As part of STIRE, photography workshops were organised in Austria, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Romania and Slovenia. The goal of these workshops were to give refugees and migrants a means for self-expression which overcame language barriers associated with settling in a new country, encouraged creativity, developed new skills and empowered those participating to share their unique stories. In this sense, photography is seen as a tool for emancipation.
Furthermore, the images captured by participants were designed to be shared with the local communities via exhibitions. The purpose of this was to share the images taken and provide context in relation to the motives and stories behind both the images and the persons taking them. This provokes thoughtful reflection by the audience, promotes dialogue and exchange between artist and audience and fosters the development of mutual understanding.
Each partner organisation of the project was given the freedom to choose the themes and processes which suited their context and needs of their participants.
There were some universal topics covered especially in relation to the technical aspects of photography.
In each country, we tried to create a safe and fun environment where participants could learn from professionals and from each other.
When the workshops were completed, the participants selected their images with the help of the facilitator who helped with the editing and preparation.
The photos were then chosen and displayed at exhibitions. Here is an example from the Slovenian workshops.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, some countries were required to offer the workshops in an online format. Although the nature of the workshops changed, the motivation to take part was still very high.
Great thanks must be given to the professional photographers who facilitated this process as well as translators and project staff. Perhaps the greatest gratitude should be given to the participants who demonstrated creativity, openness to learn and the bravery to share their stories.
The final product of the participants work can be found on our STIRE Online Gallery.