SPIN Art Commission – Emily Graham

September 30, 2022

SPIN, in collaboration with The Martin Parr Foundation, is pleased to share a new photographic work by photographer, Emily Graham as part of our secrecy/ignorance-themed photography commission.


Read about Emily’s project and browse her limited edition postcards below, a selection of which are available for sale at the Martin Partin Foundation gallery in Bristol and through SPIN.


You can find details on the 2020 SPIN Commission by Olu Osinoiki on our website. Postcards are also available.


Cash’s Pit

Emily Graham

Photographing the ancient woodlands that are the sites of HS2 protest, these photographs begin to explore the role of secrecy in occupation and resistance movements. The photographs detail the temporal structures that occupy the land; the recycled and repurposed materials used to create a fortress of political resistance, and the ways in which surfaces, structures, and bodies are used as barriers and expressions of opposition.

Environmental protesters occupied the site of Bluebell A (Staffordshire) from April 2021 – June 2022, in opposition to the destruction of ancient woodland that HS2 (due to run through the site) will cause.

Three weeks ahead of site eviction, the land of the site of Bluebell A was injuncted by HS2, surrounded from dawn until dusk by bailiffs. The protestors on site confined themselves to the treehouse, removing the access points so bailiffs can’t enter. Bailiffs monitor the perimeter of the site, stalk visitors with cameras and echo the warning:

“If you don’t obey the order you may be found to be in contempt of court, you may be imprisoned, fined, or have your assets seized. By remaining on the land you are disobeying the order. Leave immediately and do not return.”

Once the eviction process begins, some protestors climb to high platforms in trees and some head underground, in the tunnel system, making it difficult to locate individuals to remove them from the site. Once underground, the protesters continue to dig, setting off something like a game of cat and mouse between the protesters and the bailiffs. On this occasion, the protestors spent a total of 47 days underground living in the tunnels.

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