The Side Gallery, 5-9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3JE – Visit Now
The Side Gallery can be found on a small medieval street down by Newcastle’s Quayside. The Gallery is housed in an old warehouse, which in itself is a fantastic building to explore. Once you have entered the gallery, you are standing in one of the most important collections of film and photography in the British Isles. The Side Gallery is run by Amber Film and Photography Collective and was founded in 1977. This small group of photographers were committed to capturing the day-to-day life of people though the medium of film, and have managed to do so for over fifty years. This small gallery utilises photographs, films and slides to show the story of day-to-day life, political engagement (and disengagement) and class as played out in normal people’s lives.
It is such an important gallery that the UNESCO Memory of the World register states that the Side Gallery is of ‘Outstanding national value and importance to the United Kingdom’, which is due in part to their member Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s fantastic documenting of the Byker area and its transformation over the years.
The UNESCO Memory of the World register states that the Side Gallery is of ‘Outstanding national value and importance to the United Kingdom’
They have made a number of films including the Coalfield Trilogy which showed the changes to North East life from 1997-2007, and host their own cinema, The Side Cinema. It was founded in 1979 and started as a ‘debate cinema’ to promote rigorous discussion and the collective enjoyment of film.
Exhibitions occur throughout the year and show a range of their members’ work that highlight parts of the human experience that can often be overlooked, hidden or missed as we go through our daily lives. The Side Gallery and Cinema persists as a presence in Newcastle, throughout the various emergent trials and challenges of our contemporary, documenting them as they occur. It is one of the best collections of the humanist documentary tradition in the British Isles. The best way to support them is to buy one of their films on their online shop.