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Photography gives glimpse into disadvantaged children’s world

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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What do you get when you send disadvantaged children on a photographic safari hunt with professional level cameras?

The Inspiring Visions exhibition is part of a research project between the School of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University (ECU) and the St Vincent de Paul Society (WA) Inc.

It features images created by children participating in Vinnies’ Kids’ Camps (aged 8 – 13) who have used photography as a means of personal expression of their lives and hopes for the future.

The ECU research behind the exhibition explores turning points and opportunities for change in the lives of families who have received Vinnies’ support. It also explores the knowledge of Vinnies’ staff and volunteers to catalogue their understanding of intergenerational welfare dependency and their personal experiences of the ways in which people have freed themselves from welfare support.

Through creative ‘photovoice’ workshops ECU facilitators guided the children in how to use professional-level camera equipment to produce creative, imaginative photos that reflect the children’s take on the world.

Vinnies Executive Manager Member and Volunteer Services, Rod Sweett, said the children are excited to see their work displayed as part of an exhibition.

“Through the photography the children were able to explore their view of the world. The photographs were produced in a short time but will have a lasting impact, especially on the children who took part,” Mr Sweett said.

ECU Associate Professor Panizza Allmark, the Curator and Photography Workshop Facilitator, said photography is a way of creatively engaging with the environment.

“It’s a way of seeing things from a fresh perspective and also provides a sense of empowerment in the choice of finding, framing and focusing on a subject.

“The children were encouraged to go on a photographic safari hunt and search for surreal, different ways of seeing. Strange perspectives, beautiful landscapes and engaging views are just some of the interesting results in the exhibition,” Professor Allmark said.

The Inspiring Visions exhibition at Building 1, Edith Cowan University Joondalup Campus opens on Thursday, 2 November at 5pm and runs until Wednesday, 22 November.

It is part of the research project Hand Up funded by the Australian Research Council.

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