Posts

Geron, Claire, Deluxe, Sabela and Jay at the Accumul8 Shoreditch workshop.

Learning photography at Accumulate isn’t just about learning photography.

Accumulate is all about learning. learning new skills, learning about photography and for the young people involved, to learn more about themselves and their potential. One thing Accumulate also tries to do is to vary the learning styles we use as much as possible. So, even though, we are delivering photography workshops every week and the participants are learning to use DSLR cameras and how to take good photographs, the learning also comes from industry speakers, visiting galleries and exhibitions, doing activities and developing personal skills (such as communication, time management and self-discipline skills) in a comfortable and trusting environment.

This is all part of a journey that the participants go on. It is a journey of self -discovery, such as when the group did the portrait workshop at Photofusion and wrote letters to their future selfs. They decorated their portraits with stickers and jewels and shared their insights and letters with each other. It became a situation where people opened up and talked about their hopes for themselves.

Sharing and learning together at the Photofusion workshop.

Sharing and learning together at the Photofusion workshop.

Louis shares his letter to himself in 15 years time.

Louis shares his letter to himself in 15 years time.

A really popular, and very exciting, annual Accumulate photography workshop is the visit to London Fashion Week where the group photographs all the fashionistas who hang about outside the shows. This year, we held the “pre-workshop” at Somerset House and invited three fashion industry speakers to tell of their stories, their set-backs and achievements. One of the speakers was Tori Taiwo, a fashion designer and photographer, who had been previously homeless, and told the group that their situation should not be used to hold them back but can be turned into something positive. A really hard hitting, powerful and heart felt message for the Accumulate group, and Tori spent time speaking about how her own personal negative situation which became a force for eventual success. All it took her was self-belief, grit, determination and resilience. And those don’t cost anything.

Younnis shares his photograph with a fashionista at London Fashion Week.

Jay shares his photograph with a fashionista at London Fashion Week.

And so the Accumulate photography workshops have now come to an end for 2017 and the selection process starts for their exhibition.

The last workshop the group had was a street photography session which took place in Shoreditch. Shoreditch is all about of crazy graffiti, Hoxton hipsters and cool cafes, but this last Accumul8 workshop was actually about learning that everyone had been on an incredible life journey. They had become more confident, happy, made new friends and were enthusiastic and energised by their new skills. This is true for the Accumulate participants and also the Ravensbourne students. Just young people who enjoy learning, sharing and being with each other. Roll on the Accumulate exhibition!

Geron, Claire, Deluxe, Sabela and Jay at the Accumul8 Shoreditch workshop.

Geron, Claire, Deluxe, Sabela and Younis at the Accumulate Shoreditch workshop.

Learning and sharing photography skills and making new friends as well.

Learning new skills is just one aspect of the Accumul8 photography workshops, yes – the main focus is learning about photography, but other stuff happens – which is just as exciting, rewarding and nourishing as the excitement of taking great photographs. Friendships are made between groups of young people that would not have met before, social skills are built and new places and parts of London are discovered and visited that include its museums and galleries. To have over 50 young people energised to visit a museum and feel comfortable in it is a serious accomplishment, no longer do these places seem out of bound or not for them. So far, we have had Accumul8 workshops at Tate Modern, Somerset House, The Barbican and Sulger-Buel Lovell Gallery in Southwark.  Along with learning photography techniques, the Accumul8 group have had talks from practising photographers about their work and their careers, visited exhibitions and also overcome personal challenges to ask strangers to have their portraits taken. All part of their learning and opening up to new opportunities, wherever they may be.

 

Learning and sharing photography skills

Learning and sharing photography skills

Accumul8 photography workshops – all set to go!

This month we are starting the Accumul8 photography workshops for young people who have been affected by homelessness and we have some amazing partners for the project including Tate Modern, The Barbican, Somerset House, The Photographers’ Gallery and The Guardian.

When the Accumul8 photography workshops were set up, in 2014, we worked with just one hostel – the North London YMCA Hostel in Crouch End. This year we are very excited to be working with nine hostels across London, so a major organisational activity!, and we will be extending the good work we do to places like Stonewall Housing, that supports members of the LGBT community, and also Freedom from Torture, who help and support victims or witnesses of torture. Other hostels that are participating are East London YMCA Hostel, North London YMCA Hostel, the Evolve group of hostels and Caritas Anchor Housing.

What’s even better is two of the participants from last year’s Accumul8 programme will be joining us as workshop facilitators. It is really wonderful to see the transition that Accumul8 makes to peoples’ lives and nothing evidences this more than when they want to come back and help others who were in the position that they were in a year ago. So, welcome Dan Fifield and Sam Adesanya – you will be super role models and mentors for Accumul8 2017.

Dan Fifield, once an Accumul8 participant, now an Accumul8 photography mentor, with his work at the Accumul8 exhibition 2016.

Sam Adesanya with Marice Cumber, founder of Accumul8, at the Accumul8 exhibition 2016. Sam won the Accumul8 photography scholarship and is now studying Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne.

photo-1-10-1

Photography week three.

A quick update on the progress of the Accumul8 photography workshops. The approach we are taking is learning through doing, everything is practice based with experimentation as the central core of the Accumul8 participants’ personal development process. In this way, they learn in a supported environment, about risk, confidence, self-belief, managing their own expectations, failure and success. All soft skills that may seem natural to some of us, but for some they need to understand these and adopt these life skills at a later stage in life.

After three weeks, the participants now know all about shutter speed, depth of field and apertures, and they have created their own blogs as a place to upload their photos. They have taken portraits and still life photographs and have produced some really brilliant and creatively rich images.

Yesterday TJ, one if the hostel residents and an Accumul8 participant, said to me, “the only thing that is keeping me going at the moment is my birthday celebration next week and these photography classes”

photo 1 (10)

The start of a new season

We have now started the Accumul8 season of photography workshops at the North London YMCA hostel, which will end with an exhibition of the hostel residents’ photographs at the Crouch End Festival in June.

Digital photography is a really effective creative medium to engage and inspire the residents. It allows them to explore and use their creativity, in a very non-judgmental way, but more importantly, puts them in charge and by doing so, increases their confidence, communication skills and sense of well-being. Also digital photography is instant and an activity that everyone can participate in, experiment with and enjoy.

This year, we are again working with Ravensbourne, the college that I work at, who have partnered with Accumul8 – thank you James and Lucy. The students on the access course will be assisting the photographer, Othello deSouza Hartley, who is leading the tuition for the sessions. What is special this year is that the residents will receive a university certificate in digital media (level 2) at the end of the project. This is going to be something very significant, as the residents have often not only suffered from destructive pasts that has triggered their homelessness, but also from poor and fragmented education which has hampered their abilities to progress into employment or other training. Hopefully, the Accumul8 project can inspire them to reconnect with education, relish their achievements and help them on their journey to a better future.

The photo shows Sylwia, an access student at Ravensbourne, helping TJ, a resident at the YMCA hostel, to understand about composition and framing an image.

photo (10)

Also, this week we are super proud to launch the Accumul8 Community Jam page on our website. This is a page where the community can participate and donate to the Accumul8 project by donating a preserves recipe. (Accumul8 and the residents make and sell preserves with surplus fruit to help pay for the Accumul8 creative workshops at the hostel). The aim of the Accumul8 Community Jam page is to help build awareness of Accumul8 and the work it does and hopefully, inspires a new audience to learn about sustainability, creativity, homelessness and the community.

We are even more proud that so many celebrity chefs and food writers have donated their preserves recipes to Accumul8. Talented, creative figures such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Mark Hix, Dan Doherty, Matthew Fort, Marjorie Paulson, Thane Prince, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, Pam Corbin, Sarah Randell, Valentine Warner, Olia Hercules, Ghillie James, Vivien Lloyd. Many thanks to all of them. Please donate your preserve recipe too and be part of Accumul8’s work to help the homeless get a better future.