Just Passing by

This book is the third part of a progressive collection of photographs that sets out a number of stark and intimate images of Coalville, with a focus on Snibston Colliery and Snibston Discovery Museum and people 'passing by' in 2014.

It was commissioned as part of the Transform arts programme established to change the image of Snibston in 2010. It represents a further stage in a journey of exploration of the area and its importance by the photographer Christopher Mear who began his association withTransform as an apprentice in 2011.

Just Passing By is a narrative of place-picking up on the feelings, memories, stories and perspectives of local people who have offered their take on the current nature of this area and how it has altered over its recent history. It offers us all a new understanding of place based on the ingredients that hold and connect us to a location and the way that people engage with it to build new meanings and understandings. Place is a rich and complicated interplay of people and environment and this idea is captured in the work presented here.

Chris has worked tirelessly to edit to a selection of images and viewpoints offered by local people in response to the idea of capturing their feelings of this place at this particular point in time, we are all just passing by - for a short while the custodians of our habitations. His own narrative is interwoven in the process of developing his perspectives of Coalville and its surroundings over his lifetime in the area and he blends this well while allowing other voices to tell their small part of this larger story.

As this book is published the Transform programme comes to its natural end having commissioned a significant body of work, of and about this place and the collections of the museum, which inhabit Snibston Discovery Museum today. This book is something of a farewell too, but it looks to a future as well as celebrating or bemoaning a past - it is after all just set in a moment in time.

Just Passing By successfully marries together individual views to build a collective story - not a polemic, but a story which suggests a strong sense of ownership and loss.

Chris has worked closely with Tom Box, a designer, originally from Coalville and a regular part-time worker at Snibston in his student years. Their collaboration and skills provide a keen and perceptive study in print.

Just Passing By is a fitting final project output for Transform, and does what the project aimed to achieve, offering a different perspective and indeed changing the image of Snibston.

Maurice Maguire, Snibston Discovery Museum, 2014.

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