On 4 October 2020 our friend and colleague Gill Bradbury died unexpectedly while on holiday in Crete. Gill had been part of the work HIT does for years; she was a trainer, nurse, conference speaker and friend. Gill was a major part of the harm reduction community both in the UK and internationally, so we want to honour her at this, our first event since her death.
Shortly before she died, Gill sent HIT an outline for an art project focused on women in the harm reduction movement. She had been collecting together portraits she’d been taking for a couple of years, along with background statements by the people she’d photographed.
She envisioned this being a touring exhibition that could be part of future conferences and harm reduction events.
Obviously, that project won’t happen, and the nature of digital photography (and photographers like Gill, who herself said she doesn’t “always get around to sorting or publishing my pics”) means that much of the work isn’t available.
We do have access to some of Gill’s photography, but we want to exhibit it in a way that truly honours Gill’s idea of celebrating women in harm reduction.
We are asked people to submit images they’ve taken that showcase ‘Women of Substance’ – those women who, day to day, do the important work of harm reduction around the globe.
These images where displayed during the conference as a repeating slideshow.
Here are two of the photographs from Gill’s original project proposal: we intend to include as much of Gills work as possible in this exhibition.
In this exhibition, I’m including myself as the woman who conceived this project A woman who’s been committed to harm reduction, alongside drug policy reform and working with women, since qualifying as a Registered General Nurse (1991). Initially, during nurse training (198891), I volunteered in the HIV and Drugs sector(s), whilst undertaking an 18month counselling course too. I’ve been employed as an Alcohol & Other Drugs Worker; Clinical Nurse Specialist and Manager/Director of Services/CEO in community, residential and criminal justice settings.
A Board Member of TDPF (Transform Drug Policy Foundation) and UKHRA (UK Harm Reduction Alliance) ( 19982004 ( Until my son was 2½ years old and I could no longer contain him via breastfeeding at Bristol/London meetings)! During the last decade, I’ve been engaged as a Dristi Nepal International Advisory Board Member and, WHRIN (Women & Harm Reduction International Network) ViceChair. I’m also a keen photographer and traveller. Sometimes, I’ve been able to combine those interests with work, which has taken me around the UK, and away to global events (IHRC 2009 onwards), or to various other countries to undertake freelance training/consultancy work. I’ve always found such experiences, energising and inspiring, even when embarking upon challenging assignments. The individuals I’ve been involved with, have also taught me much; I’m blessed by having met, and known some wonderful people, especially women, in this field.
Doubtless annoyingly and somewhat notoriously, a big camera (and large memory card) is usually to hand, whilst I endeavour to capture the rich tapestry (and many moments) of life People: professional and social; alongside land/seascapes, boats/marinas, flora/fauna, animals/wildlife, architecture/religious buildings, ceremony, etc., etc…Alas, I don’t always get around to sorting or, publishing my pics but this is one project that I hope to continue, although I’m not sure it’ll ever be finished?!