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Take a glimpse into the glamorous past of the Alternative Miss World contests with a curated selection of original archival materials and never-before-seen footage, on display in the Bonington Vitrines.

Accompanying Andrew Logan’s solo exhibition The Joy of Sculpture in our main gallery, we are extremely pleased to present archive displays for the past Alternative Miss World contests in our Vitrines. A newly commissioned film by previous Bonington Gallery exhibitor and friend of Andrew, Dick Jewell, will feature alongside the displays, bringing together previously unseen footage (including rare 16mm film) of contests in 1985, 1991 and 2004.

Alternative Miss World

Modelled upon the Crufts dog show, the Alternative Miss World contest is an art and fashion event founded and hosted by Andrew Logan. Andrew acts as both host and hostess for the show, as exemplified by the main promotional image for the exhibition taken by Mick Rock. This alternative beauty pageant has been held irregularly since 1972, most recently in 2018 in its 14th incarnation. Contestants and judges over the years have included David Hockney, Ruby Wax, Leigh Bowery, Grayson Perry, and Zandra Rhodes.

Special thank you to the Special Collections department at De Montford University, Leicester for the generous loan of archive materials.

Header image credit: Alternative Miss World poster, courtesy Special Collections department at De Montford University.

The coronavirus pandemic is still far from over in many parts of the world, including Guatemala where artisanal textile making remains a significant aspect of indigenous Maya cultural heritage and the creative economy. This small collection of artefacts, images and narratives convey findings from recent research into: ‘how Guatemalan artisans diversified their textile practices to sustain their communities during the Covid-19 pandemic’. 

Our ethnographic enquiry, undertaken in 2021, was made possible through collaboration with five socially driven textile organisations working in the Lake Atitlan area; A Rum Fellow, Cojolya, Mercado Global, Multicolores, and Kakaw Designs. Analysis of online interviews, videos and photographs taken in the field, provide insights into the creative resilience of artisans as they continued to practice, communicate and market their crafts, throughout the global crisis.

The title Story Cloth derives from Multicolores, who encouraged the artists they work with to embroider ‘my life during the quarantine’, as a reflection on the personal impact of the pandemic. Examples of these embroidered vignettes are featured alongside dolls, woven and dyed (buy-one-give-one) PPE masks, fashion and interior textiles, and rugs made from recycled paca (second-hand clothing).

The exhibition also features ‘Connecting with Your Roots’, a scholarship programme funded by Ibermuseums for The Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing, enabling 30 women and girls from Maya groups in Guatemala City to reconnect with their weaving arts heritage. The project is represented in images and a vintage huipil (blouse) the most prevalent form of traje (traditional clothing) worn by Mayan women. Woven on a backstrap loom, the huipil incorporates colours, patterns and motifs symbolizing nature, religious and community affiliation.

Story Cloth is an outcome of ongoing research into the sustainable potential for integrating digital technology into artisanal business models, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Quality-Related (QR) funding, Nottingham Trent University.

Header photo: Maria Sacalxot Coti rug hooking. Photo by Joe Coca courtesy of Multicores

Curated by:

Katherine Townsend, Nottingham Trent University
Anna Piper, Sheffield Hallam University
Luciana Jabur, Friends of The Ixchel Museum

Supported by:

Friends of the Ixchel Museum
Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena (Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress)
A Rum Fellow
Kakaw Designs
Mercado Global

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are currently adapting this exhibition to a new format and will release more information soon. Please check back soon for updates.

The exhibition will continue to be an open call, with new submission requirements to be confirmed.

Bonington Gallery is pleased to be presenting The Captive Conscious, a collection of visual responses to an open call led by our Student Curatorial Group. Creative practitioners from within Nottingham Trent University and beyond are invited to respond in any medium to a piece of writing composed of redacted appropriated texts. The text has been cut, merged, edited and reassembled to form a new piece of writing that can be opened up to interpretation – in response to an imaginary narrative. The Captive Conscious will present an observation of the minds of many, encouraging a truly organic response to language.

Just outside the gallery, you’ll find the Bonington Vitrines – two display cases that present an ever-changing series of projects that run alongside our exhibitions.

For the 15th instalment of our Bonington Vitrines programme, we are delighted to welcome Nomadic Vitrine, a curatorial project run by Recent Activity in Birmingham. Nomadic Vitrine invites artists to respond to a nomadic display case, either using it functionally to present work or intervening with it sculpturally. The vitrine in itself is a redundant sculpture, replacing the gallery as a space for artists to create work in/on/for. It builds on historical notions of display and visibility, both within and beyond the gallery, and is placed in various locations around Birmingham and further afield.

This instalment will be inhabited by Glasgow-based artist Mick Peter. Mick’s playful installations incorporate imagery influenced by illustration and commercial art. His work for Nomadic Vitrine wittily undermines the assumed hushed reverential attitude of the gallery goer. Using the inverted vitrine, the space becomes a site for an unexpected sight gag.

Recent Activity

Recent Activity is a curatorial project based in Birmingham, delivering exhibitions and events. It is organised by artist Andrew Gillespie, with support from Ryan Kearney.


Mick Peter lives in Glasgow, UK. He has recently had solo shows at BALTIC, Gateshead (2019), Deborah Bowmann, Brussels (2018/19), Glasgow International (2018), Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris (2017), Workplace, Gateshead (2016), Tramway, Glasgow (2015), and Drawing Room, London (2016), Popcorn Plaza, part of Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Jupiter Artland (2014) and Almost Cut My Hair, part of Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Tramway Hidden Gardens, (2014). Recent group shows include ‘Voyage au long cours’ at FRACNormandie Caen (2018), Natural Selection’ at Galerie 5, Angers (2016), France and & ‘Corps narratifs’ at the Domaine départemental de Chamarande, Chamarande, France (2016). Puddle, pothole, portal at Sculpture Center, New York (2014), L’Echo at HAB Galerie – FRAC des Pays de la Loire, (2014), Monument at FRAC Basse-Normandie, (2014), British British Polish Polish: Art from Europe’s Edges in the Long 90’s and Today at the Centre for Contemporary Art, and Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, (2013).

In Works from the Hallucinated Archive, Wayne Burrows brings together material by six artists (five real, one fictional) who work across a range of media and traditions but all share an interest in ideas around folklore, spiritual belief and art as psychic manifestation or transmission.

The vitrines and foyer are occupied by works from the fabricated archive of an entirely fictional British artist, Robert Holcombe (1923 – 2003). Gathered into an exhibition that might be read as a scholarly contribution to a previously unknown (and wilfully esoteric) chapter in the story of Post-War British Art. Or perhaps a fiction exploring ideas of authenticity, class and cultural identity by ‘restoring’ to our attention a figure who might plausibly have existed, but failed or refused to fit the standard narratives and frameworks of his time.

This archival fiction is further layered and complicated by its deployment as a framing device for a group of works by five other artists, mostly contemporary, sometimes hallucinatory in effect, and all real. Their shared fascinations with altered states, fringe beliefs, folklore and ritual, play against their own (and our) ingrained sceptical instincts with humour and a strong awareness of absurdity. After all, whatever the precise nature of any particular psychic or paranormal phenomenon might be, such subjective experiences plainly share conceptual ground with the transformative, healing and wish-fulfilling objectives of art itself. Just as a fiction is a very literal kind of alternate reality, a song, a form of spell-casting or invocation, and any film or photograph in existence is a very literal kind of ghost.

The artworks and fictional ephemera featured work together as something that exists between a curated group show and a single installation to generate a kind of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ rabbit-hole: a collage portal into a parallel world that may already exist within the familiar yet often nightmarish one we currently inhabit.

Featured Artists

Aslı Anık, Arianne Churchman, Maryam Hashemi, Robert Holcombe, Chloe Langlois, Z.K. Oloruntoba

People have been focused so long on what is inside the vitrine, that nobody has ever looked at the vitrine itself. They are passive agents of display, and it is about time they had their chance to tell their own story!

Curated by the Bonington Student Curatorial Group, this exhibition challenges the notions of the vitrines as display cases and brings them to life as the forefront of the exhibition – to challenge traditionally perceived notions on their use.

By presenting an alternative on the accepted narrative of what these objects are capable of, Complaint will explore the vitrines’ life outside of the gallery, and the pressures which they face in their day to day life.

Curated by the Bonington Student Curatorial Group.

New Contemporaries, one of the longest running and most well-recognised platforms for emerging artists in the UK, has only presented a separate and specific ‘live show’ for installation, film and performance work twice in its 70 year history. Curated by Nottingham Trent University PhD candidate Emily Gray, Not a Live Show presents an exploration into this little known and barely documented history.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019, New Contemporaries’ history tracks the birth of the Arts Council, the explosion of arts education and a turn to youth culture, as well as the major developments in artistic practice. It has helped launch the careers of innumerable artists, including those whose meteoric rise have come to epitomise the British art scene. Participants include renowned figures such as David Hockney, Bruce McLean, Anthony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, Gillian Wearing and Tacita Dean, to name a few.

Designated as ‘third area’ art, the inclusion of this work within New Contemporaries was hard fought for. Hosted at ACME Studios in Covent Garden and the London Film Co-Op, Camden, this was at the epicentre of experimental and performative activity during this period. Many of the concerns raised within these works remain central to student discourse today. Subsequently folded into the main exhibition, the expanded field of artistic practice continues to be a challenge within the New Contemporaries format today.


Emily Gay is a current PhD candidate at NTU examining ‘Archives and Contemporaneity’ in partnership with Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Previously she has managed artist residency programmes and exhibitions in the US and Scotland, before completing her Masters in Curatorial Practice at Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University.

Complementing the exhibition The Serving Library v David Osbaldeston, here we present available copies of a family of publications that continue to feed The Serving Library’s archive of objects; each item in the gallery is the source of an illustration that usually triggered an essay in one of the journals on display.

Founded in 2000 in Amsterdam by graphic designers Peter Bilak, Stuart Bailey, Jurgen X Albrecht and Tom Unverzagt, Dot Dot Dot was published biannually for 20 issues over 10 years, gradually drifting from its founding subject to sprawl across the humanities according to the ebb and flow of its editorial makeup. Albrecht and Unverzagt left after the third issue and David Reinfurt supplanted Bilak in the mid-2000s.

In 2011, Bailey, Reinfurt and Angie Keefer established The Serving Library as a non-profit institution in New York to explore the new possibilities afforded by digital publishing, at which point Dot Dot Dot morphed into the institution’s house journal Bulletins of The Serving Library. The enterprise continues to be powered by, a website that simultaneously distributes and archives component ‘bulletins’ in distinct online and print formats. These bulletins comprise essays and related contributions, assembled and released each season on common themes such as time, psychedelia, fashion, sports, colour and perspective. For practical and conceptual reasons the last three print editions of Bulletins of The Serving Library shrank to half that of the original format.

Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey joined the editorial team in 2016 and helped set up a physical incarnation of The Serving Library in Liverpool as a base for teaching with a regular public programme of talks and events, then in 2017 the name and format changed once more to yield its current incarnation as Serving Library Annual – a hefty A4 volume now published every autumn. This year’s instalment, hot off the press, speaks to the subject of translation.

Featured Items

Ahead of the exhibition we’ll be highlighting just a few of the 100+ framed objects that make up The Serving Library collection over on our blog, along with the accompanying text from TSL’s website.

For our latest Bonington Vitrines exhibition we’ve invited contributions from the public, staff and students to share their memories of the Bonington building (past and present), in the form of photographs, newspaper clippings, plans, stories, anecdotes and general collectables.

The Bonington building was opened in 1969 by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent. A labyrinth by design, the three-story building offers extensive and state-of-the-art facilities in the support of art and design education in Nottingham. At the heart of the building is a purpose built exhibition space, Bonington Gallery – one of the oldest art galleries in Nottingham.

Alan Lodge, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) BA and MA Photography alumnus, comes from a free festival and traveller background. Living in old buses, trucks and caravans, he drove around the country on ‘the circuit’ with his family and friends. Since the late 1970s he has been photographing events and the people around him.

Documenting all aspects of alternative lifestyles and sub-cultures, Alan has photographed many free and commercial events, environment protests, land rights demonstrations, and rave culture. Providing insight that only people who have been accepted into a community can really achieve, his aim has been to present a more positive view of people and communities that are frequently misrepresented.

The process has not been easy, as many people are suspicious of anyone with a camera and their motives. Conflict with the police in more recent years has become a fact of life, as has eviction from land and squats, and difficulties with children’s education when being continually moved on.


Alan had produced work for publications, galleries, events, and public spaces. Moving beyond photography, he has experimented with mixed media involving printed and projected text. During his MA at NTU, Alan specialised in issues surrounding representation, presenting himself in print and audio-visual format. A member of the National Union of Journalists, he is a documentary photographer, a photo-journalist and ‘storyteller’ always on the lookout for another tale to tell.