Online Photography Exhibition

Unlocking our lockdown stories: Alana House and the MERL

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is a part of the University of Reading and uses its diverse collections to explore how the skills and experiences of rural people, past and present, help shape our lives. 

Inspired by the University of Reading art collections, The MERL and Alana House explored the importance of local landscapes and spaces for wellbeing, which took on a completely unexpected poignancy during this difficult period of lockdown. 

In this new online exhibition, follow the stories of three women as they express – through their own words and photography – personal reflections on lockdown and the role Reading’s outdoors played for them during this time. 

The University of Reading art collections show the range of spaces and landscapes which have been captured by artists. During the project we visited a range of locations across Reading – from parks to riversides to shopping centres – which are important to us. We shared openly the challenges of lockdown, the positives, and our hopes and fears for the future. 

Not being able to see family, not being able to attend groups to meet others and learn new skills, the lack of company and companionship, left big holes in our lives. But even in these most difficult circumstances, there were positives that came out of lockdown and we learned a lot about ourselves and the spaces important to us.”