Trained in Fine Art, Rae’s work uses photography and text to explore representation, femininity, consumer culture and the everyday. Rae's research aims to analyse the labour of femininity in a contemporary photographic culture where this still remains largely invisible. My research often uses a model of image-making which is largely dialogic and interactive in its involvement of participants. Central to this is the relationship between photographer and subject.Recent publications include Kurl up n Dye, a monograph published by Wild Pansy Press with an introduction by Simon Grennan and incorporating photographs and typography investigating the vernacular in British high street culture. A feature on the book was recently on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. The research has led to a number of conference papers and articles exploring the photographic image in terms of the vernacular, cultural anthropology and material culture.
Current work in progress The Grammar of Glamour; Shooting the High Street involves an investigation into the materiality of photographic media. The project uses experimental visual ethnography that explores relationships between material culture, social space and the street.
MA Social History of Art, University of Leeds
BA Fine Art, Brighton Polytechnic
‘Memory City’ With Martin O’Brien, UCLan. Funded by Sandbox, UCLan Ongoing.
Memory City documents a series of personal memories volunteered by inhabitants of Preston and an attempt to explore the relationship between personal memory and public space. The aim is to open up a dialogue between the towns inhabitants to encourage them to claim ownership over their public space by experiencing it as a dynamic site where private memories and a public present interact. Selected memories will be interpreted into a series of images, all of which may take on a different format and investigate forms of narrative. Photography, moving image, text and oral narratives will piece together the particularities of lived experience. Our investigation is driven by a shared pleasure in exploring the city, as well as a concern for the built environment and the ways in which its inhabitants interact within it. The aim is to enhance a sense of belonging, stimulate community identity and make concrete the emotional histories that exist in the living memories of the town's inhabitants.
‘Kurl up n Dye; an exploration of the vernacular in British high street culture’ With Simon Grennan and Alan Ward. Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
The shop names and typefaces signal economic status,class and taste beyond the frame. The humour in the shop names is self-directed, belonging entirely to the independent trader – to the lower rent, non-corporate, “other mainstream” undertaste that laughs at the aspiring by making deprecating laughter part of the pleasure of aspiration itself. The people and places in Kurl up n Dye understand the operation of glamour’s oxymoron in their lives, making use of the knife-edge between image and reality.
'In 'Kurl up 'n' Dye', I think we are squarely in the sights of glamour.Or perhaps, Rae has her sights set on glamour. Either way, we seem more than anything to be looking down the barrel of a gun…’ Simon Grennan in Kurl up n Dye 2006
‘Inbetween Spaces’ With Claire Corrin and Daniella Watson. Funded by Arts Council England. For Look 07
Inbetween Spaces (2007), explores ideas of marginality on several billboard sites around Manchester and Salford. The bus tour explored the marginal and overlooked inthe urban fabric through the rehearsed performance of a tour guide.
‘Settling In’ With Jo Lansley, Manchester Metropolitan University Funded by Arts Council England
For British Art Show 6
Settling In explores ideas of home and performativity.Using a tradition of artist-led initiatives the research aimed to reassess the diversity of artistic practice funded by the Arts Council in Manchester and to introduce new artists and work to the region, particularly female practitioners. The exhibition was intended as a comment on the corporate extravaganza that is the British Art Show. Taking home as it’s starting point Settling In explores how we move within and experience this most intimate of spaces – the home becomes a metaphor for the creative process, a locus for female activity, as well as a place of secrets and self, of rituals and routine.
Rae, I. & Grennan, S. (2006) Kurl up n Dye, Leeds, Wild Pansy Press
Rae, I. (2008) ‘Some will pay (for what others will pay to avoid): Vernacular typography and the irreverence of popular culture’ in F. Hackney, J. Glynne & V. Minton, eds, Networks of Design, Brown Walker Press
Rae, I. (2009) ‘Shear Class: a visual ethnography of the British hair salon’ in X-cp Streetnotes www.xcp.bfn.org/streetnotes.html
Corrin, C., Rae, I., Watson, D. (2007) Inbetween Spaces, Manchester, Look07/Redeye. ISBN 978 1 901922 63 2
Lansley, J., Rae, I., Tormey, J. (2006) Settling In, Arts Council England. ISBN 9781901922 65 3
Beech, D. & Rae, I. (2003) A Real Work of Art, Lancaster, Folly Gallery. ISBN 1 901922 49 9
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2006 Kurl up n Dye, Cube, Manchester
2003 A Real Work of Art, Folly Gallery, Lancaster
2000 Perm-u-tations, Installation as part of YOTA, New Image Salon, Preston
Selected Group Exhibitions
2007 Inbetween Spaces Billboard bus tour , Cube Manchester
2006 Settling In, 338 Great Western St, Manchester
2005 Mind Where You Look, Gallery Oldham
2004 Joy, International 3, Manchester
2003 Thermo 03, The Lowry, Manchester
2003 PureScreen 2 at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Invited talks and lectures
2010 Memory City; Remembering the City. MAPACA 2010, Alexandria VA. Urban Culture Panel
2009 Kurl up n Dye; the vernacular in British High Street culture. Northernness; Ideas and Images of the North in Visual Culture, University of Northumbria
2009 Shear Class; an ethnographic study of the British hair salon. MAPACA , Boston. Urban Culture Panel
2008 Some will pay (for what others will pay to avoid): Vernacular typography and the irreverence of popular culture. Networks of Design, University College, Falmouth
2008 Kurl up n Dye; the vernacular in British High Street culture. The Street, University of California at Irvine
2006 Towards an Ethics of Generosity in Contemporary Photographic Practice. North West Art and Design Research Seminar, Liverpool John Moores University