At the end of 2011, the Citizenship Foundation worked with The Photographer’s Gallery and photographer Othello De’Souza-Hartley to deliver a series of workshops on portrait photography and cultural sensitivity in eight London primary and secondary schools.
The young people who took part in the sessions learnt about different issues relating to culture and diversity, and how to produce a culturally-sensitive portrait photograph. They then worked together to produce their own portrait.
Delivering the workshops was great fun – the students we worked with really embraced the opportunity to work with a photographer and to learn about the wider issues around taking portrait photographs alongside composition. We captured some brilliant culturally sensitive portraits, and participants thought very carefully about how they were capturing their subject’s culture and identity.
For me, it was an opportunity to do something completely different to anything I’d done before. I taught Citizenship in a secondary school, and have asked students to take photographs when looking at issues in their communities – but I’d never asked students to take portraits and think about their identity before.
This work was part of a wider project called The World in London, a major public art project. Over the last two years, the Photographer’s Gallery have commissioned 204 photographic portraits of 204 Londoners, all of whom originate from one of the nations competing in at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The portraits are being exhibited at Victoria Park during the Games. Artists include Juergen Teller, Mary McCartney and Othello De’Souza-Hartley.
In the autumn, a printed publication called Picturing People: inclusive portrait photography projects in schools will be available with ideas on how teachers can develop and run their own workshops with students about portrait photography and cultural sensitivity. These will be available free of charge on request, and will link to the Citizenship and Art curricular, as well as into photography examination courses. You’ll be able to get them from the education department at the Photographer’s Gallery.
The schools that took part in the workshops were:
- Copthall School, Barnet
- Corelli College, Greenwich
- Dunraven School, Lambeth
- Hendon School, Barnet
- Lauriston Primary School, Hackney
- Southmead Primary School, Wandsworth
- St. Aloysius’ Catholic Infant School, Camden
- Torriano Juniors School, Camden