art practice explores displacement, notions of belonging and our relationship to place. Sara writes both academically and poetically about her practice and she also has a keen interest in Kurbits painting – a decorative folk art painting style from Sweden.

Helena Lee is a Swedish photographic artist who has been living in the UK since 1994. Helena came to the UK to study art and brought her Swedish influences and visual language with her. In her artwork, she always aims to strip things back, removing unnecessary visual information to focus on the essence of an idea or an image. She is also interested in highlighting the beauty that she finds in everyday experiences, be that a city walk or an emerging flower growing in our garden.

Gwen Riley Jones is a socially engaged practitioner and photographer, collaborator, educator based in Greater Manchester. With a professional background working with cultural heritage collections, her personal practice explores themes of identity and environment, through place and belonging. Gwen also works as the Imaging Manager at John Rylands Research Institute and Library, leading imaging activity and development to support research, teaching and public engagement.

SPARK #15 follows on from Castlefield Gallery’s SUSTAIN programme focussed on low carbon artmaking and from our first thirteen SPARK sessions at Manchester Art Gallery, Rogue, The Birley (Preston), Eccles Friends Meeting House, Manchester Museum, AIR Gallery, Paradise Works, Editional Studio, Cadishead and Little Woolden Moss and Gallery Oldham. The SPARK sessions are intended to help seed a new Greater Manchester/North West-based network of artists working low carbon.


Accessibility info:

Image credit: Anthotype, tongs on red beet: Bernd Hutschenreuther,used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license