Photographs from the PhotoVoice project ‘Having Our Say 3’ which worked with young people affected by sexual exploitation were exhibited at the Lumen church last week. The Reverend Allan Bell, has extensive experience in education and dramatic arts and runs the ‘Centre for Silence’ at the church. These workshops not only reflect on the power of silence as a place of sanctuary but also explore the critical role that silence plays in fostering thinking, reflection and creativity. Upon seeing the ‘Having Our Say 3’ project at Brighton Photo Fringe Allan Bell was moved to exhibit the photographs at the church and to discuss the theme of abuse and the negative aspects of silencing.
Having Our Say3 is a photographic and digital storytelling project that offers young people the opportunity to explore and reflect on their experiences of, and perspectives on, the impact of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Young people affected by sexual exploitation often face complex and enduring interrelated issues such as familial domestic and sexual violence, substance misuse, poor physical and mental health, experience of being missing from home or being ‘looked after’. Often behaviour seen as challenging may also prevent needs being addressed, which can contribute to isolation and lack of support, and compound vulnerability and levels of risk.
In keeping with the Centre for Silence’s pledge to use culture, art and contemplation to inspire public action around human rights abuses, the project aims to enable young people affected by sexual exploitation and trafficking to represent their experiences and perspectives on the issues through photography and digital storytelling, and subsequently build self-confidence, self-worth, and insight. This will help to develop future safeguarding for themselves and others.
In turn, this will enable young people to advocate for themselves and directly inform a professional context by producing material that will be developed into a resource, enabling adults (professionals as well as parents and carers) to provide better services and support to other young people similarly affected. In this way, the young people will no longer be silenced and are able to raise awareness of this issue and how it affects young people across the UK.
Check out our installation process
Featured image: “Even After school they started to add me to facebook groups and sat and bully me over the group chat also other apps. I kept removing myself from the group, but they’d just add me back in.” © Billie 2016 | PhotoVoice | NWG | ‘Having Our Say 3’ | UK