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Shutter Release - Overcoming Addiction, 2013

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Adults, Health, Justice System

Project Background

DiversityInCare logo

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Lead Facilitator: Ania Dabrowska
Co-Facilitator: Clare Struthers
Workshop Support: Anna Stafford
Partner Organisation: DiversityInCare
Funders: Deloitte Empowering Women Young Philanthropy Syndicate & The Photographic Angle

Shutter Release is intended to help people who are rebuilding their lives plan and prepare for the future, and to identify and communicate the things that would make it easier for them to reach personal goals for the future.
Through the exhibitions and other materials the views and experiences of participants will feed into the public debate about how people can be better supported to reach their goals and achieve successful rehabilitation following prison or addiction.

The aims of the Project were:
a) To raise awareness of the barriers and anxieties faced by the participants, in order to campaign for better support structures and to allow women in the justice system to feed into the design and implementation of those structures.
b) To aid successful rehabilitation and self confidence of the participants by increasing their level of mental and practical preparedness through photography.
c) To create a model of good practice and an evidence base to support the wider use of photography as a tool to tackle issues around release and rehabilitation.

A course of 10 photography workshops was run in Ealing with women at various stages of rebuilding their lives following alcohol or drug addiction. The women were supported to create photo stories that explored their next steps and challenges they would face on the path to rehabilitation, helping them to voice and prepare for the milestones ahead.

Project photo gallery

Shutter Release from Matt Daw

Project Outputs

Watch this space and sign up for the PhotoVoice newsletter to be kept informed of exhibitions featuring this powerful work.

Further project info

This project is generously supported by

Funded by Deloitte Empowering Women Young Philanthropy Syndicate and The Photographic Angle


Shutter Release - Picturing Life After Prison, UK 2012-13

Location: UK, Leeds

Keywords: Adults, Justice System, Mental Health, Prisoners

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Facilitators: Matt Daw, Lorraine Goddard
Partners: NHS, HM Prison Leeds
Local Support: Anne Cowman (NHS)

The aims of Shutter Release are:
• To reduce re-offending rates for prisoners by increasing their level of mental and practical preparedness for successful rehabilitation through photography.
• To raise awareness of the barriers and anxieties faced by prisoners upon release from prison, in order to campaign for better support structures and to allow prisoners to feed into the design and implementation of those structures.
• To create a model of good practice and an evidence base to support the wider use of photography as a tool to tackle issues around release and rehabilitation.

In November 2012 PhotoVoice Project Manager Matt Daw and facilitator Lorraine Goddard delivered a course of eight full-day workshops with a group of three prisoners approaching release, based in the Jigsaw Centre – a charitable project based on the prison grounds and offering support to prisoners’ families who come to visit their loved ones. The course consisted of technical photography skills, visual literacy and storytelling through images, and group discussion of issues involved in preparing for, and dealing successfully with release from prison. The prisoners were given ROTL (day release) to take part in this project over the two weeks of workshops.

The course included a visit from an ex offender working as a mentor with the St Giles Trust, who gave a talk to the prisoners about his experience breaking the cycle of re-offending after his last prison term, and finding work after over 40 years of never having been employed.

Through the course, the participants were supported to consider what challenges they would be facing upon release – both those that would generally affect anyone coming out of prison and also those specific to their situation. They built up personal scrapbooks with photos they had taken, photos they had found and evaluated from newspapers, magazines and books provided as visual stimulus, and notes on their personal milestones after release and how they would reach them. These scrapbooks were invaluable since the prisoners were not allowed to take their cameras back into the cells, but could take their scrapbooks to reflect on photos they had taken and continue work storyboarding their personal journey photo stories.

All the participants succeeded in creating a captioned photo story specific to their situation, conveying what they wanted to explore and encourage others in similar situations to consider. Issues explored included finding employment, facing family and friends, and money troubles. Their work also highlights some issues that those with no experience of prison may not be aware – for example the costs incurred by prisoners in order to maintain a balanced diet and personal hygiene, leading to a draining of resources while they are not earning.

Project Outputs

Shutter Release Book

Order your copy from

Shutter Release Picturing Life After Prison by PhotoVoice | Make Your Own Book

An exhibition of the work is now up in the prison itself, and in the visitor centre where prisoners meet with loved ones. An event in February will highlight the work and the issues raised to sensitize the wider prison community, and visitors from outside including families of the participants, around the challenges around release and support needed for successful rehabilitation.

Further project info

In Britain 49% of adults are reconvicted within one year of being released – for those serving sentences of less than 12 months this increases to 59%. For those who have served more than 10 previous custodial sentences the rate of re-offending rises to 77%. Just 36% of people leaving prison go into education, training or employment. Key factors include a lack of preparedness for release by prisoners before they are released, and a lack of support on the outside when they encounter practical and emotional challenges on the path to rehabilitation.

When prisoners reach the end of their sentence, whether it has been 3 months, 3 years or 30 years, they leave the prison environment with whatever was in their pockets when they arrived, plus a prison release voucher of £49.95. For many prisoners, the situation that led to their imprisonment has also left them with nowhere to go and no one to return to following the completion of their sentence. With less money than would be needed for even one night in a hotel, and no support structure in place to steer them towards shelter, a job and basic necessities even the most resolved ex prisoner is likely to find it a challenge to find the stability needed for successful rehabilitation. For those who have battled addiction, this isolating and challenging situation makes it all the more hard to stay away from their former lifestyle.


Professor Del Loewenthal of the University of Roehampton, an expert in the use of photo therapy techniques in prisons, is leading on an external evaluation of the project’s methodology and impact. He attended one of the workshops in the first week and met with the participants, and will revisit the prison with a research assistant in January 2013 to collect qualitative data through interviews with the participants and wider prison community as to the impact of the project and use of the work on expectations and anxieties around release, and preparedness for a successful rehabilitation.


Having Our Say Too

Location: UK

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Partner Organisations: Main project partner –
National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People

Individual regional project partners:

Barnardos SECOS (Middlesbrough)
Blackburn Engage (Blackburn)
Walsall Street Teams (Walsall)
NSPCC Protect and Respect (London)

PhotoVoice are partnering with the National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People in running five participatory photography projects over the next year.  All projects will run in partnership with specialist support organizations (all the participating partner projects support young people identified as at risk of sexual exploitation or who have been affected by sexual exploitation). The young people involved have the opportunity to participate in a 3-month photography project.
So far projects in Middlesbrough and Blackburn ran throughout the summer and a project in Walsall commenced this September. A London project starts in November and there will be another project in the South East in early 2013.

Participating young people will explore different themes that offer a context to sexual exploitation including gender, power, relationships and sex. They will represent their thoughts, responses and experiences through photography, text and music, creating their own digital stories. There will be a national launch and celebration for participating young people (and their friends and families) from all the projects in 2013. A selection of project images from Blackburn and Walsall were featured as part of Brighton Photo Fringe Photography Festival 2012.

All the young people have the opportunity to complete a SEPE (Supporting Employability and Personal Effectiveness) BTEC certificate as part of each project – So far Middlesbrough and Blackburn projects have completed and all the young people submitted portfolio’s for accreditation.
PhotoVoice and project participants will work with the National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People to develop their digital stories into a resource pack for a diverse range of professionals to use in their support of young people in specialized as well as mainstream support services throughout the UK.  This resource pack will be piloted in mid 2013 with 500 hundred packs subsequently being distributed to schools, youth projects and a range of specialist support services by the beginning of 2014. This resource is planned as a resource for service providers and professionals to deliver projects and services directly informed by the experiences and perspectives of young people. As a consequence the input from the participants will support many other young people across the UK to understand the issues and context of sexual exploitation and to safeguard themselves.

An online resource and independent website with a gallery and resources will also be developed to support young people, their families and professionals and also to profile the portfolio of work created by all the young people on the projects.


Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

WATCH Luke Haye’s Digital Story - Blackburn

WATCH Jean Jieman’s Digital Story - Middlesbrough

Images from the exhibition at the Brighton Photo Fringe:

HOS2 exhibition


Lookout UK (2012-2013)

Location: UK, Nottingham

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Partner Organisations: Catch 22, Chapter 1, FACT Liverpool, FARE Glasgow, LIVE Magazine, Media Trust, Nottingham Photographers’ Hub, Waltham Forest Community Safety, Z-Arts Manchester
Project Manager: Matt Daw
Project Support: Clare Struthers, Aimée Woollard

Lookout is encouraging and supporting young people across the UK to speak out about issues that affect them and other young people in their community.

LOOKOUT UK website is now LIVE! -

Lookout UK website is now LIVE

Under 25? Submit your photo and message with the form below (and model release form or video of subject giving consent if it is a photo of a recognisable person) signed by you (and your parent /guardian if you are under 18). Your photo and voice will join those of young people all over the UK and could be seen in exhibitions, online, posters, leaflets and more. Watch this space for details of prizes and opportunities for those submitting photos!

Photo Submission Form

Model Release Form

The debate around issues such as gangs, knife crime, youth opportunities and peer pressure is too often held in political circles and the media, over the heads of those most affected, and those who hold the key to improving the situation – young people themselves.

Workshops have just finished in Walthamstow, London, resulting in powerful digital stories on the subject of girls and gangs. Watch this space for a chance to view these online!
Workshops start in January in Manchester (in partnership with Z-Arts), and in Nottingham (in partnership with the Nottingham Photographers’ Hub).
In February Lookout Glasgow begins, with workshops with young people in partnership with FARE Scotland.

Since June 2010 UK-based international charity PhotoVoice has been working with young people from all backgrounds across the UK providing free training in digital photography and offering opportunities for young people to amplify their voices in the debate around youth issues. The first phase of this project, Lookout London, included groups of young people in supported housing in Walthamstow and Homerton, and focused on the issues of gangs and knife crime in London. Click here for more details about the project and where the work was shown. Throughout 2012 and 2013 PhotoVoice will be running workshops with hundreds more young people in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow and more, to support them to speak out about issues they feel strongly about through photography, music, spoken word.

Throughout 2013 photos and words by young people about all sorts of issues affecting youth in the UK will be showcased via youth media websites and magazines (including features in 3 consecutive issues of LIVE Magazine), viral internet campaigns and national press.

A Lookout Youth Conference at FACT in Liverpool in June 2013 will be a chance for young people from the North of England and beyond to come together to discuss some of the issues and attitudes raised in the photographs and captions produced. The Conference will feature a photographic exhibition, multimedia screenings, photography workshops and a keynote panel debate tackling the issues facing young people in modern day Britain. Young people are invited to participate whether they have been involved in the Lookout project or not. Booking (free) will open in February 2013. The day will end with a social event for young people, with live music and spoken word performances.

The outcome of the Liverpool conference will be the beginnings of a ‘youth manifesto’ containing testimonies, perspectives and recommendations for the government and local authorities from young people. This document will be worked on and added to by young people throughout the Lookout campaign in 2013 and the finished manifesto presented at a follow-up youth conference in London in September 2013.

The youth conference in London in September 2013 will take place at Rich Mix and will consist of a day of debates, workshops and presentations, and a day of fun activities, live music, creative workshops etc to engage public and further young people in responding to the perspectives shared through the work.

The first group to complete a course for the newly expanded Lookout UK project is a youth group run by Catch22 in the Rye Hill Estate in Peckham. Click here to watch a documentary about the workshops.

Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

Further project info

Lookout Peckham Staff
Lead Facilitator: Miguel Amortegui
Support Facilitators: Kristian Jeff Agustin, Lucin Marshall, Simone Novotny
Catch22 Workshop Support: Michael Gellineau

Lookout Walthamstow (November-December 2012)
Lead Facilitator: Helen Cammock
Support Facilitators: Clare Struthers, Aimée Woollard

Lookout Nottingham workshops (Jan - March 2013): Run by Nottingham Photographers’ Hub

Lookout Manchester (January - March 2013), in partnership with Z-Arts
Lead Facilitator: Adam Lee
Support Facilitators: Caroline Edge, Nick Blackhall

Lookout Glasgow (February - April 2013): Facilitated by Becky Duncan in partnership with FARE Scotland


Rights! Cameras! Action! UK (2011)

Location: UK

Keywords: Advocacy, Children, Rights, Young People

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Action for Children Project Coordinator: Mark Benson
PhotoVoice Photography Facilitators: Liz Orton, Chris Smith, Rashmi Munikempanna, Zoe O’Reilly, Becky Duncan, Heidi Gazeley, Debbie Castro, Adam Lee, Brian Cregan, Mark Chilvers, Clare Struthers
PhotoVoice Film Facilitator: Sam Liebmann
Headliners Journalism Facilitator: Sam Hepworth
Book and Website Design: Erin Joy

Free online resource:

Accompanying booklets are available featuring captioned photographs by young people illustrating the first 41 articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ideal as a classroom resource. For copies please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

16th December 2011 marked 20 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was formerly adopted by the UK. Throughout 2011 PhotoVoice, in partnership with Action for Children, worked with young people all around the UK in order to gather their thoughts and experiences on the relevance and importance of child rights to their lives. The young people involved have included Young Carers, Looked After Young People, Homeless Young People and Disabled Young People.

On December 16th PhotoVoice and Action for Children launched an online multimedia resource at to inform and engage young people across the UK about UNCRC. A booklet has also been produced to be used as a classroom tool and to signpost the online resource.

PhotoVoice worked throughout the Summer with six young people from Action for Children’s Southwark Young Carers group, exploring how they feel the UNCRC affects their lives and the lives of other young people in the UK. Through 12 workshops these young people were introduced to digital photography, journalism and film-making skills and supported to use their new skills to create content for the Rights Cameras Action resource and to illustrate the Right Year for Children website. While this course was in progress PhotoVoice facilitators travelled up and down the country to run one-off photography workshops with other groups of young people representing diverse demographics of young people in the UK. The workshops were designed to explore how photography can be used to engage and inform young people about children’s rights, while at the same time giving these young people the opportunity to feed their creativity and personal messages into the resources that will help to engage other young people going forward.

Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

Rights! Cameras! Action! was exhibited in Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in December 2011, coinciding with the 20th anniversary and with a UK-wide press campaign based on raising awareness of this significant landmark. The exhibition showcased photographs and messages directly from young people, bringing their voices to the discussion and reminding MSPs and public audiences alike of the importance of their perspectives and their engagement in the implementation of any policies or initiatives designed to improve their lives.

On 15th December 2011 the same exhibition was showcased in Matrix Chambers in London to coincide with an equality workshop for young people, as part of the launch publicity for the Right Year for Children.

On 16th December, 20 young people marched to 10 Downing Street to present more than 3000 footprints with messages about children’s rights from young people all over the UK, to remind the government to remember young people and their rights when developing policies and laws.

CLICK HERE to see our fantastic photography-focused multimedia resource on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Please contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to order a copy.

Further project info

Partner Organisations:

Action for Children

3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford WD18 8AG
Tel: 01923 361500
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Registered charity no. 1097940/SC038092

Southwark Young Carers, London
Young people: Christina, Dinah, Elizabeth, Emmanuelle, Naz and Tahmin
Action for Children Floating Support, Omagh
Young people: Nichole, Zoe, Jonathon and Michaela

Aiming High for Disabled Children Bournemouth
Young people: Arrol, Cameron, Ebony, Jacob, Jason, Sam and Taylor

Carmarthenshire Family & Community Team, Llanelli
Young people: Claire, Laura, Iesha, Rachel, Sophie and Annalise


TPA Bursary Scheme 2011 - 2012

Location: UK

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

• Location: London
• Funder: The Photographic Angle (TPA)
• Project Manager: Clare Struthers
• Project Support: Matt Daw, Ingrid Guyon

TPA LOGO 2PhotoVoice runs a bursary scheme to support photographers trained through our projects to continue developing their photographic skills and explore opportunities for work placements and further study and we are thrilled that the fantastic charity The Photographic Angle generously supported six PhotoVoice project participants from our Lookout London project, throughout 2011-2012.

Bianca Tennant, 18
Nathaniel Williams, 18
Victoria Omobuwajo, 18
Sansha Edwin, 18
Venesha Cunningham, 23

All of the recipients were living in Chapter 1 supported housing schemes and had previously taken part in the Lookout London PhotoVoice project, exploring youth perspectives on gang and knife crime.

After a discussion with each participant about the type of photography project they’d like to develop, together we devised a schedule of workshops in a range of different photographic practices to help them achieve their goals.

Bianca Bursary Page 200“The workshops were great, because when we were given the cameras I didn’t really know what to do with it, so without them I wouldn’t have used the cameras so much as I do now. I normally use it on special occasions like parties etc, I am learning how to use it more often now. The helped me in finding my own style, especially when it came to the holidays when young people don’t often have much to do, some people wouldn’t really think that photography is for them, but once you get in to it, you begin to realise how interesting you find it and all the different things you can find from it, like your own style.” –Bianca Tennant

Each participant was given a Canon 1000D SLR camera, with a memory card, card reader and camera case, along with a laptop in order to be able to complete their personal projects at the initial weekend workshop organised for them, which introduced them to the basics of using an SLR camera, as most of them had never had the opportunity to use one before.

“The workshop we did with Ingrid was really helpful in terms of getting to know how to use the camera, it was good to be able to read through the notes she gave us and practice to learn how to use it properly.” - Victoria Omobuwajo

After the initial workshop, another 3 workshops were organised, in studio photography, a photojournalism outshoot covering the London Marathon, where the images taken were used in an online article published in the youth publication LIVE magazine, and a final one in photo editing techniques.

They were all given the summer, supported by personal mentoring sessions with PhotoVoice to complete their personal projects.

“I would say the bursary scheme has kept us motivated, thinking, always on the go as well so we don’t get bored, so we’ve had that mentality that we have to keep moving, keep stepping forward. It’s given us something to do.” Bianca Tennant

Project photo gallery

To switch between the galleries for each participant, click on the menu icon at the bottom left.

Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers

Project Outputs

The TPA will be touring an exhibition including the Bursary scheme work in 2013 and we are also organising a separate exhibition in January 2013 in London – so watch this space for further details and an invite!

Additional Outcomes:
PhotoVoice passed on other creative opportunities that arose for the bursary participants to get involved in, including:
• BBC Community Reporters Scheme - A diverse team learning to work together and make two documentaries that aired on BBC Radio 1 and BBC1XTRA – Nathaniel Williams & Victoria Omobuwajo
“I gained new skills and learned to use new software with complex equipment. I also met new people who all had experience from diverse platforms.”  - Nathaniel Williams
• Princes Trust Team Programme course, that gives you practical skills, new friends, self-belief, help with getting a job, and lots more – Bianca Tennant
• Getting involved with LIVE magazine (a youth run publication) as a photographer – Bianca Tennant & Sansha Edwin
• Paid photography work for a Chapter 1 football event in Manchester – Nathaniel Williams & Bianca Tennant
“I went up to Manchester with Bianca to shoot a football tournament of Chapter 1 residents playing football. Here we took many photos to showcase the day, it was a new experience and I loved the challenge.” – Nathaniel Williams
• Paid peer facilitating on PhotoVoice’s Lookout UK project –Bianca Tennant, Victoria Omobuwajo, Venesha Cunningham & Sansha Edwin
• All of the participants have also moved out of supported housing and into their own accommodation over the course of the scheme – everyone at PhotoVoice wishes them the best of luck for the future!!

Further project info

TPA have already collaborated with PhotoVoice for the Voices exhibition (see the pictures below) that showcased work from a range of recent PhotoVoice projects and took the photographs into public spaces and unusual venues. This new partnership marks the next phase of a relationship we hope to build upon over the years to come.

Voices Exhibition in Birmingham

Stories of the World: Geffrye Museum (2011)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Geffrye Museum Project Manager: Rachael Crofts
Geffrye Museum Project Officer: Louisa Knight
PhotoVoice Photography Facilitators: Chris Smith, Clare Struthers
William WilberForce Trust Community Worker: Zak S.

The Geffrye is a key partner in Stories of the World: London. Stories of the World is one of the major projects at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Stories of the World is a UK cultural celebration of diversity and creativity which will explore the stories behind museum collections and work with young people to create exhibitions and events around specific themes that will attract new audiences to our museums.

PhotoVoice teamed up with the Geffrye Museum to deliver a course of five weekly digital workshops with the young people from the World’s End Estate, Chelsea in Re:generate trust facilities, to learn and develop their photography skills and techniques.

Throughout the project the participants used photography as a way to engage with and think about what ‘home’ means to them. This project has enabled young people to engage in an open dialogue about their homes and has encouraged them to think about them afresh, exploring ‘what makes a home’ and the way they live.

The work displayed in this web gallery are photographs which the participants feel signify the themes they discussed the most. They have also written corresponding captions which gives you an insight into their lives.

The Worlds End Estate, London
Young people: Apphia, Robin, Damilola, John, Yanique



Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

The photos taken by the young people were showcased in a celebratory exhibition held at St John’s Church on the estate, and will be shared with the wider public possibly in newspapers and through live multimedia displays in connection to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Stories of The World Montage

The images will also be used as part of the wider archive for the Documenting Homes Collection at the Geffrye Museum.

Further project info

Partner Organisations:

Geffrye Museum
Kingsland Road,  London,  E2 8EA
Tel: 020 7739 9893
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

William WilberForce Trust
8-10 World’s End Place, London, SW10 0HE
Tel: 020 7052 0336
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Get the Picture: Scottish Parliament

Location: Scotland

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Facilitators: Becky Duncan
Partner organisation: Scottish Parliament

Get the Picture

The Scottish Parliament hosted a day for 155 16 to 25 year olds, from across Scotland, for their Get the Picture! participative and interactive event. The event aimed to offer young people the chance to showcase their views, issues and lives in Scotland, as well as give them the opportunity to present their aspirations for Scotland over the next 5 years.

The means for expressing their views and opinions offered to the participants on the day ranged from cartoon making and street art, through photography to an open debate in the Debate Chamber.

The series of portraits created by the PhotoVoice participants make a visual comment on their chosen political message of the day. The results of their work are now avaliable for viewing in the gallery below.

Project photo gallery


Lookout London (2011)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Facilitators: Miguel Amortegui (Homerton) and Ania Dabrowska (Walthamstow)
Support Facilitators: Dinah Kenyon (Homerton) and Jaime Antonio Leme Jr (Walthamstow)
Partner organisation: Chapter 1 (

Generously funded by the Marathon of Marathons Trust and an anonymous funder


Lookout London is becoming Lookout UK!

Young people needed this Summer to join the debate around gangs and knife crime.

The Lookout project provides young people (under 25) with the opportunity, the skills and the support to feed their perspectives into the debate on gangs and knife crime issues through photography. The aim is to amplify the voices of young people in the discussion about the causes and potential solutions to gang and knife crime issues, encourage other young people to speak out, and to encourage the media and public to consider their voices to be relevant and important in the debate.

PhotoVoice is looking for groups of young people from a variety of locations and demographics to take part in the Lookout project. They will receive photographic training from professional photographers and be supported to create work that will be part of local and national outputs, and showcased at a youth-orientated conference on gangs and knife crime in 2013.

If you are interested in a group of 10 young people from your organisation or Local Authority participating in the Lookout project, and you can cover the costs of a course of 10 workshops (Approx £6,000 including equipment retained by the project or participants and a local exhibition of their work), please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

In 2011 PhotoVoice completed a course of photography workshops with 19 young people living in supported housing in Homerton and Walhamstow.

The groups have been supported to explore the issues of gang culture and knife crime through photography, in order to produce captioned photos that convey their experiences and perspectives to peers and the general public. Too often the media representation of these issues is confused with a general representation of young people, without recognition that young people are more often the victims of these issues than adults, and the perpetrators are only a limited cross section of young people in Britain.



Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

PV Project Manager Matt Daw with three of the Lookout London participants were on the Vanessa Feltz show, BBC Radio London on Friday 28th October, talking about the campaign launch across the capital!

Listen to the podcast @ 1:01:33

The photographs and captions signed off for use in the outputs by the participants at the end of the workshops will be showcased in a small exhibition in one of Chapter 1’s project centres in London, with a celebration event to which parents, young people, Chapter 1 staff, representatives from other youth-focused organisations and press will be invited. The work will also be made available in the form of the booklet, posters and multimedia presentations to organisations working with young people in London, or involved in creating educational or campaigning resources aimed at young people or focused on youth issues.

Some work from this project will be touring Bristol, Swindon and Birmingham in September as part of an exhibition showcasing PhotoVoice’s work curated and presented by The Photographic Angle ( See our upcoming exhibitions pages for more details as they become available!

Photographs from both groups was also showcased at the Police & Criminal Justice conference Tackling Gangs and Serious Youth Violence, on Friday 30th September 2011.

If you are interested in using or showcasing work from this project please contact Project Manager Matt Daw on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Lookout London Poster 1

Lookout London Poster 2

Lookout London Poster 3

Lookout London Poster 4






Aiming High Photo Project, Cheshire East (2011)

Location: UK

Keywords: Children, Disability, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partner: Cheshire East Council
Project Manager: Matt Daw
Facilitators: Adam Lee, Tabitha Jussa, Glynis Shaw

In March 2011, PhotoVoice ran digital photography workshops with young disabled people attending activity clubs organised through the Aiming High for Disabled Children 2011 programme. The aim was to provide the young people with tools and skills that would allow them to share what they enjoyed and what they felt could be improved or added in future short break service programmes. Armed with cameras and supported by PhotoVoice facilitators, twelve young people from three different activity clubs in Macclesfield - Active8, SPACE and The Parachute Club - used their cameras to document and explore their experience of short break services.

Aiming High for Disabled Children and CEC logosThe photographs and accompanying captions by the young people were showcased at an event in Middlewich, Cheshire East, on 29th March 2011. The event was attended by service providers, teachers, staff from Cheshire East Council, parents, local press and the Deputy Mayor of Cheshire East. This event was the first stage in a review of the Aiming high for Disabled Children programme, which will feed into decisions about what shape future services for young disabled people in Cheshire East could take. This photography project ensured that the young people who experience these services first hand could feed into this process, and that their first hand experiences will inform the decisions made now and in the future.

Photographs by the young people will be put on permanent display in local authority buildings throughout Cheshire East, so that these young people retain a visible presence in the very places where policies and programmes that directly affect them are created.

“We have really enjoyed working with Photovoice and their skilled team of workshop leaders.  The young people had a fantastic time and were able to express their own views in a very hands on, immediate way.  Not only did we get a chance to see what short breaks worked and what we should concentrate on in future short break design, but everyone had fun doing it too.” Ann Clark, Project Adviser – Aiming High for Disabled Children

Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

A few photos from the Aiming High celebration event on Tuesday 29th March 2011 in Middlewich.

The Deputy Mayor of Cheshire East meets participant Gareth Edwards, who presents him with a copy of his photos.
The Deputy Mayor of Cheshire East meets participant Gareth Edwards, who presents him with a copy of his photos. Photo by Matt Daw

Head of the Aiming High Programme in Cheshire East, Barbara Logan, opens the event.
Head of the Aiming High Programme in Cheshire East, Barbara Logan, opens the event. Photo by Matt Daw

A visitor browses the exhibition of photos by the Aiming High Photo project participants.
A visitor browses the exhibition of photos by the Aiming High Photo project participants. Photo by Matt Daw

PhotoVoice Facilitator Tabitha Jussa speaks about the workshop process.
PhotoVoice Facilitator Tabitha Jussa speaks about the workshop process. Photo by Matt Daw


Waiting, Glasgow (2010 - 2011)

Location: Scotland, Glasgow

Keywords: Homelessness, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partner: Awards for All Scotland- The National Lottery, The Gannochy Trust, The Robertson Trust
Project Manager: Jane Martin
Facilitators: Brian Sweeney, Christina Kernohan, Becky Duncan

Waiting teaching resource on youth homelessness - click to access online
In the year 2009-10 more than 10, 000 young people (aged 18 – 24) in Scotland were accepted as homeless.

Over the winter we’ve been working with Fairbridge Glasgow (for the second time) and eleven young people affected by homelessness. After a residential teambuilding trip of night photography, glowsticks and white water rafting, they met twice a week for six weeks with facilitators Brian Sweeney, Christina Kernohan, and Fairbridge Staff, travelling over Glasgow to shoot an impressive body of work.

In 2003 the Scottish Parliament passed groundbreaking legislation stating that everyone who is homeless would have the right to a home by 2012. This programme to tackle homelessness has received international acclaim and Scotland has been recognised as having the best homelessness legislation in western Europe.

Many young people are living in unsuitable temporary accommodation, waiting for a permanent place to live. When they are offered a place it is often in a location or in a condition that others won’t accept. Support available to furnish it can take a long time to come through, and young people can be forced into paying rent for places they can’t yet live in.  For some young people this means double rent and years paying off the arrears. 

In 2012 when the legislation comes into place all homeless young people will have the right to a home – but for this right to become reality there must be homes for them to live in.

Project photo gallery

Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers


Big Issue Scotland (March 2011)
Scottish TV - The Hour(March 2011)
Daily Record (March 2011)

Watch this page for links and more press details as the campaign unfolds!

Project Outputs

Waiting is touring Scotland throughout spring and summer 2011, visiting locations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Stirling.

Waiting’s touring exhibition continues to go around Scotland, making it the most exhibited and visited PhotoVoice project of recent years – over ½ million people are estimated to have seen the images in over 20 sites. Big thanks to all the team, our partner Fairbridge, all the venues and well done to the young participants!

Download the full exhibition tour schedule as a pdf here.

“I thought the exhibition was wonderful. The words attached to the photographs were very poignant… The staff all thought it looked so good. Emphasise the ‘so’. A borrower said it was like ‘looking out of a big window’. It was such a change from notices that we usually put on our walls-something to make people think in a different way. Thank you for letting us have ‘Waiting’.”
Janette, Maryhill Library & Learning Centre

In December the young people impressed final year students of Photography and Visual Communications at Glasgow School of Art with a presentation of their work (and a tour of the Art School) and the young people are now about to start delivering peer education workshops with young people at the Quarriers Stopover Centre in Glasgow.

We have also launched a free teaching resource available online: to download click here.

Further project info

Interested in buying a print? All photographs from the Waiting project are available to buy as high quality digital C-Type prints at the following prices:

8” x 10” print: £30
12” x 16” print: £60
P&P: £2.50

To order, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with details of the print you wish to buy (see the slideshow above), or call PhotoVoice on 020 7033 3878.
All prints are accompanied with a caption, information about the project, and a PhotoVoice certificate of authenticity. 50% of all proceeds from print sales are paid to the photographer whenever possible.







Having Our Say (2010)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Funding Partner: National Working Group
Project Manager: Jane Martin
Facilitators: Kyna Gourley

In August 2009 The National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People approached us to develop a project supported by their members, for young people to develop new skills, and in a safe space reflect on and articulate their views, experiences and identity. The project was also an opportunity to develop peer support and make links between different projects nationally. It has created a young person led body of work (photographs and writing) which represents some of the participants’ key issues to a wider audience.

From January to September 2010 28 young people (aged 12 to 25) from eight projects across England worked with PhotoVoice, the NWG project coordinator, and Kyna Gourley freelance photographer and facilitator in creating the photographs you can see in the gallery below, and in the linked publication. The work was shown to an invited audience for the first time in October 2010 and is being exhibited across England during 2011.

Project photo gallery

Further project info

Participants came from projects run by Barnardos, ACE and SECOS projects, Walsall Street Teams, Safe and Sound Derby, Blackburn ENGAGE, NSPCC Streetmatters, London The Men’s Room Manchester, The Children’s Society, Hand in Hand Keighley, and Manchester Safe in the City.

Defining, explaining and talking about sexual exploitation is hard. It’s professional language, and it’s used to describe a subject that’s difficult for anyone, young or old to talk about. Yet it is important to acknowledge it’s the issue which linked all the young people who took part in this project. Those who took part were attending the projects either because someone was worried they were at risk of sexual exploitation, or they had been directly affected by it.  Some definitions.

While young people who took part in this project understood that sexual exploitation was the issue which linked the projects involved, it wasn’t always the one issue which defined them or their photography.

In the project gallery, artistic work sits alongside familiar motifs of normal young lives: going out and having fun with friends; the importance of family; following fashion; signs of poetry and beauty and future ambitions. Other pictures tell of some of the complex issues that many participants negotiate with resilience in their everyday lives. The diversity of images perhaps reflects the fact that sexual exploitation, or the risk of it, rarely stands by itself as an issue in young people’s lives. It is both the cause and result of a multitude of other difficult situations that young people are forced to deal with.

The most common theme that arose during discussions and in photographs was difficulties young people faced finding safe and stable places to live and call home. Over half of all participants were living in temporary, unstable and at times inappropriate housing during the course of this project. Other worries reflected in images include difficulties negotiating family ties, love and relationships, taking risks and staying safe and managing the emotions that all these issues throw up.

It is a tribute to the commitment and strength of all those who took part that all but one completed the project at the same time as negotiating these issues, starting new college courses, dealing with difficult housing moves or care proceedings, helping police prosecutions, finishing exams, and supporting their families and friends.

Opportunities for these young people to communicate their experiences to a wider audience, and to challenge the assumptions made about them remain relatively rare. They often continue to be spoken for by professionals, stereotyped or simply ignored. The photos here are those that participants chose to represent themselves and they remind us that young lives are vibrant, diverse, complicated and sometimes unfairly hard. These images also resist traditional views of young people as victims, risky, or difficult to engage and instead share their talents, commitment and concerns to a wider world.

Open publication - Free publishing

Making the Change (2010)

Location: UK, Liverpool

Keywords: Disability, Young People

Project Background

Project Managers: Jane Martin, Matt Daw
Local Coordination: Karen Gleave, Anne McManiman
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Adam Lee, Bec Garland, Colin McPherson, Glynis Shaw, John Lafferty, Tabitha Jussa

In 2010 the Northwest Regional SEN Hub Steering group decided that the focus of their work strand should be to give a platform to the young people of the region so that services could be improved based on their perceptions and experiences.

The NW Hub commissioned PhotoVoice to run photography workshops with more than 30 young people across eight local authorities, in Bury, Cumbria, Cheshire East, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens and Warrington. In April 2010 some of the work produced by the young people was showcased at an event based at SEN practitioners from across the North West, held at the Reebok Stadium. The event provided a platform for a representative group of young people with SEN and Disabilities to showcase their work and share their messages with decision makers and managers from the region and from the National Field force. Young people attended to explain their work, share their thoughts with delegates directly, and to demonstrate their talents through dance, poetry and song.

Final report into the outcomes of the project (pdf)

Project photo gallery

Project Outputs

An in-depth report was produced by the NW Hub to capture the learning from the process and the key messages from the young people who took part, to ensure that the findings inform future improvements to transition services in the participating local authorities and beyond. The report also aims to promote the use of participatory projects such as these as a means of involving young people in the decision making processes that will ultimately affect them most.

The photographs by the young people have been used to create a poster exhibition for display in schools and SEN departments, and an A5 booklet designed for use with young people to prompt discussion of issues around transition and what the change may mean for them. If you are interested in any of the outputs from the project please contact Project Manager Matt Daw - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Download the poster exhibition as an A4 pdf: makingthechange_postersa4.pdf


My City My World (2009)

Location: UK, Liverpool

Keywords: Disability, Young People

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Funding Partner: Liverpool Council Art Funding
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Adam Lee Alison, Southward, Bec Garland, Glynis Shaw, Janet Brandon, John Lafferty, Russell Wright, Tabitha Jussa, Vik

From July 2009 PhotoVoice has been working in partnership with the Liverpool City Council (LCC) to deliver photographic workshops with young people across Liverpool to provide them with a new skill and a way to express their thoughts and aspirations to their families, peers and the public.

PhotoVoice has been working with young people living in three of the Children’s Homes in Liverpool, as well as young people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities across the city. More than thirty young people have taken part in the project, producing excellent
photographs that convey their unique perspectives on life
and on the city they live in.

The photographs produced by the young people will be showcased to the public and press in Liverpool through an exhibition at the prestigious BlueCoat Gallery in Liverpool town centre from December 14th – 21st, and through the dissemination of postcards that will carry these seldom heard voices to new audiences.

A travelling component of the exhibition will tour schools and public spaces in January. If you would be interested in hosting this exhibition at your premises or event please
contact Matt Daw: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The work is also presented in a high quality photo book, available to purchase here:

Project photo gallery




My City, My World feature in The Big Issue in the North
The Big Issue- August 2009- My City, My World

Further project info

Participating Organisations: Alder Road Children’s Home, Fusion project, Laurel Road Children’s Home, Prescot Drive Short Stay Respite Centre, Warnerville Road Children’s Home


Moving Lives (2009)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Refugee

Project Background

Project Manager: Jane Martin
Partner Organisation: The Refugee Council
Facilitators: Liz Orton, Camila Cavalcante Pereira, Les Monaghan,. Rashmi Munikempanna, Ben Thomas

PhotoVoice’s work with refugees continued in a new partnership with the British Refugee Council SMILE Project

PhotoVoice’s work with refugees continued in a new partnership with the British Refugee Council SMILE Project. From August until October 2009,  ‘Moving Lives 2009’, led by Liz Orton, worked with 12 unaccompanied refugee children who had all been in the UK less than a year. Les Monaghan, Rashmi Munikempanna, Camila Cavalcante Pereira and Ben Thomas worked alongside Liz to explore reflective practice in facilitation and how we can develop our facilitator training methodology.  Thanks to Karen Browne for her support throughout the project.

Project photo gallery




How We See It (2009)



Project Background

Project Manager: Jane Martin
Partner Organisation: Fairbridge
Facilitators: Matthew Lea, Kyna Gourley, Othello De’Souza-Hartley, David Nwikpo

Photographs, poems, videos and music by young people from Fairbridge Kennington and Hackney, London.

“It’s programs like these that can change someone’s life and give hope to someone who would otherwise have been considered hopeless.” Kimba Bush – Klarity 2020

Fairbridge logoWe’ve now completed the workshop phase of How We See It and are working on the dissemination of a huge body of digital stories, photographs, poems, a music video and a hip hop track.

Big thanks to Fairbridge, all the participants and all the facilitators, artists and volunteers:

Matt Lea, David Nwikpo, Othello de’Souza-Hartley, Kyna Gourley, Y2Y Youth Forum , Kimba Bush, Sifunda Msebele, Steve ‘Polar Bear’ Camden, Christine Santa Ana, John Parbury and Mured Hussein.

Project photo gallery

Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers

Sights Unseen (2009 - 2010)

Location: Asia, China, UK, London, South and Middle America, Mexico

Keywords: Advocacy, Blindness

Project Background

Project Manager: Matt Daw
Funding Partners: Pfizer, Greater London Fund for the Blind, Schroders
Facilitators: Gina Badenoch, Liz Orton, Lucy Williams, Tanvir Bush, Mickel Smithen, Ingrid Guyon, David Kendall, Chloe Dewe-Matthews, Cheryl Gabriel

Photography by blind and visually impaired people in the UK, Mexico and China

In partnership with Sight of Emotion (Mexico), the Organisation of Blind Africans and Caribbeans (OBAC, London) and One-Plus-One (China).

AIM: To aid blind and visually impaired communities to create a dialogue with the seeing world, and to empower them with the skills and tools they need to influence decision makers and public awareness of the issues close to their hearts.

Sight of Emotion is the Mexican organisation that pioneered the use of photography as a tool for the blind and visually impaired to express themselves and tackle social and communication barriers. Founded by Gina Badenoch, Sight of Emotion partnered with PhotoVoice to create the Beyond Sight project in 2007, and PhotoVoice is proud to once more be working with SOE to deliver Sights Unseen.

OBAC exists to ensure blind and partially sighted Africans and Caribbean people access relevant services, influence decision and policy makers, to enable them to overcome barriers that prevent them become active members of the community.

Sights Unseen has received the generous support of the following organisations and individuals:

Pfizer UK Foundation
Schroders plc
Greater London Fund for the Blind
Karen Smith


Project photo gallery



Further project info

Sights Unseen built upon PhotoVoice’s previous project with blind and visually impaired people, Beyond Sight. Working with The Organisation of Blind Africans and Caribbeans (OBAC) in the UK, Sight of Emotion in Mexico, and One-Plus-One in China, Photovoice has been introducing blind and visually impaired people in all three countries to the concept of Sensory Photography. This innovative methodology makes it possible for those with limited or no sight to both create and experience photographs, and to use photography as a way to communicate their experiences and the issues that affect them to friends, family, peers and the wider public.

UK workshops - Photography by blind and visually impaired people in the Afro Caribbean community in South London

End of course celebrations at OBACPhotoVoice ran a course of ten photography workshops in the Spring of 2009, providing a group of eleven participants, all of whom were service users at OBAC, with training in digital photography using sensory photography techniques. Following this course, an exhibition of the work produced was held for friends, family and staff at the offices of OBAC in South London.

PhotoVoice then provided training for five of the participants who were interested in becoming workshop leaders in order to be able to run ongoing workshops for other blind and visually impaired service users at OBAC. This group of peer facilitators were supported by PhotoVoice staff to deliver a second round of workshops in OBAC with a new group of participants. Again, this course ended with an exhibition showcasing their achievements in the OBAC offices.

Several participants in the first course also chose to use their new photographic skills to embark upon advocacy projects dealing with issues that they feel strongly about. These individuals also helped design a health advocacy campaign aimed specifically at the Afro-Caribbean community, highlighting the increased risk they face of certain conditions that can cause sight loss. As these conditions are treatable, sight loss can be prevented if the condition is identified early enough, so the campaign aims to highlight to those of African and Caribbean origin the importance of regular eye tests regardless of a lack of symptoms.

For more information about the advocacy phase of Sights Unseen click here.

China Workshops

Outshoot in BeijingIn May 2009, two PhotoVoice facilitators travelled to Beijing to run photographic training workshops for blind and visually impaired people, supported by disabled media organisation One-Plus-One. Two days of training in facilitation skills and sensory photography methodology were held for two visually impaired people and two local photographers interested in becoming workshop leaders, and then the newly trained facilitation team supported five days of workshops led by the PhotoVoice facilitators.

Sights Unseen exhibition in Beijing Art ShowWork by the Chinese group was showcased in the Beijing Art Fair 2009, bringing the photographs, their messages, and the concept of sensory photography to a varied international audience. The exhibition included tactile diagrams of certain images, and audio descriptions in Chinese and English to make the work accessible to all.

” When I first heard about Photo Voice, part of me thought that this is just an activity to suit the taste of non-disabled people. But soon after I joined the workshop I realized that Photo Voice is not just about photography. By taking pictures, we get a better understanding of the details around us. More important is that I could share my ideas with more people and that made me very excited. Before this project I asked the same question a lot of people ask: why should blind people do photography? I believe there are still many people who will ask this question, but I would like to answer them: why shouldn’t blind people take pictures?”

Yang Qingfeng

Sights Unseen Exhibition 2010

19th - 23rd January 2010
The Association of Photographers Gallery
81 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4QS

Photographs produced by individuals trained through the Sights Unseen workshops in China and the UK will be exhibited alongside work by blind and visually impaired photographers from Mexico who have been trained by Sight of Emotion. The work will be made accessible to everyone through the use of tactile diagrams, braille signage, and an audio trail around the exhibition that will give descriptions and captions for all the photos featured.

A talk on sensory photography was also held at the AOP Gallery on Thursday 21st January

The Sight of Emotion Process - Sensory Photography

Participants learn to use senses other than sight to create images: hearing to judge distance, touch and smell to discover subjects. Once the photograph has been taken, textures and sounds will be used to achieve interpretation of the image. The idea is to demonstrate that although participants cannot see the photograph, they can feel and understand what they want to communicate through an image. They are able to share their world with the visual world, using their own sensorial perceptions. In discovering their abilities, participants gain a greater sense of self-esteem, inclusion, freedom of expression and independence. Learning photographic skills will give participants a new form of communication and a channel for self-advocacy – a new way of articulating their experiences, needs, hopes and concerns to the seeing world. Their photographs will enable them to challenge the stigma of their daily lives and raise consciousness about the needs of people with sight problems.

UR in the Picture (2008 - 2009)

Location: UK

Keywords: Adults, Mental Health

Project Background

Project Managers: April Coetzee and Tiffany Fairey
Funding Partner: United Response
Facilitators: Matthew Lea, Lucy Williams, Steven Davidson, Matthew Blackstaffe, Chris West, Tim Ashby,

Photography by mental health service users in the UK

In partnership with United Response

UR in the Picture

Photos by people with mental health needs in the UK

From October 2008 - August 2009, PhotoVoice ran weekly one-day workshops with three groups of mental health service users. The workshops brought together users of a variety of service providers, all of whom were taught to use the camera as a tool to explore their own lives and to express the things that are important to them to each other, their loved ones and to the wider public.

The work produced is of an incredible quality, and the colourful diversity of subjects chosen by the photographers is in itself a challenge to widespread misconceptions about those with mental health needs. There are powerful messages about the challenges faced by the photographers and their thoughts about the shortfalls and strengths of service provision and policy in the UK.

The work from UR in the Picture has been exhibited in Bognor Regis, the local area for many of the photographers, and will be showcased in a high-profile exhibition in the Bankside Gallery on Southbank, London from 6-12 July 2009. This exhibition will be an opportunity for the photographers to speak out to the public through their work, and have their voices paid attention to by those whose attitudes and perspectives affect their everyday lives, including service providers, policy makers and the general public.

As well as exhibiting the images, PhotoVoice is producing another title in its popular Methodology Series to provide guidelines and best practice for others seeking to use photography when working with mental health service users. For more information contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)[/email]

Project photo gallery




Photolife (2008)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Young People

Project Background

Project Manager: April Coetzee
Funding Partner: CARE
PhotoVoice Facilitator: Chloe Matthews

Photolife worked with young people in Greenwich allowing them to share their thoughts, views and feelings about their local area and give voice to the challenges, concerns, hopes and fears in their lives. The project culminated in an exhibition at Charlton Football club.

The project was delivered jointly by CARE and PhotoVoice. CARE is an award-winning multi-sport and arts based partnership, led by Greenwich Council and Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Project photo gallery


Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers

Change the Picture (2007 - 2008)



Project Background

Photography at U-Turn’s Women’s Centre©Pamela/U Turn/PhotoVoice

Weekly photography workshops provided this vulnerable and stigmatised group a respite in which they were able to express themselves and find time to reflect upon their lives. With the womens’ consent, their photographs and creative writing helped raise awareness of a ‘hidden’ issue through a targeted postcard campaign and exhibition held at the Baltic.

Research conducted alongside the workshops assessed the impact and potential of photography as a therapeutic tool. A CD-Rom of the findings and information about the methodology is available to practitioners and organisation working with vulnerable groups. To obtain a copy or for further information please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Project photo gallery




A Guardian article about the work of U-Turn and the PhotoVoice project.

A article from the Big Issue about the project.

Further project info

It is estimated that in the UK more than 80,000 women are involved in prostitution.

In this country around half began their involvement in prostitution beforetheir 18th birthday. Some studies suggest that the figure may be closer to 75%.

The mortality rate for women in street prostitution in London equals twelve times the national average. In the UK as many as 90 sex workers have been murdered in the last 12 years and have been shown to be by far the most at risk female group for homicide.

Over 80 percent of women involved in street prostitution suffer violence, compared to 48 percent of women in off-street prostitution.

Rarely do they choose a life on the streets; they are usually forced by drug addiction and a history of physical, sexual and mental abuse. In one survey over half the women said they did not like prostitution; only 13 percent said they were “fairly happy” and more than half had experienced violence.

Street prostitution is a dangerous occupation. The women make instant judgments and take enormous risks, often trying to earn enough money to combat drugs cravings.

95% of women sex workers are believed to be addicted to drugs according to the Home Office.

70% of prostitutes (and their children) are believed to have been in care at some point in their lives.

These women, are for the most part hidden, they receive little notice or attention in the press and this coupled with their disconnected lives compounds the risks they face and their isolation.

There is a need for a holistic approach to tackle the multiplicity of issues that affect these women if we want to assist them to achieve a long-term sustainable change in their lives.

Problems caused by a sex ‘trade’

Prostitution makes victims of many of those involved in it, and of those communities in which it takes place. Key concerns include:

The aims of Change the Picture were:


Further Reading

Paying the Price - Home Office

Streets Apart: Outdoor Prostitution in London

Poppy Project Publications


Refugees Aloud (2007)

Location: UK

Keywords: Refugee, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partner: The Children’s Society
Project Manager: April Coetzee
PhotoVoice Facilitator: Lucy Williams

Refugees Aloud is a new three-year initiative launched by The Children’s Society to help young refugees speak up and put across their own messages in the media.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, The Young Refugees’ Media Project offers communication and media training to young refugees and asylum seekers - between the age 13 and 21 - to encourage them to participate in the public debate about the issues that concern them.

In a climate where the mainstream media often fails to address these issues in a sympathetic, fair or even balanced way, it is increasingly important that the refugees themselves evolve the skills they need to negotiate with those who provide the services they need and the confidence to tell the public about their reality.

In January 2007 PhotoVoice ran two sets of 2-day photographic workshops for young refugees participating in the Refugees Aloud program. The 12 participants who attended the workshops were taught the basics of digital photography and given training in self-portraiture in order to help them present themselves to the public and the media as they see themselves, telling the story important to them.

For more information about The Children’s Society and Refugees Aloud visit or contact the co-ordinator Gershon by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

or by phone on 07810 796 505.

Project photo gallery




Young Parents Project (2007 - 2008)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Children, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partner: Youth Opportunity Fund Enfield (YOFE)
Project Manager: April Coetzee
PhotoVoice Facilitator: Kyna Gourley

In November 2007 PhotoVoice started a project with Young Parents in partnership with The Young Parents Project.

The projected aimed to provide a forum through which the pariticipants could share their thoughts, views and feelings about being a young parent and use this as a basis for personal dialogue and understanding with their peers and community.

The young people fundraised for this project themselves.

Project photo gallery


Nothing Special (2007 - 2008)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Disability, Rights, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partner: Media Box
Project Managers: Tiffany Fairey and Matt Daw
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Hull, Birmingham and Bristol facilitators, Jenny Matthews, Lyn Weddle, Matthew Lea, Kyna Gourley

The project aimed to enable members of the Young Person Inclusion Network to use photography and digital media to document and explore their identities as disabled young people, focusing on issues around access and inclusion.

Through workshops in five regions (South East, South West, London, West Midlands and Yorkshire) PhotoVoice enabled nearly 50 participants to document and explore their identities as disabled young people through photography, focusing on issues around access and inclusion. Many of the particiapnts had varying requirements such as learning difficulties, visual impairments and epilepsy. Often with the help of adaptive camera equipment, the young people explored themes, experiences and locations looking to mount exhibitions and produce a publication that would cover often overlooked issues experienced by young disabled young people growing up in today’s Britain.

The Young People’s Inclusion Network (YP-in), a project initiated and funded by the charity Kids, is a private network for disabled young people. Through the network, members can create strong social bonds and share their thoughts and experiences. YP-in groups meet regularly in London, Bristol, Fareham, Hull and Birmingham. A secure website ( members to communicate with each other online.

A book showcasing the photographs and views of the young people taking part in the project has been produced and is now available! To obtain a copy contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 020 7033 3878

Project photo gallery


Further project info

Project Blog 12/09/08

Bursary recipient Harley Alison (Hull) is preparing to showcase her fantastic multi-sensory work through an interactive exhibition in Hull on 4th October 2008. The exhibition will share Harley’s thoughts and experiences with visitors through photography in a way that anyone can access - through the use of tactile diagrams and sound recordings alongside the images. More details in her own words are below.

Date: 4th October 2008
Venue: Hull & East Riding Institute for the Blind
Beech Holme, Beverley Road, Hull HU5 1NF
Further details: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

“Hi, my name is Harley Alison and I am 14 years old. I attend Northcott Special School. I am blind and have total sight loss. Outside of school I attend a project called YP-in (Young People’s Inclusion Network). This project is about inclusion and including young people into the community. At the minute I am also working with another charity called PhotoVoice and I am doing a bursary with them and I am going to hold my own exhibition. I have chosen the theme of my exhibition ‘Sight through Touch’ to be a few of my favourite things. I have been working alongside Fiona and she is a very nice person and supports me to take my pictures. I think one day I would maybe like to be a photographer.”

Harley Alison, Aged 14

Project Blog 31/02/08

The exhibition of work from the project, Nothing Special, opened with a launch party on Wednesday 26th March at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre near London Bridge.

The exhibition looked fantastic and attracted hundreds of visitors who admired the achievement of the young people while gaining an insight into their worlds. The work was accompanied by captions written by the young people, and issue-based noticeboards featuring the thoughts and views of young people introducing thematic sections.

Nothing SpecialThe work has also been made into a beautiful photographic book, also named Nothing Special, which will now allow the fantastic work produced by the young people to be spread far and wide, while carrying their messages to those who can make a difference to the way inclusion is approached in our society. To obtain a copy of the book contact Matt Daw: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) / 020 7033 3878.

Below are a few of the comments left by visitors to the exhibition.

“Stunning and inspiring exhibition.”

“Incredibly inspiring - we need to see more!”

“A fascinating and really powerfully presented exhibition - thanks for the chance to see this work.”

“Really enjoyable; varied images and messages, good captions, issues well brought out.”

Project Blog 14/12/07

London ShowcaseFollowing the completion of workshops, exhibitions of work produced by the disabled young people have taken place in each of the five regions YPIN operates in. Held in fully accessible venues and featuring framed photographs, projections, collages, interactive videos and tactile images, the exhibitions have touched hundreds of people across the UK and have allowed the young people to share their personal views, messages and dreams with friends, parents and the general public.

A national exhibition showcasing work from all regions will take place in March 2008, coinciding with the launch of a publication using the photographs and thoughts of the young people on how it is to grow up with a disability in the UK.

Applications for bursaries are now closed and a total of ten have been given approval to go ahead. Already some have started, including a trip to Ireland by one young person, who aims to use the photos she took on her trip to create a Lonely Planet style guide to travelling in ireland as a wheelchair user.

A project gallery showcasing photographs from all five regions will be online here before Christmas - be sure to visit again soon to see the fantastic work produced and the powerful messages the young people have chosen to convey through their photographs.

Project Blog 23/11/07

© Jemma Ballinger / KIDS / PhotoVoiceMost regions have now completed their workshops, and the work produced looks fantastic. Preparations are now underway for regional exhibitions which will allow the young people to showcase the photographs and messages they have produced to their families, friends and the public. Specific to each region, these exhibiitons will be fully accessible and will allow each young person to show a large amount of the work they have produced, whereas the final exhibition in March 2008 will showcase work from all regions and therefore less from each photographer.

The next phase of the project is now in motion - the bursaries. Applications from young people in all five regions are flooding in with ideas for personal projects for which funding up to £500 each will be granted. The bursary scheme will allow those young people with strong ideas of how they wish to take their new photography skills further, to embark upon more in-depth projects with strong focused outputs. Applications given approval so far include a grant for the purchase of customised photographic equipment, a documented trip to Paris to experience the differences and similarities in attitudes to inclusion and accessibility across the channel, and the production of posters exploring the issues around starting college.


Beyond Sight (2007 - 2008)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Advocacy, Blindness, Visual Impairment

Project Background

Funding Partners: Awards for All, The Epigoni Trust
Project Managers: Tiffany Fairey and Matt Daw
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Gina Badenoch, Geraldine Doart, Amy Scaife, Ben Roberts, Chloe Mathews, Suzie Rendell, Almudena Caso, David Kendall

Photography by blind and visually impaired people

In partnership with Sight of Emotion and Pocklington Resource Centre

AIM: To aid blind and visually impaired communities to create a dialogue with the seeing world, creating awareness and educating public audiences of the needs and experiences of the visually disabled.

“I’m convinced that a camera is a powerful tool for social interaction and that photography is a means of expression especially suited to anyone blind or partially sighted.”

Edward Slyfield, participant in Sight of Emotion workshops, London

Project photo gallery


Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers

Further project info

Audio information 1 (MP3) - Beyond Sight
Audio information 2 (MP3) - The Mexico workshops
Audio information 3 (MP3) - The UK workshops
Audio information 4 (MP3) - The Sight of Emotion Process

There are 45 million blind people in the world and a further 120 million who live with visual impairments. In the UK alone there are 2 million people with a sight problem. However, there remains a lack of understanding of the disability and as a result, many blind people experience attitudes of social denigration, moral disapproval and avoidance. This UK project addresses this problem by using photography to draw attention to the experiences of the blind population, creating the opportunity for dialogue and understanding between blind and seeing communities.

Jane Sellers / Sight of Emotion / PhotoVoiceBeyond Sight is a project designed to celebrate blind photography. In May - June 2007 a series of eight participatory workshops facilitated by Gina Badenoch, founder of Mexican NGO Sight of Emotion, were held in London for 10 participants with visual impairments ranging from slightly impaired vision to complete blindness. Participants were taught to use their other senses to explore the environment, objects and people around them with a digital camera, and all of them produced work of a high standard of which they are rightfully very proud.

Workshops are now continuing with the same group on a monthly basis, supporting the photographers in their continued use of photography, reviewing and editing photos, and other personal projects.

The work created by the participants will be used to educate public audiences of the needs and experiences of the visually disabled and to promote dialogue and understanding between blind and seeing communities. This will be achieved through the production of an exhibition in December 2007, and a tie in with the wider Sight of Emotion project outcomes which include a book, a film, a website ( and a training manual.

Sight of Emotion is a project founded by Gina Badenoch who was trained by and worked with PhotoVoice in 2005. Sight of Emotion have pioneered the concept of participatory blind and visually impaired photography and have run a series of highly successful workshops in Mexico. Please see the links below for further details:

The Sight of Emotion Process

Participants learn to use senses other than sight to create images: hearing to judge distance, touch and smell to discover subjects. Once the photograph has been taken, textures and sounds will be used to achieve interpretation of the image. The idea is to demonstrate that although participants cannot see the photograph, they can feel and understand what they want to communicate through an image. They are able to share their world with the visual world, using their own sensorial perceptions. In discovering their abilities, participants gain a greater sense of self-esteem, inclusion, freedom of expression and independence. Learning photographic skills will give participants a new form of communication and a channel for self-advocacy – a new way of articulating their experiences, needs, hopes and concerns to the seeing world. Their photographs will enable them to challenge the stigma of their daily lives and raise consciousness about the needs of people with sight problems.



Moving Lives (2007)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Refugee, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partners: The City Parochial Foundation, Jack Petchy, Lloyds TSB and Microsoft Community Grants
Project Manager- Tiffany Fairey and Liz Orton
Partners- The Trinity Community Centre and Project Dost
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Vik, Douglas Nicholson, Gaby Motola and Amy Crabtree

Moving Lives – a digital storytelling project with young refugees in East London

Workshop image

Moving Lives is a photography and digital-storytelling project giving a voice to young refugees living in East London and helping them integrate into the UK.

The project, run in partnership with Trinity Community Centre in East Ham, brings together newly-arrived refugees with young people who have lived and grown up in East London all their lives.

There have been five workshops throughout 2005, for 32 young people, between 12 and 17 years old - from Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Iran, India, Lithuania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Twenty five of the participants are young refugees, most of them newly-arrived in the UK and nearly all separated form their parents and family.  As young teenagers, they are already at a vulnerable time in their lives.

Many young refugees find the social isolation one of the hardest aspects of life to cope with when arriving in the UK, and one of the greatest challenges to integrating into UK society. Young unaccompanied refugees, in particular, can experience extreme isolation living alone or with people they do not know.

Moving Lives helps young refugees make the transition to life in the UK by building confidence in their voices, and providing a means for them to speak out about their hopes, fears, experiences and ambitions. The workshops help overcome barriers, and build lasting friendships. The young people also learn some of the latest digital media technologies.

Through the stories we get a glimpse into the lives of young refugees living in London. The stories take us behind the headlines, where refugees are so often portrayed as statistics, victims and scroungers. Through Moving Lives, young people represent themselves as they want to be seen and heard: as individuals with hopes, histories, ideas and dreams.

Their stories reflect some the concerns and interests of young teenagers around the world: they are about growing up, music, ambitions, hair styles, families, football, education, mobile phones, journeys, UFOs, and creating new lives in the UK. What shines through in all of the digital stories is the positive spirit of the young people, and their sense of determination to succeed in spite of the circumstances.
Moving Lives is funded by the City Parochial Foundation, Lloyds TSB, the Jack Petchey Foundation, Awards for All, and Microsoft Community Learning Awards.

Project photo gallery


Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers

New Londoners (2006 - 2008)

Location: UK, London

Keywords: Refugee, Young People

Project Background

Funding Partners: The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The City Parochial Foundation, The Jack Petchey Foundation
Project Partner: Project Dost
Project Managers:Tiffany Fairey and Liz Orton
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Lucy Williams and Lydia Martin

New Londoners is a partnership project between PhotoVoice and Dost, which aims to help young separated refugees settle and integrate into the UK.

Through the project, 15 New Londoners have been mentored by 15 emerging and established London photographers to create personalised photo stories about their views and experiences of London.  The work is being published as a collection of photo essays - New Londoners: Reflections on Home - by award-winning publishers, Trolley. It also has contributions by the BBC journalist George Alagiah, by the award-winning author Hari Kunzru; and by the curator Charlotte Cotton.

Project photo gallery


The BBC PM Programme

The Guardian Online

BBC Online

Further project info

New Londoners: Project update and analysis

Liz Orton, May 2008

“It can’t be over, there’s still space on my memory card!”
was one participant’s reaction when she found out that the digital photography project was coming to a close. It’s a comment that’s stayed with me because it epitomises the enthusiasm for digital photography that so many young people show. It also illustrates how hard it is sometimes when a project has to draw to a close, and how important it is to find follow-up strategies.

The latest phase of PhotoVoice’s Moving Lives project with young unaccompanied refugees in East London is a mentoring scheme, called New Londoners. It began last summer when 15 young refugees were partnered with 15 emerging and successful London photographers. The young people, aged 16 to 23, come from 10 different countries, with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Some had been in the UK for just a few months when they joined the project, others for as long as six years. They had all been participants on previous PhotoVoice projects and were selected as mentees because of their potential as young photographers. PhotoVoice had worked in this way before – partnering individual participants with photographers – but never for long periods of time, infact never usually for longer than a day or two. More commonly, PhotoVoice works in workshop contexts, with a few facilitators and a large group of young people of up to 15 participants.

The role of the mentor was to support, affirm, advise, enthuse and encourage the mentee and ultimately to enable them to reach their full photographic potential. The mentors helped nurture the mentee’s confidence in their own photographic ideas, and bring those ideas to life. They typically met together about once a fortnight, went to exhibitions, met for cups of tea and juice, talked about the stuff of life, and reviewed the mentee’s latest photographs.

The main focus of the mentoring relationship was the production of a creative body of work by the young person. The mentors and mentees worked together for around four months. The mentees would mostly take the pictures while on their own, and the mentor would give regular feedback and suggestions. Some of the relationships terminated, as planned, at the end of last year, and others continue to this day.

The possibilities and opportunities created by the one-to-one aspect of mentoring are immense but like all relationships it requires commitment from both sides and carries risks. For PhotoVoice – as well as for the participants and mentors - it has been a rich learning experience. What has been so exciting, has been watching the young people’s confidence in their own abilities flourish. Some of the key challenges have revolved around the capacity of both parties to consistently commit to meeting up. Freelance photographers have unpredictable schedules, and many of the new arrivals, aside from the fact that they are typically teenage, so often had meetings with solicitors, social workers or support workers at short notice. We found that the mentors needed more support than we had planned for, and PhotoVoice is currently looking at the question of how it can find the means and the capacity to provide better ongoing support not just for mentors on Moving Lives but for all its project facilitators.

The ‘creative brief’ for the mentees was a relatively open one: to make a body of photographic work and writing on any aspect of the theme of New Londoners. One or two of the participants were able to fix on a subject relatively quickly and easily. For the majority, finding their photographic voice was not such a smooth process - one of simply choosing a subject and shooting, or deciding what they wanted to communicate - but a case of exploring with the camera. (It should be born in mind that most of the mentees did not get involved in the project because they had some message they wanted to get out to the rest of the world or had grand dreams of realising a particular photographic project for publication; but because they of the opportunity to have a mentor and because they like taking photographs).

So initially – and more especially for the newer arrivals – embarking on the creative process was quite difficult. But as so often happens, this early uncertainty gave rise to great things. They photographed the things immediately around them, the details of the everyday, small observations, things that appealed to them or were important to them. The images are good but what makes them special as a body of work is our understanding of why they were taken. Put together with words, the images take on a much more significant meaning. The pictures are linked not by any obvious documentary narrative – so it’s not possible to say that they are about one particular thing or another - but by intentions of the young photographer. The images become part of the ongoing conversation they are having with their new home, as they learn to live and settle in London. Hence viewers, through their images and words understand something more not just of New Londoners but of London itself.

It is difficult to make generalisations, but the value the participants derived from the project were shaped by how long they had been in the UK, and, related to that, how old they were and how much prior experience they had of taking photographs. For the newer arrivals, the project was very much about supporting integration: helping them to get to know London, widening their experience of using public transport, being in supportive relationship with an adult who knows London, being actively engaged in learning a new skill, feeling valued and respected as a person, having a means of expression for feelings and ideas. For the older participants - who are more settled and now in employment or full time study - the value of the project derived more from improving vocational skills, and professional development; deepening existing ties with PhotoVoice; and creative achievement and enjoyment.

Photography as a tool for integration of young refugees

Photography is full of potential as a creative aid in the process of integration. At its simplest, it’s an accessible tool for self-expression: it can be quickly learned and it’s not difficult for newcomers to take decent pictures. A young refugee - new to the UK - who might be lacking confidence, and speak little English, can quite easily and quickly master a basic digital camera. Digital photography gives instant results, and requires no formal training to become a tool for communication, observation and creativity.

At first all the young refugees we work with – like all young people – love, above all else, taking pictures of each other. They take instantly to the idea of ‘posing’ for the camera. Both the photographer and the subject quickly get involved in directing and giving instructions to each other. Taking these portraits of each other becomes a step in building peer relationships and in creating a sense of immediate community.

The young people also quickly turn the camera on themselves and, looking at their self-portraits over time, it is possible to see how they form a kind of visual autobiography. These self-representations are about performance and fantasy, idealisation, experimentation, humour and identity. They act out different roles: Bollywood film star, hoodie, pop star, fighter, athlete, sports star, hard-working student etc. In a sense, photography is not just a reflection of the process of creating new and multiple identities - it is a very part of the process.

Photographs, of course, create instant and permanent records. Nearly all of us do this in different ways in our lives: we create tracks for ourselves through albums, diaries, videos, mementos etc. When you are uprooted from one place to another the need to do this can be even stronger. Photographs can be built into histories and albums that reflect a new life, a new start. Pictures can decorate walls in sparse bedrooms, fill the gaps with new memories and friends, pictures can be sent to families and friends, they can be emailed and sent through mobiles.

Sharafat, one of the New Londoner mentees says, “I like photography because photographs stay forever. 100 years later people will still see them and remember that this person did some good; that this person is still here, still standing.”

At a time when their lives are being defined by ‘official’ records and legal form-filling, photographs provide a way that young refugees can create their own. Evidence that they are in charge of, that they can frame in their own terms. This creation of memories and evidence is really important for many new arrivals. According to another mentee, Feng; “In my photography I want to capture a moment before it is gone. I do not decide what I will photograph, I just see a moment and try and record it.” In looking at the world through a lens, in deciding how to frame what we see, we mark out conscious moments in the endless process of observation. The author Hari Kunzru, who writes an introduction to the New Londoners book says photographs, “are also evidence, proof that the photographer was in a certain place at a certain time, which is another way of saying that these pictures are memories - and when you have memories of a place, you’re beginning to put down roots.”

The camera is a tool to negotiate unfamiliar places. PhotoVoice facilitators take project participants on shoots all around London – along The Southbank, to the City, to Brick Lane, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, around Westminster. There are always hundreds of almost identical images of the London Eye, but in almost everything else there is uniqueness and creativity. “Taking pictures is a way of establishing that a new life does have a form……. You reach into the churning flow and try to extract something, one thing, which has a shape and a purpose, something which will belong only to you”, writes Hari Kunzru.

Photographs can be a medium to facilitate discussion and dialogue. I will always remember a comment made by a community worker after a participatory photography workshop. “I was totally shocked at how a photograph in a person’s hand would enable someone who finds public speaking impossible, to stand in front of a group and speak confidently about their very personal struggle……”. Photographs can create a distance between the person and the subject, and this depersonalization can help a person who want to talk but might find it difficult.

It is through this discussion and dialogue that photography also allows learning, not just about image-making but about the world around us, and about each other. Young people arriving in London are faced with much that is unfamiliar. Things might be done differently from in their own country. Attitudes and norms are different. Even for the most adaptable of young people, this transition can be unsettling. Looking at and making images, can be part of this process.

I am not trying to make a particular claim for photography over an above any other media or art form, but to explain something of the possible relationships between image-making and social integration. In addition, photography can probably only work in this way if the young person is given adequate and comprehensive support in other areas of their lives. PhotoVoice works in close partnership with Dost which provides emotional, education, advocacy and therapeutic support to young refugees. It is this work which is the bed-rock of meeting new arrivals’ most immediate integration needs.

Access the PhotoVoice methodology resource on participatory photography as a tool for integration (password pvn3tw0rk1)

New Londoners Book

Buy now (£25)

The mentoring part of New Londoners is now finished, though many of the relationships continue more informally. We are working with an independent publisher to bring all the images and writing together in a photography book. In very broad terms the theme of the work is young people in transition: from childhood to adulthood; from dependence to independence; from one place and culture to another. It is a poetic record of fifteen young people negotiating complex ideas about home and place.

The challenge from this point onwards is how to market the book. This will be a familiar challenge for anyone using participatory arts methodologies with excluded communities. A tension – between how the work is made, and how the work is ‘marketed’ – has always characterised PhotoVoice’s work with young refugees in the UK. It is a highly politicised environment, in which the media has been particularly inflammatory. Issues of refugee representation are extremely sensitive.

The young people are acutely aware of the dilemma. One participant explained: “We have had different experiences from other young people and it’s important that other people learn about those experiences, but we don’t want them to make us different.” And another: “I am the same person that I was in my country, my personality is the same, but my circumstances are different.” What should the book be called? If we don’t use the word refugee in the title, how can we describe what it is about and who made the work? How can we challenge old labels without creating new ones? How can we preserve the integrity of the individual voices while also communicating to audiences who they are as a group? How can we ensure the work is judged on its own merit and not because of who made it, as other art is?

The young people we work have repeated their desire to be treated as young people first and refugees second. They want to have the opportunity to represent themselves and their ideas, without fear of judgement or discrimination. PhotoVoice is keen to move beyond the use of personal testimonies about refugees’ past lives: while these offer good creative material for engaging public audiences and building sympathies on an individual level, they haven’t necessarily done much to progress the broader asylum debate. Refugees continued to be understood according to their ‘refugee-ness’ rather than all the other things that make them a person. They become marked by their experiences as a refugee and known for that part of who they are above all others. The media – and the public curiosity it claims to satisfy – has contributed to this problem, by focusing in on ‘pain and suffering’.

Through the book we hope to begin to side-step the traditionally limiting portrayal of refugees and asylum seekers as a group of people defined by their immigration status, and provide a voice to young new Londoners through which they can represent themselves as they want to be seen and heard. Our ambition is to help re-frame the debate about asylum away from fear, hostility and difference and towards commonality and recognition.

We wanted to ensure that the participants in the project understood these dilemmas and were involved in making communications decisions alongside PhotoVoice. We organised a workshop at which we all discussed some of these issues. Participants were very active in discussing the possible use of the word refugee in the book’s title. Only one of them felt happy about the word – “this is who I am and people need to know that I am here as a refugee, it will help them understand”. Others felt uncomfortable about it. “The word refugee is like a judgement for us, people at school will say bad things about us.” They preferred to be the term New Londoners. “It is an open word. It says something about us, about the fact that we have come from other places, but it’s clever because it doesn’t give everything away. It gives our identities a place to hide,“ said one participant.

“It is important that we are involved in making this book. It is a big thing for us. And it’s important that other people should learn about what is going on. Even a great Prime Minister – with great skills – might not know about our situation”, said another participant.

The intended audience for the book is quite carefully and narrowly defined: we want to target politicians, public sector leaders, policy makers and policy influencers, the refugee sector and youth sectors. These are the people who can make a difference to the lives of the participants in their everyday professional decisions and behaviour. The book won’t tell them what to think or what policies or practices to change but we hope it will make them familiar with these young people, not just as refugees, but as young people with different sensibilities, attitudes, ambitions and hopes for their future in the world.

The book will be marketed, not as a refugee book, nor as a charity book, but as an art book with a serious purpose. It is a book about the present, and how the past informs that present. We hope it will sensitise and humanise social and political thought and debate around immigration and asylum. Through it people will see a different side of London, through new eyes. We hope the book will succeed in engaging, stimulating and surprising audiences; creating interest, ideas and debate.


Mental Wealth (2006)

Location: UK

Keywords: Mental Health

Project Background

Project Manager: Tiffany Fairey
Funding Partner: United Response
PhotoVoice Facilitators: Tiffany Fairey

Over the last sessions many films were taken, pictures were mounted onto paper and captions were written that described pain, courage, hope, happiness and a willingness to say proudly, ‘Yes, we have a mental health illness but we are no different to anyone else’. I was totally shocked at how a photograph in a person’s hand would enable someone who finds public speaking impossible to stand in front of a group and speak confidently about their very personal fight with the illness that they have…
PhotoVoice, in my opinion, has made and can continue to make fundamental changes in people’s lives.

Phillip Stone, Support Worker, United Response



Project photo gallery



Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers

Further project info

In March 2005, PhotoVoice worked with United Response and a group of seven of their beneficiaries with mental health needs from UR services in Dorset, West Sussex and Kent. The aim of the project was to harness the power of photography as a creative medium, and to produce a set of images to communicate the reality of daily life from the perspective of a person with mental health needs.

The series of six workshops ignited imagination and awareness of individual hopes and fears. It resulted in a breath-taking wealth of images and testimonies that clearly communicate individual hopes, fears and achievements – a compelling backdrop to current developments in mental health legislation. The images explored the stigma of living with a mental health need, but also explored what makes life worth living. In addition, each photographer created a self-portrait, which in many cases showed a very personal journey towards greater self-understanding.

The workshops culminated in an exhibition at The House Of Commons in May 2005 which aimed to raise awareness of some of the key issues facing people with mental health needs, particularly in the context of proposed new Mental Health legislation, and to highlight these to MPs and policy makers.

The parliamentary event was a great success. The photography project was designed to raise awareness of the reality of living with a mental health need, and it succeeded in this. But what no one expected were the profound therapeutic benefits it brought to participants – literally liberating people in several instances.
Mental Wealth outcomes


Corton Vale Young Offenders Institute (2003)



Project Background

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund commissioned PhotoVoice to work in conjunction with Fairbridge Prison Project to conduct a 3-day photography training programme involving young female offenders. The aim of the workshops was to encourage this group of young women to explore notions of perception and generate material that they felt fairly reflected their lives and views in a direct communication with external audiences. Much of the workshops was concentrated on the theme of ‘Self-Portrait’.

The Fairbridge Prison project offers young offenders an alternative to re-offending through course participation, activities and personal support within the prison environment prior to release, and them with a personal development programme at their centres in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh post release. Of the 8 young women, aged between 17-20, that participated in the photography workshops, 7 of them had no formal qualifications or experience of employment, and over half were recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and had experience of either being homeless or in care.

For most of the group, the PhotoVoice workshops were the first time that they had been given the opportunity to show others that beyond the statistics like these that so often tie young offenders together, they also exist as unique individuals. And although as individuals they have often made unwise choices, these young people still have aspirations, wants, frustrations and fears like any other young person, and have the same desire to be heard and understood.

Action for Prisoners’ Families (2003)



Project Background

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund commissioned PhotoVoice to work with Action for Prisoners’ Families. Through workshops, the young participants produced images that explored how they felt about life with a family member in prison.

Some of the images were distributed as postcards at the Cathcart Spring Proms evening at the Royal Albert Hall, a fundraising night in celebration of the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Action for Prisoners’ Families have also used these images in their advocacy work.

Young people with a family member in prison can feel isolated from their peers and the community. With no-one else to turn to, they keep the fact secret fearing the judgements they may face. In the year of the project, an estimated 125,000 children experienced the imprisonment of a parent and over half a million had a parent in prison during their school years. Inadequate facilities and long distances make visiting hard which itself can cause other issues and pressures.

Participants’ comments:

“In my pictures I am trying to show that I might not be strong on the outside but I am strong on the inside.  I had to be for my mum and my little sister and brother while my dad was in the nick.”


“I took a photo of my mum holding a sign saying ‘Just Understand Us’.  It is an important thing to say because when some people find out my dad is in prison they start to judge us before even knowing our situation.”


“I used to get scared when I would go to the prison and see my dad.  The screws search you like you were the criminal.  I hide this fear because I know I have to be strong for my mum and little sister and little brother.”


Project photo gallery


On the Move - Voices from the Street (2003)

Location: UK, London


Project Background

On the Move - Voices from the Street
Photography by homeless Londoners over the age of 25
London, United Kingdom, 2003 - 2004
Project Team:
Caroline Shuttle - Project Manager and photographic trainer
Miranda Gavin - Project Co-ordinator, PR, and photographic trainer
Partner: Quaker Homeless Action

PhotoVoice volunteers took to the streets of London over the summer (2003), to offer weekly photography workshops to homeless people over the age of 25. Initiated by PhotoVoice, in conjunction with Quaker Homeless Action (QHA), this pilot project echoed the transitory and outdoor nature of many of the participants’ lives, as - without a centre to work from - the training and handing back of photographs also had to take place on the street and in parks.

Using automatic and Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras, the participants were initially given ‘on-the-street’ training and learnt the basics of photography. The workshops aimed to provide both a creative outlet and a potential tool for self-advocacy - a means of speaking out and raising awareness of the experience of rough sleeping and becoming homeless.

From this, a core group emerged and decided to work towards a Christmas exhibition, On the Move - Voices from the Street, at the Concrete Basement, Waterloo, London. Working with Miranda Gavin and Caroline Shuttle, the group documented and commented on key aspects of their lives. By this time, all the participants were in some kind of temporary accommodation and, as part of this process, they developed powerful bodies of work around the theme of transition.

Opened by The Big Issue founder and PhotoVoice trustee, John Bird, the show was well-received and gained national press and radio coverage. The participants also took responsibility for invigilating the show and selling Christmas cards and, as a result of the project, one of the group is now planning to go to college to further his photography skills.

The work is currently on show at the Quaker Meeting House, London and will be featured as part of a week-long event, 10 Feet Away, at the Union Chapel, London, in April. This event aims to bring together a number of organisations working creatively with homeless people and Miranda Gavin and Caroline Shuttle will be working alongside the group to offer taster photography workshops throughout the week.

The initial few months of this project were funded with a small grant from Quaker Homeless Action and, although there is still no further funding in place, it is still being run on an entirely voluntary basis.

Project photo gallery

Coming soon

Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers


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Project Outputs

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Further project info

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Transparency: Living without borders (2002 - 2003)

Location: Africa and the Middle East, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, UK, London


Project Background

Transparency: Living without borders
Photography by unaccompanied refugee youth
London, United Kingdom, 2002 - 2003
Partner: Trinity Community Centre
Funded by: The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

Child refugees arrive on Britain’s soil every day of the week without a parent or guardian. They arrive, adrift from their own culture, language and all support structures, stripped of any certainty for their future, on the run from extreme trauma and in search of sanctuary.  Some have made the long journey to the UK overland surviving on their wits while others are brought over by smugglers paid for by their families and are simply dumped once they reach the UK.  All too often they are met by blanket public hostility, stigma, and discrimination. The intense psychological scars these young people have accumulated both in their home countries and in leaving their families behind are merely compounded by the isolation they face on their arrival in the UK.

6,000 young people are believed to have fled their native countries and travelled alone to the UK to seek asylum. In 2000, 2,735 unaccompanied refugee children applied for asylum there, but still relatively little is known about their individual experiences.

The Transparency project offers a window on the experiences of a group of young refugees since their arrival in London’s East End from countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq, Nigeria, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka. Through photography, the 13 students expressed their desire for people to look beyond their refugee status and to see them as they see themselves: as teenagers, far from home, in a difficult present, determined to succeed in spite of their past.

The project grew to be an important support network for the young participants as well as providing them with a creative outlet through which they could combat the dehumanising portrayal of refugees presented in the British media.  An individual from the group has gone on to study photography full-time and has secured commission by the BBC. Another member of the group became a finalist in a national self-portraiture competition, featured on Channel 4 and exhibited in London’s National Portrait Gallery.  In June 2003, the Transparency project won the Arts, Culture and Heritage category of the Charity Awards 2003.

Project photo gallery

Meet the Photographers

Go here to read more about the photographers