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Northumbria University Gallery

Franki Raffles Photography, Activism, Campaign Works

Until 16 March 2025 | 10am-6pm | Free entry
What to expect

The first major retrospective exhibition of feminist, activist, social documentary photographer Franki Raffles (1955–1994). Raffles documented the lives of women in the UK, predominantly in Scotland, and during travels with her family in the 1980s across the Soviet Union (Russia, Georgia and Ukraine), China, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Israel and Palestine. 

 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ "The exhibition is perfectly timed and depressingly timely, bringing the political parallels between the 1980s and now into sharp, irrefutable focus.” – Guardian 

A woman looking at bottles in a factory
© Franki Raffles Estate, all rights reserved. Image courtesy of University of St Andrews Library and Edinburgh Napier University

Raffles documented the lives of women in the UK, predominantly in Scotland, and during travels with her family in the 1980s across the Soviet Union (Russia, Georgia and Ukraine), China, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Israel and Palestine. In Edinburgh she worked as a freelance photographer with schools and women’s groups. Her photography focused attention on women’s lives and their work, addressing issues such as inequality, gendered violence, disability, activism and sisterhood.

The exhibition, Franki Raffles: Photography, Activism, Campaign Works, concentrates on her astonishing creative output over a period of ten years from 1984–94 when she was most active. During this time, she produced around 40,000 images, the majority now residing in the Franki Raffles Photography Collection at the University of St. Andrews. The exhibition brings together photographs, many shown publicly for the first time, alongside archive material contextualising her work. 

Raffles was born in Salford and studied at University of St. Andrews. Following her graduation, she moved to Lewis, then to Edinburgh. She exhibited at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh; Mercury Gallery, London; The Corridor Gallery, Fife; Pearce Institute, Glasgow; and First of May Gallery, Edinburgh. Raffles’ life was tragically cut short when she died in childbirth at the age of only 39. 

Presented in the Northumbria University Gallery, Level 3 at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.

This exhibition and its production has been made possible with the generous cooperation of the Franki Raffles Estate, University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums (Photographic Collections), Edinburgh Napier University, and Spectrum Photographic.

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication supported by a Publications Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Edinburgh Napier University. 

Black and white photo of a woman folding laundry.
Black and white photo of 2 women sat at a table smoking.

What to expect | Franki Raffles

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Exhibition Accessibility

  • Our friendly and knowledgeable Baltic Crew team can interpret the artworks and help bring meaning and understanding to the exhibition.
  • Folding seats – ask Baltic Crew or pick up a stool from the racks
  • Free exhibition tours - chat to Baltic Crew to find out when the next tour takes place
  • For our full building accessibility and facilities information visit here
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