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Home Is Where My Heart Is

Youth In The Street - Image by Kayla, mentored by Jessica Sorci
Youth In The Street – Image by Kayla, mentored by Jessica Sorci

For the past seven years, Home Is Where My Heart Is has teamed photographers with young people who have endured homelessness in order to help them tell their stories. We spoke with Ashlee Giblett of Propel Youth Arts WA about the project.

Home Is Where My Heart Is is a unique photographic mentorship and exhibition program that partners emerging photographers with young people who have experienced homelessness,” Giblett explains. “The photographers work with the young people over a few sessions to teach them photography skills and also about how to tell a story and capture emotion through images. The outcome of the mentorship is a series of photographs that captures the young person’s interpretation of what home means to them. Their works are then available to purchase by visitors to the exhibition, with funds being directed into coordinating the project for the future.”

Over the course of its existence, the Home Is Where My Heart Is project has positively affected a huge number of lives. “We’ve estimated that over the past seven years there have been approximately 150 young people directly involved as either participants or photography mentors, and also hundreds more young people who have been involved by visiting the exhibition, engaging in the activities or assisting with the program. On average we have five to 15 young people participate each year in the program and they are each partnered up with their own photographer.”

Young people are connected with the program through youth service providers. “YACWA reaches out to the providers to find young people who would be interested. Those wanting to be a part of the program are then put forward. Propel Youth Arts WA have an open call-out every year looking for young emerging photographers who want to be involved as mentors. The application process consists of a simple EOI form where photographers provide details about their skills and experience. We have an overwhelming number of photographers apply each year, however, unfortunately we are not always able to pair all of them up with a young person, but it is great to see there is a such a strong interest from them to be involved.”

Giblett is especially proud of the positive effect that the project has had on its young participants. “They walk away with a sense of pride, self-confidence and self-worth. Not only are they having the opportunity to express themselves, but they are building relationships, developing new skills, and engaging with their local community. Their faces are always filled with such joy and gratification when they see their images hanging on the walls at the exhibition.”

TRAVIS JOHNSON

The Home Is Where My Heart Is Exhibition 2014 is on at The Hive Creative Arts Space from August 7 – 17. Go to homeiswheremyheartis.org for full details.

 

 

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