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See all events for BRASS : Durham International Festival
Big Meetings: Julian Germain
The continuing popularity of the annual Durham Miners’ Gala is the subject of this new exhibition.
Big Meetings features the work of photographer Julian Germain, who was invited to experience and chronicle last year’s event.
Part of Brass: Durham International Festival 2012, the exhibition, which runs from Saturday, 30 June until Sunday, 9 September, sets out to provide a broader and more significant representation of the gala than has previously been offered.
Attended by more than 100,000 people, the Big Meeting is one of the largest political events in Europe.
Julian was invited to document the meeting itself, including the parade, blessing of the banners in Durham Cathedral and the speeches, but was also given the opportunity to capture some of the stories behind it.
Visiting former pit communities including Chopwell, Easington and Esh Winning, Julian photographed local residents with their banners, brass bands in their practice rooms and activist groups meeting ahead of the gala.
His pictures explore the ideas of identity and cultural tradition and question the nature of politics at a point in history when it is widely held that Socialist ideals have been buried by consumerism.
Sally Dixon, Durham County Council arts team leader, said: “The County Durham coalfields, which once employed a staggering 170,000 people, have now all gone. However, the annual Miners’ Gala maintains a vital and defiant presence.
“It provides an outlet for local communities to reflect on their social, cultural, political and industrial heritage and this exhibition is an attempt to reflect that. The gala is also the highlight of the year for the 70 or more brass bands that lead the parade so it is only fitting that Julian’s work is displayed as part of BRASS.”
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DH1 5TU 54.784492, -1.581093
→ Durham 8 min walk