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There is beauty in the city - just add a magnet!
A magnet at the Garden of Remembrance in the city of Lichfield
A magnet at the Garden of Remembrance in the city of Lichfield

The Stoke-on-Trent artist Anna Francis is asking city-dwellers to contribute to a project she calls There is Beauty in the City.

She supplies simple, small, branded magnets to anyone who asks for them: on condition they take a photo of the spot that they have flagged up with the magnet, and send the photos to her.

The magnet shows the text "there is beauty in the city".

Photos have come in from all over the world - from the UK to Australia.

A beauty-in-the-city magnet
A beauty-in-the-city magnet ends up at a playground in north Staffs

Somewhere in the photo is one of Anna's fridge-magnets which will have been attached to an object in the photo.

Project

Anna explained: "There is Beauty in the City is a collaborative project with the people of the world. It encourages a reframing and rethinking of the urban spaces that we inhabit - using a magnet as a tool to renegotiate familiar territories."

The project was started in March 2008 and has had over 200 images submitted from over 40 photographers/artists. The project has brought in images from throughout the UK and abroad, including Germany, Spain, Australia, and Indonesia.

Anna says the project allows people to see the place in which they live in a new way, and differently.

But she is emphatic that it is not just about creating a photo-album: "The project could easily be (mis)interpreted as an effort to simply collect and label images of urban spaces and indeed if the project was to be undertaken by just one person or one individual, this idea of 'beauty' could become very problematic.

"But the fact that many people's views on 'beauty' are included in the project makes for a very interesting end result. The fact that many different people are working with this phrase on their own terms means that the idea of there being beauty in the city is open to a wide variety of interpretations."

Get a magnet

If there is a corner of your city that you want to flag up, draw attention to, or label as beautiful, you too can join in.

To join the project and get your hands on a magnet of your own, email: thereisbeautyinthecity , then place it on something metal, with your personal view of urban beauty behind, and take a photo, and then submit that photo which is then shown at the thereisbeautyinthecity blog website.

AirSpace gallery
The project showed at AirSpace in April 2010

Exhibitions

A summary of the works has been shown in various art galleries with all the submitted images displayed in the form of a looped film.

The project was exhibited at the AirSpace Gallery in Hanley in April 2010, and is going to be shown in Spain later this year.





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