This is the main organisation in the UK working with refugees
and asylum seekers. It offers advice, support and training
to refugees, and is also one of the main campaigning voices
for refugees’ and asylum seekers’ rights. The
Brixton branch of the Refugee Council runs a weekly drop-in
evening for young unaccompanied refugees, which is where this
course took place.
Satellite TV station MTV has an annual initiative
to encourage its employees to take part in voluntary work
to benefit the community. As part of this initiative, MTV
funded this course, and also allowed some of their employees
to take time off work to take part as volunteers. This enabled
us to have a really high ratio of volunteer helpers to participants,
and ensure that all the participants could get individual
help and attention; it also enabled us to help with language
barriers by having French-speaking volunteers from MTV on
hand to translate, which was useful because many of the participants
were French speakers.This course was funded by MTV
Refugees’ Photography Course
This was a 3-session course in camera and art skills aimed
specifically at young, unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers
who attend the Refugee Council’s Brixton drop-in on
Tuesday evenings. The course took place during the drop-in
itself, from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesdays.
The participants were young refugees and asylum seekers from
all over the world, most of whom had not been in England very
long. Some had secured college/school places, but some are
still waiting. Most speak at least some English; the most
common language after English was French, so Zoom In and MTV
recruited a team of French-speaking volunteers to help out.
Participants learned how to use an SLR camera, and produced
portrait images of each other, taking a creative approach
to the idea of what a ‘portrait’ is, and playing
with different angles and lighting to create different effects.
They then created collage from the photos they had produced.
Finally, they went out in small groups to take street portraits
of passers by in Brixton, asking their models for comments
on what they thought of Brixton. The resulting portraits were
displayed at (where?) The collages and some of the images
from the first session were displayed (at the Refugee Council?)