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Bristol, July 2023

Throughout July we have continued our @wesportap funded sessions outdoors to connect with nature through the use of the sun to create cyanotypes, which has brought with it experimentation of materials and playfulness through the use of printed imagery. The unusually changeable weather has brought with it differences in our usual participants and necessary adaptations for image making processes and products.

Shifting the sessions outdoors has meant that we have captured the attention of passers-by who would not usually encounter Art Refuge, and our own movement in and out of the hotel in preparation for the cyanotype sessions has brought us into contact with colleagues from The Haven GP service for newly arrived asylum seekers, and we have made new connections with @bristolmind.

Although many of the faces we greet regularly at The Community Table indoors have not been around - particularly when the days of clear skies and strong sunlight have drawn people into town - we have been delighted to see brand new engagement through the visual materials on offer from some of the people who have talked with us over many months, looking with curiosity at the maps, bricks, projector and landscapes.

Reaching across a piece of primed paper, two men used their hands to create a shared cyanotype, while others played with making lines, shapes and using Letraset on Perspex, taking the first letter from each of our given names to fix a moment in time on paper. The unpredictable nature of the strength of the sun and movement of clouds required perseverance, second attempts and problem solving, while the sudden gusts of wind meant that everyone was needed to keep the papers from flying away.

We return for one last photography session this Thursday before breaking throughout August.

Words by Sarah Robinson, Gabrielė Zukauskaite & Amy Wilson.

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