“This has been the best experience of my life. Through photography I have looked at things more deeply, like looking into my life, and seeing how to move on... Photography has been a therapy for me: it has helped my confidence and helped me express my feelings. Through photography, I learned how to break free of myself.” Loria, New Londoners, 2008

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Photography for Integration is based on PhotoVoice’s work with young refugees over the past six years. Through this resource we aim to offer ideas and advice for groups looking to use photography as a tool to support and enable the integration of young refugees. Specifically, to help young people build new lives in the UK: make friends; gain confidence and feel valued; learn the language; reflect safely on their lives and experiences; gain new skills; communicate and express themselves. Photography for Integration is intended as a resource for project managers, youth workers, arts practitioners, teachers, community workers, photographers and anyone else working with young refugees. The model at PhotoVoice is to have a project manager and a small team of facilitators. Your project may be on a smaller scale and may not be using facilitators. Indeed you may be a teacher working on your own with a small group. Whatever the scope of your project, and your role within it, we hope that you’ll adapt this resource to your needs. The main sections cover the practicalities and ethics of photography projects with young refugees, and the final section provides examples of workshop activities.

The participatory arts field is a thriving one and the benefits to participants have been widely documented. Since 2002 PhotoVoice has been running award-winning photography, digital media and self-advocacy projects with young refugees. Experience shows that longer-term photography projects are more likely to make a sustainable contribution to refugee integration than short-term projects. We encourage you to bear this in mind when planning a project with young refugees, to allow time for the building of confidence, trust, skills, and relationships. However, we recognise that the constraints of time and resources mean that smaller one-off projects are sometimes all that is realistic.

This resource isn’t intended as a generic set of rules or ‘how tos’. Anyone who has worked with young refugees will be aware of the enormous complexities and challenges these young people face. No experience is the same and any strategies devised to support young refugees need to take this into account.

Every young person can be creative and communicative with a camera in their hands. It’s important to keep in mind when you’re working with young refugees that first and foremost they’re young people. PhotoVoice has had the privilege of working with this group of inspiring young people for the past six years. We’ve had lots of fun, and hope you do too!

Liz Orton and Tiffany Fairey

Copyright 2008 PhotoVoice
P: 020 7033 3878
E: info@photovoice.org
UK Charity no: 1096598