Ilford: Photography workshops in collaboration with the Sikh Community Care Project

In spring 2019, in collaboration with Redbridge’s Women’s Forum, we ran a series of photography workshops at the Sikh Community Care Project in Ilford.

The aim of this collaboration was to offer participants the opportunity to develop their photographic skills and, through the process of playing around with cameras and the resulting images, to initiate conversations about their relationship with their local spaces and places over time. We wanted to know how this group of ladies saw themselves as belonging to a place, the ways in which this evolves over time, and the importance of places in the stories people tell about their lives. This is especially important where these stories involve experiences of migration and even twice migration from South Asia.  

Under the leadership of photographer Kevin Ryan (Charnwood Arts, Loughborough), participants learned how to optimise the phone cameras thanks to ad hoc techniques. Participants then used their photos (the ones taken during workshops as well as family photos) to discuss memories of migration and family memories of life in Punjab before and after Partition. Personalised photo albums were created at the end of the project.

That time, these things happened because of hatred.  It was implanted in people, like hatred about religion and culture.  It shouldn’t be there, and we had very good guidance from our parents, my father especially.  I was very young when he died.  I was ten, but I still remember he used to tell us treat everybody as a human being” 

– Workshop participant

It is very important to remember what happened and why it happened.  It happened because of ignorance, lack of knowledge among communities and the difference of religion.  That was the main aspect, that hatred about this culture, this…and everybody tried to give suffering and pain to each other, which was not needed.  […] You can sit, have a dialogue, talk to each other ” 

– Workshop participant