Posts

Geron at the Creative Writing Session

Creative Writing and the Accumulate Group

For the first time, since Accumulate started in 2013, we ran a creative writing session with the group. Writing itself often presents its own challenges, with negative experiences about school, literacy issues and dyslexia all becoming reasons not to attend the session. But these fears were set aside and 16 people turned up one Wednesday afternoon for a creative writing session at The Africa Centre in Southwark. We focused on two aspects, writing about their experiences on the Accumulate project and then, specifically, about their photographs which will be in the exhibition.

What was so evident was just how much everyone connected and were so eager to describe their experiences, they are so invested in Accumulate and having such a great time that now they can surmount any challenge. It was also the right time in the project to introduce the creative writing session, any earlier and we would not have had their attention or responses.  The brilliant session leader – Joanna Brown, delivered a really evolving workshop session that probed, asked and teased out the information, we had helpers on board to support where needed and then, at the end, we shared a “community” meal, kindly sponsored by local restaurant, Bala Baya. What a great day!

Geron at the Creative Writing Session

Geron at the Creative Writing Session

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.

Crep Protect and The Accumul8 Scholarship

Crep Protect are a cool company, they are even cooler as they are changing someone’s life by funding a scholarship for an Accumul8 participant to study on the year long Access to HE course in design and digital media at Ravensbourne College. We asked them why and this is what they said….. (we love them even more now!)

“Crep Protect , created by 3 brothers from London’s district of Kingsbury , 3 brothers who had a simple desire to keep their sneakers fresh and to share the product with close friends / family and maybe a few retailers .
From humble beginnings – self funded , even when there were no funds available , to now just a few years later , to where the business currently stands , distributed in 52 countries and retailed in the most exclusive sneaker boutiques as well as all of the major players.

The reason that Crep Protect gets involved in opportunities such as this is because to a man , we have on occasion been paper close to losing everything that we have , we have been in the situation where you feel lost and helpless , yearning for someone to care , for someone to give you just a little lift , to get you off your knees and get you moving forward .
We know that feeling of everything being lost , so we know that if we can do something good for someone else , for no reason than the fact that we can , that we should , then maybe someone else will do the same .
When we are up and running ,when we are doing well , we should never forget to look around , to look and see who needs that little nudge , that opportunity to show that they are worthy , that they are talented and that they should not be measured by the situation that they find themselves in .
This is why we care – because it very easily could be any of us.”

So, if anyone out there relates to Crep Protect’s story and wants to help, feels inspired and can change a young, homeless person’s life by helping to fund an Accumul8 scholarship then we would love to hear from you, and you can find out more on our pledges page here

Shoreditch Shoots and the Accumul8 Gang

This week we went to Autograph’s premises in Shoreditch. It is the home of the Association of Black Photographers and we were really privileged to be shown the archive of photographs by black and diverse photographers, hear about the organisation and learn about a wealth of photographic work with huge cultural and historical importance.

Ali Eissa from Autograph in Shoreditch shows off the wonders of their archive to the Accumul8 participants.

Ali Eissa from Autograph in Shoreditch shows off the wonders of their archive to the Accumul8 participants.

About 95% of Accumul8’s participants this year are from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds and so this visit and significant relevance and importance to them and was something that they could all relate to.

The amazing and inspirational Gisela Torres then led the photography workshop around the streets of Shoreditch, with the students from Ravensbourne assisting and supporting the Accumul8 participants to take the best possible shots in the lead up to their exhibition at The Guardian.

Goda from Ravensbourne, Younnes from Freedom from Torture and Geron from East London YMCA on the Accumul8 Shoreditch Shoot.

Goda from Ravensbourne, Younnes from Freedom from Torture and Geron from East London YMCA on the Accumul8 Shoreditch Shoot.

The participants, who are from 9 different hostels across London, are now friends with each other, sharing their images and being open about their work and aspirations within the project. It is so amazing how the impact of this project goes beyond learning about photography and encourages confidence, communication skills and pride in the participants.

Gisela Torres, an Accumul8 tutor, shares her photography wisdom and skills with Jay and Alex, two Accumul8 participants.

Gisela Torres, an Accumul8 tutor, shares her photography wisdom and skills with Jay and Alex, two Accumul8 participants on the Shoreditch Shoots photography 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.

Preparing for the Accumul8 Photography Exhibition

This week was the start of the big journey towards the grand Accumul8 exhibition at The Guardian, opening on July

Starting the selection process

Starting the selection process

14th.

And what a week it was! We started and completed the selection process of the photographs that have made the grade and will be shown. We also were able to celebrate and congratulate all the young people who had participated in the Accumul8 project on their achievements so far.

We were really privileged to have Luke Dodd, curator of The Guardian space, and Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery, make the big decisions as to what will be shown and to also hear from the real professionals about why they were making specific choices and why certain images were worthy of being exhibited. Both Luke and Brett were really impressed by the work and Luke spent considerable time afterwards talking to the Accumul8 participants about their individual photographs, their talent and their potential to take their photography further.

Luke and Brett curating the images that will be shown at the Accumul8 exhibition

Luke and Brett curating the images that will be shown at the Accumul8 exhibition

This was very timely, as this year, for the first time, Accumul8 will be awarding one, very lucky, Accumul8 participant a scholarship to study on the Access to HE Diploma in Creative and Digital Media at Ravensbourne. The Accumul8 scholarship will cover their fees, plus there is also the possibility of having their laptop and camera paid for as well. Our thanks go to Burns Owen Partnership for supporting the Accumul8 Scholarship.
The goal is eventually, for the recipient of the Accumul8 scholarship to then become an Accumul8 workshop assistant and role model for future participants of the Accumul8 creativity project for young, homeless people. It’s a case of education changing lives, creating new futures and good, old reciprocity.

 

The Accumul8 group get to see what of their work has been chosen for the exhibition.

The Accumul8 group get to see which pieces of their work have been chosen for the exhibition.

_P4A9853 copy 2

The Accumul8 group on top of Primrose Hill

Markets, locks and hills

For the final photography session of this series of workshops the Accumul8 group visited Camden, exploring the markets, walking beside the canal and ending up at the top of Parliament Hill. This was the first year that Accumul8 has worked with three hostels and over such a long period of time (this week was the 20th session). It has been an incredible journey of learning and skills development. But more amazing is to watch the participants becoming more confident with themselves, with newly found self-esteem and a sense of well-being, that goes far beyond the actual activity. This will, hopefully, help them to make their own positive life decisions. It’s been a blast!

Pic below: students, residents and workshop leaders having fun

Ravensbourne students, Accumul8 participants and workshop leaders having fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accumul8 and Birdsong London at London Fashion Week

When Accumul8 did the London Fashion Week project, Birdsong London came along too to talk to the group about their own social enterprise.

Birdsong is a project which sells fashion products made by women’s groups which actively work to improve women’s lives. The meeting of the two groups was also a way to introduce the issues surrounding women, fashion, identity and empowerment.

Birdsong-Edna-Poster

The talk went down a storm, and the group were so interested in what founder Ruba Huleihel had to say, that they asked her to stay on and carry on talking after the photography workshop was finished. Check out their blog about Accumul8. Thanks to Ruba of Birdsong for being so brilliant and inspiring!!

 

Photography workshops and London Fashion Week

So it’s now March 2016, and we are half way through delivering the series of photography workshops to young homeless people living in hostels across London.

Three hostels are involved: the North London YMCA Hostel, the East London YMCA Hostel and the group of Evolve hostels in south London.

Networking between Ravensbourne photography students and hostel residents

Networking between Ravensbourne photography students and hostel residents

Feeling the benefits

Working with multiple hostels has been a really positive experience, with friendships and links being formed between the hostel residents and also between them and the student helpers. Connecting the students and residents has been a hugely positive result, they are two groups of young people who wouldn’t have met otherwise. Barriers have been broken down and new connections have been made.

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of cool dudes, street photo taken by Dan Fifield, resident at Evolve Hostel

A couple of cool dudes, street photo taken by Dan Fifield, resident at Evolve Hostel.

A new week, a new topic…

Every week on the project we have tackled a different subject matter as a theme for the photography workshop, including portraits, street photography, performance and identity.

Getting out and about

We have run a workshop with the Barbican to tie into their upcoming “Strange and Familiar” exhibition and also have used the experience of visiting Tate Museum and seeing the “Performing for the Camera” show as inspiration for more creative photography and image making.

A highlight, so far, has been the London Fashion Week workshop. This started with a talk about the impact of fashion blogs, how to set up in the industry from young, fashion designer Lamula Nassuna. There was also a talk by Ruba Harounni (who runs social enterprise Birdsong London) about how fashion can empower individuals.

 

Isaac, in the grey sweatsuit, taking a photo of Tinie Tempeh at London Fashion Week

Isaac, in the grey sweatsuit, taking a photo of Tinie Tempeh at London Fashion Week which featured in Vogue.

Our intrepid fledgling photographers then went on to take photographs all around the LFW headquarters on Brewer Street. They enjoyed observing all the flamboyant individuals and even got the chance to snap rap star and singer Tinie Tempah! This got Isaac, from East London YMCA Hostel, into Vogue. Check out that retweet here

Black is back at London Fashion Week

Black is back at London Fashion Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red and White at London Fashion Week

Red and White at London Fashion Week

 

Shady at London Fashion Week

Shady at London Fashion Week