Photographs and writing created by members of the Deptford Reach community have gone on display at Deptford Lounge, as part of a project with arts charity Create.
Participants created the artwork as part of a 12-week project run by Create, and funded by the Deptford Challenge Trust. Guided by two professional artists, photographer Alicia Clarke and writer James Baldwin, the members of Deptford Reach explored a variety of photographic techniques (including reportage and still-life) and writing styles (including monologues and short stories) in order to express themselves and find their voice.
The resulting artworks are now on public display in the windows at Deptford Lounge until the New Year, and can be seen for free by passers-by.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of the workshops,” said one of the participants. “I like to do different things with my mind, like using the camera, writing and all that. I enjoy coming here to do it because it gives me something to do instead of sitting down indoors all day doing nothing. It helps me with my mind doing different things.”
Deptford Reach’s ‘Speak With My Voice’ partnership with Create has been running 2008. The project gives vulnerable adults the opportunity to work creatively with professional artists and one another, using photography and creative writing to break down barriers, build relationships and trust, reduce isolation, enhance self-confidence and self-esteem, and have fun.
Nicky Goulder, founding chief executive at Create, said: “This important project gives vulnerable adults the opportunity to work creatively with our professional artists and one another, using photography and creative writing to break down barriers, build relationships and trust, reduce isolation, enhance self-confidence and self-esteem, and have fun. Never has this work been more important, at a time when everyone has experienced increased isolation, and it has been a privilege to enable these participants to express themselves and enhance their wellbeing over the past few months. I hope everyone enjoys the exhibition, which demonstrates their talent so wonderfully.”
Jordan McTigue, lead manager at Deptford Reach, said: “This year has seen our work at Deptford Reach look quite different. While we usually operate as a day centre, we are now providing a floating support service to ensure vulnerable people in the community are not further isolated by the pandemic. Taking part in creative projects is something we know is incredibly beneficial, and well received, towards mental wellbeing, and we’re really pleased that this exhibition with Create is taking place at the heart of the community.”
Alicia Clarke, Create photographer, said: “It has been my pleasure to facilitate photography workshops with attendees of Deptford Reach. Taking inspiration from some famous photographers’ work, and discussing the meaning behind images, were key parts of our workshops, and it was so inspiring to then see the world interpreted through the eyes of the participants. There were lots of diverse interests within the group and I feel that everyone found ways to express themselves, and to enjoy the work of their peers. We had so much fun!”
James Baldwin, Create writer, said: “The group chose to focus on screenwriting and adaptation, speech writing and rhetoric, monologues for theatre, poetry and song, and short stories. Across this display you’ll find the pieces of work that each writer feels represents their voice best. Like a photograph captures a single moment in time, the writer’s writing captures them on that day, in that mood, with those thoughts. A literary snapshot documenting unusual times.”