Research Output

Format International Photography Festival, Derby, Project Sixteen

  What’s it like to be sixteen years old now? This is the central thread running through Scottish Sweet Sixteen, a long term photographic project exploring how social background, gender, ethnicity or location might influence aspiration.

Gerrard’s Scottish Sweet Sixteen, focuses on young people in Scotland, from 2014 – 2019. The work began at the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 when sixteen year olds had been given the opportunity to participate at the ballot box for the first time in a UK political vote. Now, at this time of increasing national and international anxiety, these young people are shifting from adolescence to become the adults who will live in a politically reshaped country, divorced from the Europe Union. The project continues to offer these often unheard young people a voice at a formative time in their lives.

Sixteen is an age of transition, of developmental, and of social change. The sitters are photographed in locations which mean something to them, either at home, work or where they socialise. They are asked about their lives, politics, identity, their interests, hopes and fears about the future and who or what sustains them.

In 2014 photographer Craig Easton was making similar work in Liverpool, and between them a group project was conceived including some of the UK’s foremost documentary portrait photographers to collaborate with young people across the country to make a visual vox pop.

Working with photography, film, social media, audio recordings and writing, the larger project, Project Sixteen brings together the faces and voices of more than one hundred young people from diverse communities across the United Kingdom. Locations span large conurbations such as London, Birmingham and Manchester; isolated areas in the South West, Northern Ireland, the Scottish Islands and post- industrial towns of the North.

Photographers commissioned for Sixteen include Linda Brownlee, Lottie Davies, Craig Easton, Jillian Edelstein, Stuart Freedman, Sophie Gerrard, Kalpesh Lathigra, Roy Mehta, Christopher Nunn, Kate Peters, Michelle Sank, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Simon Roberts and David Copeland.

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    Arts Council England


Gerrard, S. Format International Photography Festival, Derby, Project Sixteen


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