‘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
Over lockdown, we delivered phase 1 of Picture this! – an 8-week ESOL project in collaboration with Learning Unlimited here, a leading expert in teaching English to migrant communities within the UK.
This innovative participatory photography and creative writing project encouraged ESOL learners to practise their English and to express themselves while exploring their surroundings, their lives and identities through images. A key component of this project was the online and offline support provided by the team of multicultural volunteers.
Picture this! is funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA). The original plan was for this project to take place face to face but we adapted immediately to respond to the COVID lockdown seeing this an opportunity to capture a moment in time and make it accessible to ESOL learners of all ages all around London who may be facing more barriers than ever before. We had so much fun each week and became a 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.
Phase 2 of Picture this! is running from September till December 2020 with an exhibition next in spring 2021.
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.
We believe in learning as empowerment and engage adults and families in local communities who face a wide range of issues and barriers to social inclusion. We also train the volunteers and professionals who work with and support them.
We lead and participate in a wide range of local, national, and international partnership projects, develop and publish books and resources, and do a wide variety of consultancy work.
Funding for the Project
For ESOL Plus Arts, City Hall awarded £100,000 grant funding for four innovative projects delivered in partnership between organisations working in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and practitioners, organisations or institutions in the arts, culture and heritage sectors. Partners are working together on a project that creatively meets the needs of Londoners who face barriers to accessing or progressing in formal ESOL provision. These projects are being designed and delivered by ESOL professionals and creative or heritage practitioners and supported by volunteers.
‘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
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.
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.