Visual/Multi-Media Artist wanted 2008-09-01
A Day in Our Lives
For the past 6 months, photographer and film maker Magali Pettier has been working with participants on A Day in Our Lives, a participatory project that targets chronically excluded and homeless people in Newcastle. Set up in Partnership between Helix Arts, Tyneside Cyrenians and Trading Places and funded through NESTA’s Innovations in Mental Health programme, A Day in Our Lives has involved 35, with 6 members consistently attending weekly workshops.
An introduction to SLR manual cameras and black and white photography has encompassed functional and creative use of the camera in a number of settings. The participants themselves have chosen the subject matter, Social Exclusion, and used their new found skills to reflect their ideas and thoughts about their own lives, within this context, in Newcastle. The completion of the first phase culminated in an exhibition at Crisis: Skylight in May which showcased work that was technically of high quality, and also captured profound and moving insights into the lives and aspirations of the photographers.
Now into the second phase the group has been working with Creative Writer Bob Beagrie to develop text using the photographs as a stimulus. Graphic Designer Joe White will continue working with the group to develop the design for a book to be published in November this year.
Ultimately this group, plus another strand of work to take place at Ron Eager House, will work towards producing a major exhibition / installation for exhibition in Spring 2009.
“Since the beginning of the programme in March 2008, I have seen an amazing amount of progress amongst the participants as much on the social level as on the technical level. They are very eager to learn and show commitment to the project in their own way. I feel that it has already changed the way the participants see their future due to the fact that they realise that they have skills which they didn’t know existed. All they need is a bit of nurturing. For a few of them, this project gives them something constructive to look forward to every week. Also, a lot of them are motivated by the fact that the aim of this project is to inform the audience, through the production of a book, an exhibition and a training pack, about social exclusion and their aspirations, something that will play a part in breaking the stereotype around the situation of chronically socially excluded people. Finally, this project is a two-way learning process and working with them feels like a privilege as they have a great amount of life experience and most often are happy to share it and turn those into ideas for the project.” Magali Pettier, Lead Artist.
First published: a-n.co.uk September 2008
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