The award winning, critically acclaimed Secret Cities is a uniquely effective, engaging and embedded cultural project that brings together artists, institutions and audiences in true collaboration.
Led by artist Andrew Brooks and curator/producer Andy Brydon the project provides a platform and focus enabling participants to experience and interrogate cities using photography, exploration, memory and identity to create new perceptions of urban environments.
The project is a celebration of place, a renewal of outlook and a sense of ownership for local people so often lost in the increasingly privatised public realm of contemporary life. Industrial ruins, underground tunnels, abandoned windmills and prohibited places inspire stories through panoramic-style photographs. Each Secret Cities project contains tours, workshops and an exhibition. Prints can also be purchased from the website.
Most recently, Secret Cities has worked with over 150 residents of Zoetermeer to shed light on a ‘New Town’ that has rapidly grown in the latter half of the 20th century. By using cutting edge digital photography, urban exploration, cultural heritage, architecture and art, the project has begun to create a mythology around the town’s forgotten spaces, and has helped forge an invigorated identity for the city.
Secret Cities is recognised internationally and is in development as a significant European-wide project. In 2011 it appeared in the Netherlands (commissioned by Stadsmuseum Zoetermeer) and will feature at Museum Het Domein, Sittard-Geleen in 2013. Additionally, the project is currently in production in Reykjavik and will also appear as an exhibition in Edinburgh 2013-14.
Secret Cities was named as one of Culture 24’s Best Photography Exhibitions 2008. It has developed from a visual arts/photographic and social documentary project into a fully fledged holistic cultural programme – encompassing world-class exhibitions, effective outreach, remarkable engagement and strategies for urban regeneration. The project has received both popular and critical praise and has featured in significant national and international press such as the BBC, NRC Next, The Guardian, the Washington Post and Wired.
“A truly beautiful collection” – BBC Radio 2, Claudia Winkleman Arts Show
“The dust, dirt and damp that pervades these places seem to seep out of the pictures, turning them from dead spaces into something approaching fantasy worlds.” – Metro