Oxford International Links Twin Cities Exhibition

Photo Oxford Festival
Press Release 9 November 2020


Oxford was among the first cities to embark on city twinning following the Second World War. The first city to be officially twinned was Leiden (Holland), followed by Bonn (Germany), León (Nicaragua), Grenoble (France), Perm (Russia), Wrocław (Poland), Ramallah (Palestine), and Padua (Italy).

Oxford International Links and the individual twin city link groups organise projects and activities involving Oxford and our twin cities.   These collaborations bring immense benefits to the people of Oxford, especially those involving young people, such as youth theatre, dance, music and football exchanges.  Twinning is about people making connections with other people and all those involved give their time voluntarily.

Photo Oxford Festival 2020

Photo Oxford Festival 2020 Women & Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen celebrates women behind and in front of the lens. It features exhibitions, displays, talks, and other events in venues, outdoors and online. The festival brings together local Oxford communities and international photography. 

Oxford International Links twin cities exhibition

Oxford’s twin cities were invited to participate in Photo Oxford 2020 with photographs that engaged with the festival theme. All eight cities responded in very different ways. The images for the exhibition were selected by Oxford photographers Simon Murison-Bowie and Irmgard Hueppe.  Anna Proudfoot, for Oxford International Links, liaised with the twin cities, with support from Oxford City Council. 

Each set of images showcases a unique aspect of life in the twin city.  Padua is the 2020 European Capital of Volunteering and all the images focus on women in a range of volunteering activities, while Aleksandra Magdziarz’s images of Ramallah feature a women’s dance group.  Some photos showcase the work of professional photographers, such as Eelkje Colmjon in Leiden, Auriane Poillet in Grenoble and Sławek Przerwa in Wrocław with his black-and-white portraits of women jazz musicians. Others document twinning activities, for example poetry workshops in Bonn and a primary school photography project in Grenoble.  León’s photographs show how sustainable development programmes benefit women in poor remote rural communities while Perm portrays the lives of women in traditional villages.

In total over 300 images were submitted from which around eighty images were selected. The end result is a virtual walk-through exhibition of selected images on the Artsteps platform, while all eighty images can be seen on a dedicated website, along with information about the photos and the photographers. There is also a photo board in the Covered Market – near the Wrocław gnome!  

There are clear advantages to staging a virtual exhibition especially in the midst of a pandemic.  Technology has made collaboration easier at a time when social contact is limited.  It has also opened the exhibition up to a wider audience, including residents of our twin cities. This is the first time all eight twin cities have got together with a physical as well as a virtual exhibition. 

The Photo Oxford festival continues until 16 November, in outdoor locations and online at www.photooxford.org, while the Covered Market is open for shopping for essentials and food and drink take-aways.


To visit the virtual exhibitions, go to the links below:

Artsteps walk-through virtual exhibition with selected images       

Website with all shortlisted images           

Information about the twin cities 

For more information about Oxford International Links

Anna Proudfoot 

Chair, Oxford Padova Link, on behalf of Oxford International Links.