Since June this year, we have been delivering a new project for care-experienced young people in North Ayrshire, entitled Express Yourself.
Artist Laura Frood has been delivering sessions every Monday at Impact Arts premises at Bank Street and at Redburn Community Centre, teaching young people photography techniques and getting them thinking about how photography can be used to explore different perspectives.
In this blog, Laura writes a bit about her experience on the project so far, as well as how she feels about .
Express Yourself has been made possible thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust, North Ayrshire Council, and Throughcare North Ayrshire.
My background is photography and film, so when the opportunity came up to lead a brand new photography-based project with young people in North Ayrshire came up I was excited. My head started to burst with ideas and activities we could do to engage young people. Little did I know that I would learn as much from this group of young people as I would teach them.
What I love the most about being a community-based artist is that no two days are the same. I get to work with a wide variety of people from all walks of life – what makes my job special is when these people allow me to become part of their world.
I’m working with two groups of young people as part of Express Yourself. The first is a group from Redburn Youth Cafe, who are incredibly dedicated and motivated and spend time their time working together to serve the community. The second is group of care-experienced young people who are passionate, strong, individual, and determined to challenge the stereotypes they face.
With Redburn Youth Cafe we have been working on a civic pride project, inspired by at the local town, its traditions and its people. We’ve been on photography walks, recreating old photographs of Irvine landmarks and using neon paints to create some fun and youthful images celebrating the Youth Cafe.
We are about to embark on a project called Humans of Irvine inspired by the world famous Humans of New York photography project. The outcomes will be collated into a zine designed and made by the group.
The second group – based at Bank Street in Irvine – have been instrumental in directing the project, using creativity to explore identity and celebrate the diversity of young people.
Giving the group space to share their experiences and challenge stereotypes has been integral to the project. There is a very social element to workshops; we talk about issues that affect them, we laugh and we make beautiful and meaningful artwork.
A big element of this project has been portraiture. Using studio lighting and professional cameras, the group have planned and directed their own shoots with some unique and thought-provoking images.
They have also been using photography to document their environment. A series of photographs taken on the seafront in Irvine show the beauty of the decay caused by the harsh weather of the west coast – using these images as inspiration we have begun to design and print textiles using organic or eco-printing methods.
We’re about half way through and the talent and enthusiasm of both groups amazes me, I can’t wait to see what will unfold in the next few months, and of course the opportunity to showcase all the amazing work the young people have made.
Stay tuned for more updates and information on the final exhibition!