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The Wells Road Centre | Nottingham Photographers' Hub

The Wells Road Centre

We recently worked with residents from the Well Road centre, culminating in a exhibition. Here is the talk given by jagdish Patel from the Hub.

Welcome to this exhibition at Wells Road.  Firstly, we should say well done to all the participants. As you can see they have produced some fantastic work, which in a period of just eight weeks is a great achievement, particularly bearing in mind that we not only taught them basic photography and visual literacy  skills, but also how to use a SLR, and learning how to use a SLR is not that simple, so well done.

My name is Jagdish, and beside me is Clare, and we are both from Nottingham Photographers’ Hub. The Photographers’ Hub is social enterprise helping people who may not have had opportunities to be creative to learn photography skills and produce some great images. However, this is not our only objective, we were acutely aware when we set up the Hub just over two year ago that the world was changing and image-making was almost becoming an important life skill. You only have to see how young people use images on Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis to communicate with each other to see this, and remember 10% of all the images ever taken by humans were taken last year and this is set to increase this year.  You can now share photographs across the globe almost instantly, and receive instant feedback and comments from people across the globe.

Photography is a universal language which crosses many barriers, you only have to see the impact it has had on one of our participants who doesn’t speak English. He is delighted at what has been created today, and I’ve seen how he has given you his own feedback of the photographs.

When we delivered our first course for people suffering mental ill health in 2011 we designed the course not just to teach people practical camera and visual literacy skills, but also other important skills such as social interaction, self motivation, thinking creatively, and self expression. What surprised us was just how people did benefit and see improvements in these other skills. We are not unique in this approach, teachers encourage teenage boys to take GCSE in photography simply because its helps to bring out self expression and creative thinking in boys that a topic like English language doesn’t seem to, and skills such as self motivation and the ability to express yourself are important everyday skills we all need.

We have been fortunate to have been able to deliver the course here because we have received funding from the Big Lottery Fund. This funding is mainly used to deliver courses in the community, and we would welcome people are Wells Road to enroll and meet others from the local community. The courses are popular and from the past two courses we have had many people who came back and requested us to run more follow up courses. Unfortunately, we don’t have funding to do this, but we have helped people to develop their own projects and as a result of this we recently held a exhibition at the New Art Exchange called Stigma, which specifically addressed the issue of mental ill health through photography. There is a review of the show in this months ‘Positive Health’ magazine where you can read about the exhibition from the perspective of one of the users. We do hope to help our participants put together more exhibitions in the future, we know there is one planned for Mental Health week in October. It also means that we are now experienced in working with participants from  a secure setting, to a community setting and then right through to participants working independently with minimum support from us.

We haven’t worked in a secure setting before so it has been a learning experience for us, but as you can see you have created portraits without any person actually being in the image, we have created landscapes without any part of the building being shown, and we have created some unique abstracts. We thank both the staff and participants who have put together a great exhibition.  I’m now going to handover to Clare you is going to hand the participants with their certificates of attendance.”

Some of the images on show at the Centre are here




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