HS Projects commissioned ‘Journeys Through Sight’ a collaborative project between Judy Price and Toynbee Hall. ‘Journeys Through Sight’ was a digital photography project working with women from the Deesha (Bangladeshi) community that combined photography and English learning. The project participants produced images that relay the colours, tones, environment and people that live in their surrounding neighbourhood of Aldgate East and Brick Lane. The images give an insider’s view of an area that is increasingly objectified through the gaze of the city worker, tourist, night clubber or even the artist and enabled the women to communicate new representations of their community and daily lives.
A presentation of artists working with photography and a visit to local galleries INIVA and Autograph (specialists in photography and art collections focused on contemporary art from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the work of British artists from different cultural backgrounds) gave the women a starting point for the project. It enabled the women to think about the power and potential of an image and different ways of portraying communities and their environments, as well as connecting with public spaces in their area that they might not usually consider.
For many of the women this was the first time they had used a camera or taken photographs in the public space. They responded to the project with great enthusiasm and, as their technical abilities, in terms of composition and interest in subject matter, developed, so did their confidence and relationships with each other and the surrounding area.
The project encouraged the women to think imaginatively about their environment, both internally and externally exploring both their domestic and external environments at the heart of the Bangladeshi community here in London. It enabled them to communicate their representation of their community and daily lives.
‘Journeys Through Sight’ was funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).
The project ran from July to December 2009.
‘Shifting Representations’ was a three-month workshop with participants from the vibrant Somali community in partnership with the Somali Integration and Development Association (SIDA). The participants worked with photography and photoshop to explore how they could shift representations of their community, which is often portrayed in the media only in relation to war and violence.
In the first few sessions the participants spent a lot of time discussing the kinds of images that are perpetuated in the media about Somalia and Somalis and how they could change this and show another side to the Somali community. They then looked at image making and work by a number of artists including: Yinka Shonibare, Shirin Neshat, Cindy Sherman, Raeda Saadeh, Pablo Picasso, Sonia Boyce, Gilbert and George, Johannes Vermeer, Zineb Sedira, Frida Kahlo and Ellen Gallagher. They were also introduced to the digital software Photoshop and its creative potential for both enhancing images and the fabulation of images. The project brought together a range of diverse approaches to thinking about the Somali community through documentary and fabulation.
The project co-ordinator for SIDA remarked that ‘Shifting Representations has been one of the best and most unique projects for the centre. It has created a new environment for thinking through images and changed the way the participants view their surroundings as well as making visible their huge potential creativity’.
‘Shifting Representations’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).
The project ran from July to December 2013.