As the lockdown does not allow us to celebrate the stories and friendships of this project in a public event, we have created this online exhibition to share with you the work of the participants but also of the volunteers and facilitators, as we all became a family.
‘I understand much better and I am much more confident. I want to continue, it motivates me all the time to take pictures and pictures give me the motivation to write poems.’
– Blanca, Participant
During 2020, over the COVID-19 lockdowns, we worked in partnership with Learning Unlimited here, a leading expert in teaching English to migrant communities within the UK, to design, develop and deliver Picture This!, an ESOL and photography project.
This innovative participatory ESOL and photography project included two 8-week online participatory ESOL and photography courses (Phase 1 and Phase 2), an online and book exhibition and the creation of a free toolkit to share with language teachers with suggested activities and top tips.
The project was an opportunity for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners to practise their English and express themselves while exploring their surroundings, their lives, their emotions and identities through images. A key component was the online and offline support provided by the team of multicultural volunteers.
The original plan was for the workshops and exhibition to take place face-to-face, but it was adapted immediately in response to the pandemic seeing this an opportunity to capture a moment in time and make it accessible to ESOL learners from all around London who may be facing more barriers than ever before.
We had so much fun each week and became family without meeting each other personally. What mattered the most was meeting and connecting during this time of isolation, even if in front of a screen.
A benefit of the exhibition being online is that we can share it with anyone and everyone all over the world. We hope you enjoy it!
Learning Unlimited (LU)
LU is a not-for-profit social enterprise that specialises in adult and family learning, ESOL and integration, literacy, numeracy, and teacher education, volunteer and teacher training and education.
LU leads and participates in a wide range of local, national, and international partnership projects, develops and publishes books and resources, and does a wide variety of consultancy work.
Funding for the Project
Picture this! was funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) as part of the For ESOL Plus Arts, encouraging four innovative ESOL learning projects.
An initiative that invited organisations working with ESOL learners to work in partnership with arts organisations to creatively meet the needs of Londoners facing barriers to learning.
‘I think the exhibition is important because I can show my photos to others. I was not confident about my English and now I am so proud of myself for I participated in this project.’ – Eleida, volunteer
All views or opinions represented in the Picture This! online exhibition are personal and belong solely to the authors. As part of our participatory methodology and ethics, we provide a space for people to express themselves and do not limit or change their words. There may be some language that readers find offensive or rude. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organisation, or individual.