Reclaim Photography Festival, West Midlands, is delighted to announce a special collaboration with Dudley Council’s -Family Solutions Team and St Basils charity.

Festival organiser Maxine Watts said, “The Festival is committed to encouraging involvement from young people, particularly those most disadvantaged, and to developing partnerships with the community. So we were pleased to work with regional photographer Carl Hopley to create these special projects, culminating in an exhibition at the John Lewis Community Hub, Grand Central, Birmingham.

These two special photography projects offered children and young people the opportunity to record A Day in the Life… Hear Me… See Me… and to respond to this year’s Festival theme Reclaiming Our Cultural Landscapes.

Amanda Grove, Lead for Youth and Community – Family Solutions said, “There are many ways that a person’s experience, ideas and concerns can be heard other than by listening to their speech. Visual images, in particular photography, can provide powerful snap shots of life as it is happening and capture the wider emotions and context. We are really pleased that young people looked after and care leavers from Dudley, have been able to take part in this project in order to share a part of their life with those viewing the exhibition.”

Photographer Carl Hopley said, “It was an honour to work with these youngsters, who demonstrated independent thinking and ideas development. I was most impressed with how they drew on their personal life experiences and observations to create quite thought provoking artwork through the medium of photography.”

Maxine Watts added, “It was a privilege to collaborate with young people looked after and care leavers from Dudley, during the editing session, and to curate the exhibition with them to reflect their personal experiences and to capture a day in their life.”

For this year’s Festival, photographers responded to our Festival theme, Reclaiming Our Cultural Landscapes, and to raise awareness and funds for St Basils charity. We were pleased to invite the young people at St Basils to participate through our Festival workshop.

Carl said, “I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to work with these youngsters, who truly entered into the spirit of the workshop and used the medium of photography to capture a moment from their lives; centred on a photo walk in Digbeth. Some chose a documentary approach whilst others went for a more artistic style recording abstract shape and form. For me, it was so important to demonstrate that photography, as a medium, is so inclusive, as it empowers people from all kinds of backgrounds to record what they observe and feel about the world around them”.

Barrie Hodge, Head of Fundraising at St Basils, said, “St Basils work is about giving young people a voice and so we’re really grateful to Reclaim Photography and Carl Hopley for hosting this workshop and teaching our young residents camera techniques to inject emotion and texture as a form of expression.”

This joint exhibition takes place at the John Lewis Community Hub, Grand Central, Birmingham from 22 May – 7 June 2017. The exhibition is not accessible when the Hub is in use.

This special project is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and by Dudley Council.  We would also like to thank Palm Labs, Birmingham, for their continued sponsorship and Wex Photographic for donating a Sony compact camera to our exhibition winner.

St Basils (a charity registered with the Charity Commission: 1080154)

John Lewis Community Hub Palm Laboratories Wex Photographic

Don’t miss the 2017 Festival which runs from 6 May to 7 June 2017, across the West Midlands at


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