Photography Grill: Connecting Creatives in Cardiff
Celia Jackson

Photographers can be tricky to deal with: I know, because I am one.

However, if you were fortunate enough to attend one of our new Photography Grills at KIN+ILK Capital Quarter, you’ll have spent time with the nicest bunch of photographers and other creatives you could ever hope to meet. And the good news is, there will be another #PhotographyGrill coming soon!

The KIN+ILK Grill is the brainchild of Alex Jenkins (photographer and KIN+ILK owner). The concept is very simple. Students and young or emerging practitioners are invited to present their work to professionals from a range of relevant disciplines in order to receive feedback and advice. The evening begins with 45 minutes for industry creatives to network and catch up with friends over a coffee or a glass. Then the visitors arrive, the ‘grillers’ introduce themselves, and the grilling begins. Rather like speed-dating, each pair talks for ten or fifteen minutes before the compère’s spoon hits the glass – the signal for students to stand and move on to the next professional. It’s intense, challenging, and relies heavily on the generosity of spirit and kindness of the professionals, who willingly give their time to help what one described as the ‘next generation’.

The first Photography Grill, in November 2016, was a great success by everyone’s standards. The ‘grillers’ were vocal in their appreciation of the chance to view and discuss work with new practitioners, while the latter found the constructive criticism they received to be just that: uncompromising, even tough at times, but of real value. So we held a second event just before Christmas, complete with warm mulled wine (thank you, Alex!) and with a different mix of attendees. Again, the feedback was very positive from all parties, so we’re already planning a third Photography Grill for February 2017.

There is something about the KIN+ILK philosophy that encourages the kind of altruism exemplified by these events. It’s elusive and hard to define, but has to do with the open minds – and open hearts – of those who own and work there. This spirit of openness and of actively seeking to create new connections is at the heart of my practice as a photographer and as an academic. How exciting, therefore, to be playing a part in developing a community of creative people who love sharing work and ideas, and who are so generous with their time and their expertise! 

Look out for news about our next Photography Grill, as well as more info about our fabulous – and growing – collection of ‘grillers’, including links, bios and updates. For the moment, note the good news that Kate Mercer will be teaching the Ffotogallery Photographing People module from January 2017. Kate is a photographer based in Newport (South Wales, UK). With Fine Art as well as commercial practice, her work explores cultural uses of photography, particularly human relationships with memory and perception through photographs. Find out more about Kate’s work on her website here.

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