The Caravan Gallery

Jan Williams & Chris Teasdale

The Caravan Gallery is a collaboration between artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale to document the reality and surreality of the way we live today. It is also a mobile exhibition space that engages with people and places ‘normal’ galleries might not easily reach. We use colour photography to create accessible but thought-provoking images which explore 'sense of place' and  celebrate overlooked and occasionally bizarre aspects of everyday life. We believe in Doing things with people rather than at them as curator Sara-Jayne Parsons describes in her essay.

The Caravan Gallery was founded in 2000 in response to a call out from Portsmouth City Council and Art Space Portsmouth for an accessible artwork to mark the Millennium Bank Holiday weekend celebrations. Since our inaugural appearance on Southsea seafront we have travelled thousands of miles and exhibited in hundreds of locations in the UK and abroad, from an Asda car park in Liverpool to fashion designer Paul Smith's Space gallery in Tokyo, sharing images from our ever expanding photographic archive with the most diverse audience imaginable. Equally at home exhibiting in a shopping centre car park or in a prestigious arts venue, we invite visitors to respond to our observations.

People’s enthusiasm to share their own impressions inspired us to devise participatory Pride of Place Projects. Part evolving exhibition, part alternative visitor information centre created with public contributions, these projects break down barriers by bringing a wide range of people together to explore their surroundings in a creative way. A significant Arts Council England grant in 2014 -16 enabled us to undertake a major national tour in partnership with six galleries and museums. In 2019 Multistory's Blast! Festival saw us turn an empty Poundland store in West Bromwich into a vibrant venue for a six week Sandwell Pride of Place Project ,our most ambitious project so far.

Publications include: extra{ordinary} Photographs of Britain by The Caravan Gallery, Is Britain Great? (3 volumes) published to accompany our exhibition at Aspex, Portsmouth, Welcome to Britain - a celebration of real life, Pride of Place Project books, and 'reality postcards'. The Caravan Gallery regularly gives talks and lectures, participates in solo and group exhibitions in museums, galleries and arts festivals, and undertakes commissions, collaborations and large scale community projects.
The Hyman Collection of British Photography holds the most significant private collection in the world of works by The Caravan Gallery.

Prior to setting up The Caravan Gallery, Jan Williams was already an active member of Art Space Portsmouth with a successful career as an individual artist. Originally from Merseyside, she studied Fine Art in Portsmouth and worked across all media with a particular fondness for drawing, found materials and the absurd. Collages included in an exhibition at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth came to the attention of Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London resulting in solo and group shows, a range of bestselling posters and increased exposure leading to independent ventures.

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