Refugee Voices

“I would like people to come and see my pictures and parts of London that they have never seen before”

– Sebastien

Team:

Ingrid Guyon and David Kendall (Project manager, Facilitator and exhibition curation) / Workshop assistants: Caroline Gervay and Muler / Location: Wapping, London / Partners: JRS-UK 

Funders:

The project ‘Refugee Voices’ has been made possible with thanks to Awards for All, Jesuit Social Justice Fund and donations from individual supporters

Timeframe:

16 weeks

“I’m deeply inspired by the stories the photographers brought to life in there photos and by the human being relating their tale from the heart. These are incredible people who can teach us all about life.”

Refugee Voices was a series of participatory digital photography workshops that offered participants opportunities to experiment with different types of reportage and artistic photography: street, landscape and portraiture. Individuals were encouraged to visually explore and question their self-identity, environment and relationships with other people in London. Weekly activities encouraged teamwork, visual literacy and peer discussions.

Rather than being a technical course the aim was to develop creativity, confidence and self-expression to use for advocacy and communication. The group produced personal photo journals that identified and explored London life: landscapes, character and cultures. They selected personal projects that explore homelessness, migration and asylum, city landmarks, faith, freedom, transport / mobility, leisure and working life in the city. At the end of the course the group worked together to select, edit and curate their photographs for a public exhibition.

The JRS-UK partnership with Fotosynthesis has already produced some stunning results and opportunities for participants since 2012 : photos included in an exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels and as part of the ‘Refugee Life’ event at the British Film Institute on London’s Southbank. One participants’ work and words formed a two-page colour feature article in ‘Jesuits & Friends’ magazine with a print run of over 30,000. Another participant has help run workshops with Refugee Youth and co-led a photoshoot to give 100+ refugees an individual or family portrait to take home from our JRS Summer Party. ‘Come and See’ was a photography exhibition showcasing work produced and curated by a group of nine people from different countries who have come together to share their perspectives through photography. Their insights and personal experiences shape the exhibition and the stories they tell about themselves and the world around them.

‘Come and See’ was a photography exhibition showcasing work produced and curated by a group of nine people from different countries who have come together to share their perspectives through photography. Their insights and personal experiences shape the exhibition and the stories they tell about themselves and the world around them.

“I am proud of my work and to have been part of this project… It gave me back my confidence… “

Sebastien

Participant

“We enjoyed working with Fotosynthesis again to produce the “Come and See” exhibition. Their hands on and lively approach with participants training in photography skills learnt them the respect of both volunteers and staff alike. As a team, Ingrid and David can facilitate deep conversations and strong creative expressions around difficult life experiences for refugees. Preparing the displays was a challenge and they both worked hard to ensure a positive group experience and good quality event”

Kate Monkhouse

Jesuit Refugee Service UK

“When I started to go to Jesuit Refugee Service workshops with Fotosynthesis, my confidence was very low. But in the workshop I saw how I could say something about myself or about others through photography”

Muler

“I thought the exhibition was excellent, not just the quality of the work but the interactive nature of the project. Having the photographers on call to explain and articulate their photographic stories was a very intimate way of learning about their perceptions, observations and personal histories”

Benjamin

British Red Cross