While the Jersey finance industry may seem far removed from the world of art, that is all set to change in an £320,000 project led by two local photographic archivists - but first, they need sponsorship.
Gareth Syvret, photographic archivist and Project Leader of Archisle: The Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme, and Martin Toft, photographer and teacher, are looking for investments of £12,000 to £16,000 per year from local businesses in order to bring their five-year documentation project to fruition.
Entitled ‘Masterplan’, the project aims to build a strong visual record of the Island’s finance industry and corporate culture, culminating in an exhibition and a five-book compendium.
Mr Toft commented: “Each year, a new publication will be made investigating the impact of Jersey finance on infrastructure, culture and society past, present and future. Our first edition is scheduled for production later in the year, with completion in the Spring of 2017."
It is hoped that the project will replenish Jersey’s record of its one of its biggest industries - something, according to Mr Toft, that hasn’t been well documented. “There are major deficiencies post-war, with very few visual records are being kept of how the finance industry has been developing,” he said.
“If you go to Jersey Museum, their current display hints at finance, but mostly focuses on the Occupation. They need the content for that story,” added Mr Syvret. “We want to plug that historical blank and provide a social visual history, also looking at the architecture of the finance industry and its influence on the Island’s landscape.”
Although the exhibition’s main focus will be archival, the value will also be artistic, involving collaboration with other artists, including - perhaps - an artist in residence at a local firm who will provide an “insider’s perspective”.
Masterplan will also reflect perspectives of those not directly associated with the finance industry, but who help feed into it, such as hospitality and construction professionals.
“We need to remember finance industry is also a human story, and we want to tell that story,” said Mr Syvret.
This will be the second project that Mr Syvret and Mr Toft have worked on together - the first of which being Atlantus, a photographic exhibition showcasing the links between Jersey and New Jersey.
In order for this next exhibition to go forward, however, external financing will be required to meet its budget of £320,000, which will cover production and research costs over the five years.
“Right now, we are actively seeking investment from project partners who share our vision and understanding of the need for a visual record of the development and impact of the Jersey Finance Industry,” commented Mr Toff. “I think that there is a real benefit for the industry to get involved that becomes part of the archives of Jersey so that there is something there in the cultural record.”
Referring to the legacy firms involved with the project will leave, Mr Syvret added: “If we succeed in engaging the sector, the sector will learn a lot about itself too. This is about how they want their history and story to be told."
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