PhotoWorks – a creative learning experience.
I have worked in community arts and education for many years developing photography projects in partnership with community organisations and educational institutions in Britain and internationally. As a visual artist I have exhibited internationally
PhotoWorks is a photographic arts project that I devised and initiated in 2002.
It is not just the end result but the process of learning a new skill – in this instance photography -that is empowering and confidence building and can be a source of immense satisfaction raising the aspirations of the participants -be they children or adults -and benefiting them with learning and managing their lives better.
Participants experience an exciting and memorable artistic experience that gives them ownership of the process and the outcomes reflect the inspiration and experience of the diverse community in and around their school or organization, etc.
Using photography and visual images in educational work provides an innovative way to investigate and explore issues of identity, self-image and representation and creates a focus for discussion.
The participants are introduced to the practical aspects of photography. They learn how to photograph each other and their immediate environment and how to set-up a professional photographic studio where each participant produces a self-portrait of their choice.
Each project is planned to reflect the specific educational requirement of the group.
Throughout the project the participants are encouraged to develop a “visual voice” and a creative dialogue with their peers.
They learn about cooperation by working together and helping each other while taking photos and looking at and discussing each other’s images.
By giving encouragement throughout the project the participants will be better prepared and informed in representing themselves in the future.
The final exhibition of images produced by the participants and open to the public is an essential finale to the confidence building process.
Working with a teaching assistant or project worker, where possible, provides an opportunity for an additional training element and will enable the individual involved to continue with the educational work developed by the project and sustain it beyond the existence of the project.
The work produced by the group will provide lasting artistic and educational resources for the school or organisation.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
• to encourage self-esteem, self-confidence and a positive self image.
• to promote a sense of belonging.
• to develop and extend the participants communication skills through visual stimulus.
• to use photography as a tool to promote better communication and cooperation.
• to increase communication by encouraging discussion and providing an opportunity to share experiences and understanding.
• to develop literacy and communication skills. Children and adults are more stimulated to talk about their own photographs thereby increasing their understanding and communication skills.
• to explore issues of representation enabling participants to be better prepared and informed in representing themselves in the future.
• to empower participants to develop a "visual voice" through photography and image production.
• to give the participants the opportunity to be proud of their creative ability and expression and to experience personal and group success.
• to improve links between home/family life and school, parents and school/teachers and the local community.
The project is developed over a period of a term or 8 to 10 weeks. The group meets for one session per week – approximately 2 -3 hours. The group consists of up to 10 participants The school or organization selects the individual participants or identifies the group
that they feel will benefit most from the project.
I provide Pentax compact cameras for each participant to use for the duration of the project. I provide colour film and organise film processing and printing.
The participants take ALL the photographs. I provide the lighting equipment required for the studio set-up. I have available an ever growing assortment of international dressing up clothes,
props and fabrics that are used by the group!
• The participants learn to use a camera with confidence and where possible how to set up a lighting studio.
• They learn to take photographs of each other and document their environment.
• They are given the opportunity to take the cameras home, to photograph their special family and friends and their favourite things.
• Each participant is given a photograph album in which they can put the photos of their choice and personalize it in their own style. The albums are for the photos they produce each week and can include family photos that have been scanned and copied for them.
• An exhibition of selected photographs is organised at the end of the project giving the participants the opportunity to see and show their work in a public space and have a sense of pride amongst their peers, the teachers, workers, their families and the wider community.
• The participants receive a Certificate of Merit at the end of the course.
• I have devised a basic assessment form that can be used with each project. It is completed by the participants and gives a clear indication of the changes in the participants’ view of themselves. It also provides an important element for the evaluation of each completed project.
By positioning the participants in the centre of this project their needs and desires are encouraged, supported and incorporated into the creative process.
PhotoWorks @ Projects
PhotoWorks @ received 3rd prize by the Chrisi Bailey Arts in Education Award 2004
2008 -Parents Participate Earlham Primary School, Haringey, London. Funded by Haringey Council Neighbourhood Grant.
2007 Peer to Peer – Brighton. A collaborative project commissioned by Brighton University and the Brighton Photo Biennale.
2007 – Earlham Primary School, Haringey, London.
2006 -Kings Cross Refugee & Asylum Seekers Centre, Camden, London.
2006 – 3 projects commissioned by EV+A (Exhibition of Visual & Arts) Biennale 2006 Limerick Ireland:
• Corpus Christi Primary School, Scoil, Limerick
• Carmel Girls Secondary School, Limerick
• Knocklasheen Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers, Limerick
2005 -Shackelwell Primary School. Hackney, London. Funded by Insight Investments commissioned byHS Project
2004 - Shri Swaminarayan Hindu School, Neasden, London. Commissioned by DASH Arts & 291 Gallery, Hackney, London 2003 -Naima Jewish Primary School Funded by Arts Council England
2002 – 04 Monson Primary School. New Cross, London. Funded by Lewisham Excellence in the City Action Zone Regional Arts Lottery Programme(RALP)
For further information please contact me.