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Photography used to address stigma of addiction and homelessness

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A charity and a social enterprise teamed up to dispel the negative labels surrounding those who are homeless or struggling with addiction

Striking images which address stigma around addiction have been used to create an art display

Students of Turning Point’s citizenship programme are challenging misconceptions around addiction and homelessness by sharing their stories with a powerful photographic exhibition.

Inclusive Images, a social enterprise dedicated to giving individuals and groups a voice via the medium of photography, ran an eight-week Community Voice photography project entitled Reclaiming Identity as part of the charity’s programme.

The aim of the project was to help dispel the negative labels and stigma that is too often associated with addiction and homelessness.

Topics discussed varied from What is Identity?, to Community and Your Role In It, and What is Normal?

Each week the students discussed aspects of reclaiming their identity they then interpreted this by taking photos inspired by their discussions.

At the end of the project the participants selected their favourite images adding captions taken from their weekly debates.

And the final result was a powerful photographic exhibition showcased at Turning Point’s citizenship graduation ceremony.

Karen Black, citizens development officer at Turning Point, said: “The Reclaiming Identity workshops were an ideal way to incorporate a creative component into our Connecting Citizens programme.”

Phil, one of the participants on the project speaking on behalf of the group, said: “It was fun, it was relaxing, we had a laugh, but there was a serious side to the workshops.

“They got you looking within yourself, it got you thinking and it made you so proud at the end, at the graduation seeing all the pictures displayed it got you thinking about the photos again and what they represented.”

Charlie Sherry, founder of Inclusive Images, said the social enterprise was delighted with the success of the workshops and are hopeful that the Reclaiming Identity project will be incorporated in future citizenship programmes run by Turning Point.

He said: “Something quite special happens in our workshops – it’s hard to explain – but once people get behind the camera they seem to find a whole new way of expressing themselves which makes them feel comfortable to share their experiences and reflect on how their lives are changing.”



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