‘Beyond Vision II’, PhotoVoice

Working in collaboration with the international charity PhotoVoice, HS Projects launched ‘Beyond Vision II’ in 2009, part of a three year project with street children from Ecuador.

PhotoVoice worked in partnership with local, non-profit organisation Juconi, to help them find ways to use photography in their therapeutic work, supporting street children and families living in circumstances of extreme marginalisation. That stage of the project sought to more fully integrate photographic activities into Juconi’s therapeutic methodologies in their direct work with families and children in the districts.

‘Ecuador is known as the land of fruit and flowers. We live in the middle of the city and we still have glimpses of the beauty of nature. Nature in Ecuador is under threat. We need to take great care of what is precious to us all.’

The young photographers who participated in ‘Beyond Vision II’, spent some time finding and capturing beautiful natural details in the urban wasteland of Guayaquil, seeking to show the resilience of nature in the face of human development, and making a more metaphorical point about the deceptiveness of appearances. As street working children, they have often been judged by appearances too soon by those who did not choose to get close enough to find the beautiful people with such huge potential at the root – seeing only the ugly circumstances they are surrounded by and embroiled in.

In addition to supporting Juconi’s ongoing therapeutic work, PhotoVoice awarded several of the young people who undertook the advanced photography course, with bursaries to allow them to take their photography further and continue to benefit from their new skills. With their own digital cameras and with ongoing support and tuition, these young people pursued their dreams to become professional photographers, or simply to use photography to explore their situation and express their thoughts and dreams to the world.

JUCONI (Junto Con los Niños or Together with the Children) was founded in 1995 as an Ecuadorian not-for-profit organisation that provides specialised educational and therapeutic services to street-working children and their families.

PhotoVoice is an award-winning international charity and the only development organisation of its kind in Europe. Its projects empower some of the most disadvantaged groups in the world with photographic skills so that they can transform their lives.

‘Beyond Vision II’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

‘Banners’, Shelly Goldsmith

In 1998 HS Projects worked in collaboration with the River & Rowing Museum’s education officer to integrate the art commissioning process into the museum’s school outreach programme, an audience the museum particularly wished to engage with.

Shelly Goldsmith was selected on the basis of her design concept proposal that included a programme of workshops with local primary school children aged seven to eleven looking at a range of themes examining the life and history of the River Thames as a series of systems.

In the workshops run by Shelly Goldsmith under the museum’s education officer the children had the opportunity to work with the museum’s various collections. The resulting workshop designs from the children included imagery showing the evolution of river craft (leisure, sport and commercial) river wildlife and geology,

Shelly Goldsmith incorporated the children’s ideas with hers into designs for 6 banners which were then exhibited alongside the children’s works in the museum.

‘Passions’, Kay Walsh

‘Passions’ provided the opportunity for young and vulnerable parents to become confident in image making and explore their individual responses to the word passion. The idea behind the project was to enable the women to explore their own identity outside the role of being a parent. A persona that can often leave women feeling invisible outside of this role.

This project challenged this view by encouraging the participants to work with their passions. By uncovering and exploring parts of their identity that became more hidden or forgotten since embarking on parenthood, they showed a wider view of themselves. The women spoke about the lack of energy and time they had, since becoming a parent, to think about themselves or their own interests. They were asked to think about what they felt passionate about and how they would express this through image making.

Part of the course was to gain new skills and to try photographing different subjects. They explored portraiture, architecture, still life and reportage before setting out on their own to take pictures. The theme allowed them to focus on certain experiences in their daily lives. Throughout the course, each participant gained confidence and developed a strong body of work to describe their own passions. Some had never taken a photo before, others had a camera but hadn’t taken many photos, and all became much more engaged in the process of image making. One parent said “having to give back my camera is like loosing my right arm”.

‘Passions’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

The project ran from July to December 2014.