Eva Jones: Reflections on the Queer History Now LGBTIQ+ Youth Project
For the 11-15 workshops we had two themes to work with, around Pride in Brighton and Safe Space. To start I always feel it is important to open with a conversation – have the participants share some information about themselves, unpick terminology, its meanings and what it means to us. Some of the questions we discussed were around what safe space means to us, when do we feel proud, how do you express pride, among others. It was a lovely opportunity to hear the young people reflect on their own lived experiences and to help them to build the confidence to share these in a group dynamic.
Working over zoom means our creative outcomes have to be digitally focused, using online platforms to make, share and collate work. I try to build these in as shorter smaller exercises, so the young people don’t get too tired or agitated and so there’s always an opportunity to discuss what’s been made.
In one of our sessions Ellie my co – facilitator lead an exercise using Canva, an online platform to create posters, we made memes, bringing together stock imagery and text to public and the personal and how memes can be a useful and playful tool to communicate our experiences.
I also feel it is important to recognize that the digital space (zoom room) as a conduit for being together so I also make sure to encourage the building of creative/photographic skills whilst utilizing the Zoom camera.
Some examples of this include sharing Photographic artists working with themes around LGBTQ+ experience and discussing their working methods – we looked at Sunil Gupta’s project From Here to Eternity. We discussed what photographic techniques (composition, location,text, props) he employed to document the changing face of Dehli’s LGBTQ+ community. We then used these techniques to work with objects and items and the zoom camera in our own environments in order to convey a certain emotion, from happy, safe to strange or content.
I draw from my practice as an artist to plan and facilitate workshops. I am very interested in how we inhabit spaces, environments and the dialogues and exchanges that take place there, a lot of my work is a lot about belonging, encounter and about understanding my place in the world.
I really believe creativity is such an important way for the Queer community to come together, as photography can provide such a valuable way to tell a story and to help others understand our own personal experiences and how feel about ourselves. It can provide a visual record of the places we live in, time spent with family, friends and carers, in nature, at school or at home.