NEWS: BOOKSHOP @ NGCA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Bookshop image courtesy of CIRCA Projects

In a city without a single independent bookshop and no clear archive of local art, there has never been a more relevant time for Bookshop to open. CIRCA Projects celebrate Northern Gallery For Contemporary Art’s 20th anniversary with a look back at the organisation’s origins, and prepare to open a fully functioning bookshop at NGCA.

Originally known as Bookshop in 1969 and located on 27 Fredrick Street, Sunderland, the shop moved to Grange Terrace and underwent a couple of name changes – from Ceolfrith Gallery & Press to Sunderland Arts Centre – before becoming the Northern Gallery For Contemporary Art in its current location on the top floor of the Central Library building on Fawcett Street.

In the 70s Chris Carrell, the director of the original Bookshop, Ceolfrith and Sunderland Arts Centre, wanted a place where “as many aspects of contemporary culture could be seen, experienced and enjoyed by the community and presented by artists with national and international reputations”. Bookshop at the NGCA returns to Carrell’s original motivations, offering a selection of merchandise, artist books and periodicals to buy as well as archival material on view from Ceolfrith Press.

A Saturday events programme will be co-curated by CIRCA with University of Sunderland graduates and final year students; inspired by Sunderland University’s historic relationship with the Arts Centre through Chris Carrell (who taught on the Foundation course at Sunderland) and Sunderland Polytechnic tutors like Robin Crozier, who exhibited and published his inspiring postal art projects at Sunderland Arts Centre.

Chris Carrell at Ceolfrith Gallery Bookshop, Sunderland Arts Centre (1971). Courtesy of

Chris Carrell at Ceolfrith Gallery Bookshop, Sunderland Arts Centre (1971).

Courtesy of

Live events will include a conversation on how social memory shapes our view of the English landscape; a film screening of artists’ films from Britain and Iran; the craft of online painting explored through Instagram and an archive of audio recordings originally taken in rural and urban environments, and then transformed.

Bookshop will display archival materials, showcasing the books published by Ceolfrith Press, Sunderland between 1969-1985, a book-press which ran out of the bookshop producing artist monographs, poetry books and exhibition catalogues. Ceolfrith Bookshop Gallery & Press (1969) published and exhibited works by Bob Cobbing & Writer’s Forum, Henry Chopin, Dennis Oppenheim, Andre Breton, Dom Sylvester Houédard, Raoul Hausmann, Robin Crozier, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Jack Smith.

To celebrate the activity of bookmaking, CIRCA will invite Foundation Press, a risograph printing press based within University of Sunderland’s Foundation Art & Design Programme, to make a number of new artist’s zines and books in the shop, encouraging audience interaction.

The innovative curatorial work of CIRCA Projects is particularly pertinent in the North East. They lead by example, supporting artists fully and their thoughtful work has a consistent cultural and political relevance to the region. Bookshop is a clear reflection of this, unearthing hidden gems for bookish nerds and weirdo zine fans alike.

Bookshop runs at NCGA, Sunderland from Saturday 28th November until Saturday 23rd January.


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout