I partnered with Manfrotto and BID (one of the UKs biggest charities to help the deaf community) to create the Picture of Life programme which was designed to help young deaf people who had experienced difficult situations and social exclusions. We wanted to use the power of photography to help participants learn a new skill set, improve their confidence and help get them into the workplace. I have taught many workshops but creating ones for the deaf community I thought would create some challenges. Notably, how I would be able to communicate concepts and theories and get the participants to really engage and enjoy photography. However, with the help of two fantastic signers (It's amazing how quickly these guys can interpret what you say), communication barriers were quickly broken.
Indeed, the project has far exceeded our expectations and an exhibition of photography work created by the deaf talented participants has just launched in central Birmingham showing the exceptional work that they managed to produced. The exhibition will also show behind the scenes images to give some insight into the project, and the participants will be available to discuss their experience and answer any questions on the night. The project is one of the most rewarding I have done in my career and it was amazing to see how photography has the power to quite literally change lives.
Below is a short video about the project that also shows some of the phenomenal photo results taken by participants as a result of he workshops. You have to bear in mind that when they started the course with very little confidence and marginilized from workplaces (ridiculous given that they are normal, people just like you and I), no one in the group knew how to hold a camera, put a battery in or insert a memory card. However, by the conclusion of the course, they were all taking professional quality results as well as blossoming as people and personalities in terms of their confidence; incredibly rewarding for myself as an educator and teacher.