Photo © Hannah and National Galleries of Scotland, 2021

EDI Engagement Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI (AHRC)

In 2021 Professor of Photography Anna Fox was awarded an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Engagement Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of the UK Research Initiative. This Fellowship builds on the Fast Forward initiative and has enabled the pioneering project Putting Ourselves in the Picture supporting a community of marginalized women and non-binary people in collaboration with five organisations recognised for their influential endeavours:

Autograph ABP; Impressions Gallery, Bradford; National Galleries of Scotland; Women for Refugee Women and Work Show Grow.

Through a series of innovative workshops and mentorship activities organised by the partners this project has developed the skills, knowledge of photography and confidences of the participants. The resulting outputs are set to educate us all by increasing awareness of women’s unheard life stories using photography as a tool of empowerment and as a story-telling practice.

The project participants Ceecee, Rella, Rhody, Miya, Precious, Raolat, Phim, Leonelle, Linda, Nwanyi, Lovelin, Hannah, Grace, Maureen, Ana, Maryam, Sylvie, Taraneh, Elham, Manar, Vicky, and Josiane have all made work that opens our eyes, enthuses our ideas and crushes stereotypes. Putting Ourselves in the Picture confronts gender discrimination and the marginalisation of women in our societies.

OUTCOMES

A book by Trolley Books

This new publication presents the project Putting Ourselves in the Picture, set up by Fast Forward: Women in Photography, designed to empower women to use photography in pertinent ways to tell stories about their own lives. 

The publication is designed as a case study of the project and will be an inspiring read for anyone interested in learning about migrant and refugee lives, women’s lives and about storytelling using photography.

Edited by Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva, designed by Sarah Boris, an essay is written by Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva and edited by Anne Lyden, Anne McNeill, Bindi Vora, Elizabeth Ransom and Natasha Caruana.

A series of podcasts

In collaboration with Social Broadcasts, Fast Forward have produced the Putting Ourselves in The Picture podcast series of 6 episodes, which was hosted by Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva.

This series focuses on conversations around the Fast Forward Manifesto for increased involvement of women in photography concerned with improving inclusivity and diversity in photography. It also features discussions about the project Putting Ourselves in The Picture created with a group of partner organisations, participants and other photography professionals.

Putting Ourselves in The Picture

Episode 1: Fast Forward: An Introduction

In the first episode of the series Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva introduce the project Fast Forward: Women in Photography looking at how the project started in 2014 and how it has developed since then. They discuss the ideas behind the creation of the Fast Forward Manifesto, which can be joined by organisations and individuals from all over the world. 

Voices in this episode: 

Anna Fox, Professor of Photography at UCA, Director of Fast Forward: Women in Photography and Photographer

Maria Kapajeva, Project Manager at Fast Forward: Women in Photography and Artist

 

View episode page

Episode 2: Fast Forward Manifesto, Part One

Can the Fast Forward Manifesto change the world making it more diverse and representative? Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva talk to different professionals in photography about their take on the points outlined in the Manifesto. How can we be sure the changes, suggested in the Manifesto, will be implemented in the future? The guests, Jean Wainwright, Karen Knorr and Hannah Starkey are sharing their personal experiences of working in the photography world and their opinions on how vital it is to include women’s stories in historical and contemporary conversations about photography. Aldeide Delgado shares the story of Women Photographers International Archive (WOPHA): how and why it was founded and what can we learn from each other’s experiences. 

Voices in this episode:

Jean Wainwright, Professor of Contemporary Art & Photography at UCA and a Steering Committee member of Fast Forward: Women in Photography

Karen Knorr, Professor of Photography at UCA, a Steering Committee member of Fast Forward: Women in Photography and Photographer

Hannah Starkey, Artist

Aldeide Delgado, Founder and Director of WOPHA and a Steering Committee member of Fast Forward: Women in Photography

View episode page

Episode 3: Fast Forward Manifesto, Part Two

In this episode, Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva continue the conversation about the Fast Forward Manifesto and how institutions and independent curators work on making the world of photography more inclusive and diverse. They have included in this conversation the Director of The Photographers’ Gallery in London, Brett Rogers, the Director of Impressions Gallery, Bradford, Anne McNeil and artist and independent curator Sunil Gupta. 

Voices in this episode:

Brett Rogers, OBE, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery

Sunil Gupta, Artist and a Steering Committee member of Fast Forward: Women in Photography

Anne McNeill, Director of Impressions Gallery

View episode page

Episode 4: Putting Ourselves in The Picture, Part One

In the next three episodes Anna Fox and Maria Kapajeva introduce their recent project Putting Ourselves in The Picture, which was run collaboratively with 5 partner organisations in London, Bradford, Edinburgh and online. The project was set to work with three groups of marginalised women, who are refugees and migrants, to teach them photographic skills, to increase their confidence and to give them an opportunity to share their stories and through this process educate us all. In this episode we are getting inside information about the process of the workshops and the participants’ impressions of their experience at National Galleries of Scotland and at Impressions Gallery. 

Voices in this episode:

Anne Lyden, Chief Curator of Photography at National Galleries of Scotland 

Sam Rutherford, Artist

Wendy McMurdo, Artist 

Jane Hiley, Visitor Services and Bookshop Manager at Impressions Gallery 

Carolyn Mendelsohn, Photographer and Filmmaker 

View episode page

Episode 5: Putting Ourselves in The Picture, Part Two

In this episode, Anna and Maria continue to talk about the processes, challenges and results of the year-long project Putting Ourselves in The Picture with groups of refugee and migrant women at different locations in the UK. This episode is focused on the conversation with Natasha Caruana, the founder Work Show Grow online school, about how and why Work Show Grow was founded, the nature of the school and the special workshops and activity set up for the participants.

Voice in this episode:

Natasha Caruana, Founder of Work Show Grow and Artist

View episode page

Episode 6: Putting Ourselves in The Picture, Part Three

In the final episode, Anna and Maria continue to discuss the processes, challenges and results of the year-long project Putting Ourselves in The Picture with groups of refugee and migrant women at different locations in the UK. This episode focuses on the challenges and successes we have experienced, and learned from, through this project in conversation with Bindi Vora (Autograph), Sam Hudson (Women for Refugee Women) and Aida Silvestri (Artist Educator). 

Voices in this episode: 

Bindi Vora, Curator at Autograph and Artist

Aida Silvestri, Artist and Educator

Samantha Hudson, Communications and Fundraising Manager at Women for Refugee Women 

View episode page

A series of short films

A series of short films have been produced by Fast Forward in partnership with the filmmakers Laura Sims and Sarah Jeans, funded through Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Engagement Fellowship by AHRC/UKRI. The short films are part of a bigger project Putting Ourselves in The Picture and the films are made with some of the participants of the project. They aim to highlight the experiences of the participants through the project and to give an insight into what the women who took part in the project wanted to tell. 

Film production team: Laura Sims (Director), Sarah Jeans (Producer), Anne Parisio (Director of Photography), Christine-Lloyd Fitt (Camera Person), Arusik Nanyan (Composer) and James Wright (Sound Editor).

LONDON

Autograph ABP and Women for Refugee Women worked with:

members of Rainbow Sisters, a group of lesbian, bisexual and trans women, and non binary people who are seeking asylum. The core team included:

Aida Silvestri, Mentor and Workshop Leader

Aida Silvestri is an interdisciplinary artist, activist and educator of Eritrean descent who creates mixed-media artworks that challenge the status quo of stigma, prejudice and social injustice in relation to issues of race, class, identity and health, often combining text, image and experimental techniques to manipulate the photographic surface. Silvestri’s solo exhibitions include Autograph and Roman Road Gallery, both in London, and she has exhibited in international group shows such as African Cosmologies: Photography, Time and the Other (FotoFest, Houston, 2020), and at The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Saatchi Gallery, London; TEAT Champ Fleuri, Sainte-Clotilde; Musée National d’Histoire-aux-Poissons, Ville-Haute; The Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei; Benaki Museum, Athens; Cours de L’Archevéché, Arles; and Centquarter, Paris. In 2021 she was artist-in-residence at Light Work, Syracuse. Her works are held in the collections of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston (USA), Los Angeles Country Museum (USA) and Autograph, London (UK).

Bindi Vora, Mentor

Bindi Vora is a British-Indian interdisciplinary photographic artist and Curator at Autograph, a London-based non-profit arts charity that explores issues of identity, representation, human rights, and social justice through photography.  Since joining Autograph she has curated Poulomi Basu: Fireflies (2022), co-curated Care I Contagion I Community ­– Self & Other (2021-2022); Lola Flash: [sur]passing and Maxine Walker: Untitled (both 2019) and contributed to a series of in-conversations with multidisciplinary artists include Mónica Alcázar-Duarte,Poulomi Basu, Maryam Wahid, Tobi Alexandra Falade, David Uzochukwu amongst others. She has independently curated Poulomi Basu: Centralia for Recontres d’Arles – Louis Roederer Discovery Award (2020); Let’s Go Through This Again (Portland Works, Sheffield 2018); her writing has appeared in publications by Maryam Wahid Zaibuinnisa (Midlands Art Centre, 2022); Another Country: British Documentary Photography Since 1945 (Thames & Hudson, 2022); FOAM Magazine (2020), British Journal of Photography (2021) and Loose Associations (2017), participating in public programmes for Tate Modern, Peckham24, GRAIN Photo Hub, The Photographers Gallery amongst others. She currently serves on the Curatorial Advisory Board for Amber-Side Gallery, Newcastle.

Bobby Lloyd, Workshop guest facilitator

Bobby Lloyd is a visual artist, UK HCPC registered art therapist, supervisor and educator. Since the early 1990s her work has taken place in the NHS and community settings, as well as internationally in contexts of conflict and social upheaval. As CEO of the charity Art Refuge, she led its project with refugees in northern France from 2015-20, and since then has been developing work in Kent with people recently arrived in the UK and seeking asylum, working alongside Aida Silvestri and other members of the team. She has become increasingly interested in the roles of art and art therapy in relation to displacement, crisis support and social justice.

Josephine Carter, Workshop guest facilitator

Josephine Carter a poet and facilitator based in Folkestone, UK. She was a recipient of the Foyles Young Poets Award in 2015 and has led creative community projects centred around the intersection of racial, climate and LGBTQ justice issues at local, national, and international levels. Josephine has facilitated events, workshops, and discussions at COP26, Climate Week NYC, London Climate Action Week and Folkestone Book Festival, as well as with the organisations a:dress, ArtRefuge and Origins Untold, working with young people and refugees. Josephine writes poetry for performance and for the page, engaging ideas of social marginality, physical borders, and resistance to oppression to inscribe black queer selves on her natural surroundings in South East England.

Samantha Hudson, Project Manager at Women For Refugee Women

Women For Refugee Women: “Empowering women who have sought asylum in the UK is the heart of our work. We support women who are seeking refuge from persecution, including rape and other torture, to rebuild their lives and communicate their own needs and stories.

Women seek safety in the UK having survived extreme violence and dangerous journeys, only to find new challenges when they arrive here. The asylum process often subjects vulnerable women to the 3 D’s: disbelief, detention and destitution. Women’s stories are too often silenced or denied. And if women are denied asylum in the UK, they can be re-traumatised through indefinite detention. Or, they may be made destitute, with no access to any housing or financial support.

To make change, women’s voices need to be heard. Through a programme of empowerment activities, we support a network of over 300 refugee and asylum-seeking women to develop their confidence and skills. A woman who joins our network will find a welcoming and supportive space in which she can meet other women and begin to rebuild her life, whether that be through speaking her first words of English or leading campaigns for a more just asylum process.”

BRADFORD

Impressions Gallery worked with:

a group of eight refugee and asylum seeker women from different backgrounds with an interest and passion for learning about photography. The core team included:

Anne McNeill, Mentor

Anne McNeill is an experienced curator with over 30 years’ experience. Exhibitions include Facing the Front, unseen wartime fashion photographs by Lee Miller (1998), Seven Years (2004) seminal exhibition by Trish Morrissey, Cockroach Diaries & other stories (2010), first retrospective of Anna Fox’s work, shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Prize, Lost Languages & other voices, major survey of Joy Gregory a key artist emerging from the Black British photography movement on the 1980s.
Her most recent project In Which Language Do We Dream? (2021) considers the power of authentic representation from the photographic perspective of a Syrian refugee family. This is a co-authored exhibition, with McNeill guiding the photographic selection through collaboration and discussion with socially engaged photographer Rich Wiles and the al-Hindawi family.
She is the editor of numerous publications on photography, recent writings includes Zanele Muholi (Granta 2019), Being Inbetween (Bluecoat press 2020) and most recently a response to Autograph ABP’s commission of Joy Gregory’s work exploring self-care during Covid-19.

Carolyn Mendelsohn, Workshop Leader

Carolyn Mendelsohn is a photographer, and filmmaker who has lived and worked across the UK. Her passion is making personal work, based on the lives of individuals and their stories. Carolyn’s long-term project Being Inbetween has been exhibited internationally, including at Impressions Gallery, and has been published by The Guardian, The Sunday Times, La Monde, BBC and British Journal of Photography. She was awarded the BJP Portrait of Britain in 2017 and 2019 and won Gold in The Royal Photographic Society International Print exhibition 2017/18. Mendelsohn’s first book, Being Inbetween was published in December 2020 by Bluecoat Press.

Jane Hiley, Project Manager

Jane Hiley is Impressions Gallery’s Visitor Services Manager, with vast experience of running outreach projects that connect with the diverse communities across Bradford and beyond. Projects include Time for Tea, regular events that welcome older people at risk of social exclusion and loneliness into the gallery. She is a Dementia Friend and works directly with local dementia support groups. Hiley overseas the creative activities for children and their families, in which Impressions Gallery achieved acknowledgments from Family Arts Standards and Kids in Museums.

Jennifer Sobol, Project Co-ordinator

Jennifer Sobol is a gallery educator, who is recognised for her innovative approach to connecting young people with culture. In 2012 Sobol developed New Focus Impressions Gallery’s award winning young people’s collective. New Focus has supported over 100 young people to become the artists of the future, members have gone onto work for cultural organisations including the BBC, National History Museum and Magnum Photos. One of Sobol’s key projects No Man’s Land: Young People Uncover Women’s Viewpoints of the First World War is an award-winning Heritage Lottery project, 2017

Jean McEwan, Guest Facilitator

Jean McEwan is a Bradford-area based visual artist and facilitator who has been working across visual, collaborative, research and socially engaged practices for over 15 years. Her participatory practice, informed by her previous career as a community worker, aims to create spaces to explore how creativity can empower and connect us. McEwan is founder of grassroots arts project ‘Wur Bradford’ and is currently leading ‘Create Connect Make’, a collaboration between Keighley Library and local people to develop, grow and test community-led creativity.

Arpita Shah, Guest Facilitator

Arpita Shah is a photographic artist based in Eastbourne, UK. She works with photography and film, exploring the intersections of culture and identity. Shah spent the earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities

Her work has been exhibited across the UK and internationally, including at Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); Autograph APB in London (2018) Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow (2019) and Impressions Gallery in Bradford (2020).  Shah is the recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme in Syracuse NY and her work is held at the National Galleries of Scotland.

Maryam Wahid, Guest Facilitator

Maryam Wahid is an artist who uses photography to convey her identity
as a British Pakistani Muslim woman. Through her deeply rooted family
history and the mass integration of South Asian migrants within the
UK, her photographs explore womanhood, memory, migration and the
notion of home and belonging.

Wahid was awarded BJP Portrait of Britain in 2021, for her photograph,
‘Halima Jabeen in her front garden’. She has been commissioned by
The Guardian, The Financial Times, Wellcome Collection and The
Telegraph. In 2020, she featured on BBC’s Great British Photography
Challenge. More recently, she was the lead artist for the
Creative Connections project by the National Portrait Gallery and
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

EDINBURGH

National Galleries of Scotland worked with:

a small group of West African women, now settled around North Edinburgh, who are using photography to explore their physical, mental, and spiritual journeys that form each of their personal stories. The core team included:

Wendy McMurdo, Mentor

Wendy McMurdo works with photography and digital media. She holds a doctorate by publication from University of Westminster for her photographic work exploring the impact of the computer on our collective identities. Her work is included in a number of major collections and has featured in a wide variety of exhibitions, including The Anagrammatical Body: The Body and its Photographic Condition, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, Uncanny, Fotomuseum Winterthur and Only Make Believe curated by Marina Warner for Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK. In 2017 she was commissioned by the Photographers’ Gallery in London to produce a new work for their Media Wall. In 2018 was named as one of the Hundred Heroines by The Royal Photographic Society. In 2021 she was included in ‘Imaging the Future’ at Shanghai Photofair. She is a Senior lecturer on the Masters programme in Photography at Falmouth University in the UK.

Anne Lyden, Mentor

Anne Lyden is Chief Curator, Photography at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh where she is responsible for a collection of 55,000 photographs. Prior to joining NGS, Annie was associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.  She has curated numerous exhibitions, including the work of Hill and Adamson, Paul Strand, and Diane Arbus. She is the author of several books including, Railroad Vision: Photography, Travel and Perception (2003), The Photographs of Frederick H. Evans (2010), A Royal Passion: Photography and Queen Victoria (2014) and most recently, A Perfect Chemistry: The Photographs of Hill & Adamson (2017).

Sam Rutherford, Workshop Leader

Sam Rutherford is a digital artist who is passionate about enabling community groups to have their voices heard and sees the arts as the perfect platform for this. She has over 20 years of experience as a teaching artist. Recent projects include working with groups using photography as a means to research, discuss and better understand different themes and issues.Collaborations with a creative collective of freelance teaching artists over lockdown has further developed her approach, delivering workshops and presentations online through Engage on sharing practice and ‘bridging the pedagogical gap’.

ON-LINE

Work Show Grow worked with:

all three groups together from the other partner organisations mentioned above. The core team included:

Natasha Caruana, Mentor

Natasha Caruana is an award winning and internationally recognised artist and educator. She works across photography, moving image, and installation. She has had solo shows at the International Center of Photography, New York; Paris Photo; and Rencontres d’Arles, France and has been in group shows at Turner Contemporary, Margate; Institut pour la Photographie, Lille, France; FACT, Liverpool, UK, Nicéphore Niépce Museum, France; Science Gallery, London; and The Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney.

Caruana is Founder of Work Show Grow. She has been a passionate educator, and for the past 15 years has taught in universities across the world. She is a Senior Lecturer of Photography and holds a part-time post at University of the Arts London. Natasha has an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London and is a member of the Higher Education Academy. She was the first and only one to go to university in her family and has never forgotten the freedom education has brought to her life. She founded Work Show Grow in 2018 to educate and inspire creatives outside of the traditional educational system. Natasha’s speciality is her positive attitude, ability to bring people together, and telling it how it is.

Shaista Chishty, Mentor

Shaista Chishty is a photographer & visual artist interested in identity, representation and the construction of the Other. Shaista’s work often centres her own experiences as a British Muslim woman of Pakistani origin and uses news, popular culture and archival material to explore mainstream narratives. Shaista is a recipient of a prestigious Jameel Scholarship at Cardiff University where she is currently pursuing a practice-based PhD. Shaista’s research is concerned with how dominant and historical visual representations impact current day identity making among Muslim women in Britain.

Jo Tabone, Workshop Leader

Jo Tabone is a Maltese interdisciplinary artist exploring concepts of Intimacy, Body and the Stare. She studied Art for the Community BA (hons) in Roehampton, UK and holds an MFA in Digital Arts from The University of Malta. She has had several exhibitions both solo and collective in Malta and Cornwall. Jo has led workshops for The Eden Project and Newlyn Art Gallery and worked on community theatre projects in Cornwall with companies such as Kneehigh and Wildworks. She has spent the past five years teaching Art at San Anton School, Malta, prior to that she has worked on films in the Art Dept as a Scenic Artist, props maker, dresser and painter in Malta.

Ramat Tejani, Workshop Leader

Ramat Tejani is the heart behind The Inspiration Box, which is creating spaces online and offline to encourage people to keep growing through the good and the bad times that life can throw at us. Ramat is known as the Chief Encouragement Officer and wants The Inspiration Box to act as your pocket cheerleader whatever stage of life you are at. Her experience across a variety of sectors including technology, education, recruitment, charity and design has helped her develop a unique understanding of the best way to tell stories. Ramat helps individuals and businesses to understand how best to share their stories.

The project was funded and supported by:

The Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of the UK Research Initiative

University for the Creative Arts

MPB Cameras

The Rotary Club of Bradford Bronte

North Edinburgh Arts

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