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When The World Stood Still

In March 2020, normal day-to-day life as we knew it at Bury Grammar School, suddenly stopped as the pandemic took hold. We are currently living through history, and in the future when we look back, we will be incredibly proud of ourselves for working together and staying strong. Look how much we have achieved as a nation, and of course, as a school.

I've often wondered, in the future when we look back at reports and photographs of this time when it is commonplace to see staggered queues at supermarkets, one way systems in shops and hand sanitisers strategically placed for all to use - that we are living through history. When we see photographs of children and adults wearing gasmasks in boxes slung around their shoulders, of them sitting in air raid shelters waiting out an attack – we know these are from WWII. They’re recognisable. Captured imagery is powerful. In ten, fifteen or even twenty years’ time will we look back at the photographs in the media of people in face masks and instantly know that they were taken during the COVID-19 pandemic?

How would you capture lockdown? How would you depict the world we are currently living in? Can you portray this in a still image? So much has happened over the last 10 months and 21 days… Queen Elizabeth II addressed the entire nation at 8:00 PM on Sunday the 5th of April, shortly after this the Prime Minister was admitted to hospital himself with COVID-19 and then moved to ICU. Limited numbers of people were allowed inside supermarkets, therefore queuing outside at two metres apart. Once inside there was tape on the floor signalling a one way system and other factors to help distance shoppers from each other. Petrol prices dropped to £1.03 per litre because no one was travelling, entire sports seasons were cancelled. No Wimbledon, no end of the football Premiership, no boat race, no London Marathon and a virtual Grand National was held on the 4th of April 2020. The Olympics were postponed, concerts and festivals all cancelled. People became creative and singers played live music on their driveways and on their balconies for all to hear. Communities came together and supported one another.

We launched our own photography exhibition and competition, titled When The World Stood Still. This was open to the entire community of BGS; pupils, families and staff, to capture moments of lockdown.


When the World Stood Still competition winners...

Thank you for all our entries which are now on show in our school art gallery, The Gallery@BGS, and congratulations to our winners:

  • Annabel (Y8) for A Silent School
  • Ms Carey for 'the beauty of a snowflake'
  • Ellis (Y8) for 'Leisurely Days' and 'I Won't Let Go'
  • Ben Y9 for 'Untitled'
  • Amelia Y4 for 'Still Nature is Beautiful'
  • Sophia (Y1) for 'No Entry' and 'Out with the Old...'

When The World Stood Still Art Installation Article

When The World Stood Still – the culmination of a 20 month art project opens with a show-stopping Private View and a place in Bury’s Town of Culture Open Day.

Back in May 2020, you may remember we launched a photography competition entitled When The World Stood Still where we asked our School community to submit photographs of their visual interpretations of Lockdown. This very moving and emotional exhibition is now installed in the gallery@bgs and was officially opened for a private viewing on Thursday 18th November with a subsequent public viewing as part of Bury’s Town of Culture Open Day.

With over 160 entries ranging from deserted shopping centres, empty beaches and discarded face masks to Zoom screens, walks with family and snapshots of the day-to-day realities of home learning, this was clearly a subject which resonated deeply.

Director of Arts and Culture, Kiri Gore, says

" It has been an absolute honour and pleasure to curate this exhibition. It’s events like these that unite people together for moments of reflection, promoting empathy and understanding.”

Given such a high standard of work, the unenviable task of judging fell to Sculptor and Photographer Chloe Harrison and Textile Artist and teacher Alison Harle. The photographs were judged in a digital format focussing on the project brief, composition and narrative being told.

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the competition is Annabel Bailey in Year 8 for their outstanding composition and attention to detail in terms of the project brief. Highly commended entries also go to Ellis (Senior Boys), Leanne and Sophia (Infants), Benjamin (Senior Boys) and Miss Carey (BGS Staff).

Annabel tells us about her winning entry in a little more detail:

“Through Lockdown my mum was still working as a Keyworker so it was only me, my sister and my dad at home each day. We would always try to eat lunch together and at the end of the day sit down and watch the TV for daily updates. When this photo competition was announced, I asked my dad if he could take me down to School because I’d had an idea for how I wanted my photo to look. I told him where to stand and how to take my photo but despite this he still managed to take the wrong shot! We decided that the best approach was to take lots of pictures and we would pick out our top three. We ended up having five potential images which we then edited, cropped and experimented on with filters. Once we added the black and white filter this one photo stood out to us. Before sending it in we made sure we liked its focal point, the detail and the overall look.

When I walked into the School’s gallery on Saturday I was so surprised to see my photo so large and with so much detail. My family were equally shocked – I only took this photo on my mobile phone and the fact that the detail was still there even after it was blown up was incredible.”

Every photograph included in the exhibition will be available in a hard-back book. Please follow our social media for further publication details.