Exhibition celebrating photographer Shirley Baker’s work on the transformation of Salford’s Housing

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Over the course of the past 60 years, Salford’s housing has developed dramatically and undergone one of the most radical transformations in the UK.  The city has seen extensive slum clearance and tower block building during the 1960s and 1970s and today Salford is experiencing again a transitional phase with new build apartment blocks. To investigate the legacy of this transformation ‘The Modern Backdrop’, a project led by the University of Salford, RIBA Northwest and The Modernist Society, is holding an exhibition to recognise Salford’s changes.

The exhibition, beginning on 20 January 2023 and running until 21 April 2023, is being held at The Working Class-Movement Library to celebrate the work of Shirley Baker, a Salford-born photographer who captured the realism of working-class areas in and around her home and Greater Manchester. As a prolific storyteller through photography, Baker’s works garnered attention from galleries and publications, and captured the hearts of the working class in the North West.

Throughout the entirety of its running period, the exhibition will showcase 15 of her most notable works that illustrate the slum clearance across Salford, detailing the experiences of those that lived with demolition happening constantly around them.

The exhibition is being unveiled this Friday, 4pm and everyone is welcome to attend. It is at the end of a sold-out workshop that focuses on analysing how the arts influenced stereotypical notions of the working class

Funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Arts, The Modern Backdrop has built up a sturdy reputation in remembering Salford’s history. In November, the University of Salford hosted their event that invited people to learn about the city’s representation in cultural artifacts.

Dr Tanja Poppelreuter, an academic at the University of Salford and organiser of the event, said: “We are thrilled to finally unveil the exhibition. Celebrating such an important person like Shirley Baker will allow us to keep telling the stories of the often-underrepresented people in the working class who experienced the dramatic changes Salford went through.”

The free exhibition is open for viewing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons from 13:00 – 16:30.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.