Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen. Step by Step

The project Step by Step is part of Konttinen’s 50-year career dedicated to celebrating the working class, primarily in the North East of England. In Step by Step, a community’s vocational activities and conversations are set within the challenges of the industrial and post-industrial environment of the early 1980s. The maternal bonding, self-expression and confidence provided by the dance school nurture the girls and women when few other options for advancement or escape are available. Konttinen’s photographs of the Connell-Brown Dancing School served as the basis for the film Keeping Time, an experimental drama made in 1983 by the Amber Collective, which was co-founded by Konttinen.


Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen was born in 1948 in Finland. She is a founder and a member of the Amber Film & Photography Collective, established in 1969, and the Side Gallery, 1977, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. She is a photographer and a filmmaker. Her long-term projects include: Byker, Step by Step, Keeping Time and Today I’m With You. Konttinen’s photography and Amber films have been included in the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register as being of outstanding national value and importance to the United Kingdom.