Craven Museum and Gallery is opening an exhibition ‘Stepping into View’ displaying photographs taken by a local group of adults with learning disabilities, detailing everyday life in Skipton.
The exhibition opening Saturday 4th February comes from a collaboration between Stepping Stones, Craven College and Craven Museum and Gallery and will be displayed in the exhibition gallery based in Skipton Town Hall, running until the end of March. The exhibition will consist of a series of social-documentary style photographs detailing life in Skipton. Those who took part in the project range in age from 20 to over 60 years old.
Stepping Stones, originally an extension of learning disability day services, has steadily built recognition for their horticultural work at the Aireville Nursery site they moved to in 2006. The service looks to build confidence and independence of local adults accessing the project through constructive activities such as gardening. Ten individuals from Stepping Stones participated in the photography project which had been developed through the desire to offer a new creative experience to the group, along with the opportunity to learn new skills in a different area.
The project drew upon the recent Mencap photography campaign by Rankin titled ‘Here I am’, which looked to challenge stereotypes around learning disabilities, instead trying to capture each individual, showing both their personality and identity. This project goes further and also encourages the participant artists to show their individualism through the creative process.
The exhibition is the culmination of sessions funded by Craven College, where the students, some of whom had never used a camera before, came together to provide a unique view of the local area through photography.
The workshops provided the opportunity for students to gain hands-on, practical experience and were supported by tuition covering a range of techniques, ideas and inspiration from studying other photographers work. The project has been a great success and further empowered users of the service, building upon the success of their work at the nursery.
Kara Seremwe, Stepping Stones operations manager, was approached with the idea for the project by Craven College and photography tutor Julie Baugh. Together they formed the idea of using photography as a bridge between the students and their local community, as well as a means to explore identity and build confidence.
Kara commented, “using the camera has given the group a voice and tool to interpret their surroundings in a creative and meaningful way”.
“The images have really captured the warmth and compassion of the people the group approached in and around Skipton”.
Megan Hickes, Museum Resilience project officer based at Skipton Town Hall, is working to bring the new exhibition to the gallery space “As we continue to develop and attract new exhibitions in the gallery, working with Stepping Stones has been very exciting.”
“After joining the group on their last photography session recently, it was really interesting to see the students at work and their excitement at having their pieces displayed in Skipton Town Hall for the rest of the community to enjoy”.
During the sessions, quotes were gathered from the students, which will appear alongside their artist portraits in the exhibition, such as: “ I really enjoyed photographing people in Skipton and it was nice to meet new people.” And “My confidence has grown using the camera, it’s really nice to show everyone what we can do”.
The ‘Stepping into View’ exhibition is a joint initiative between Craven Museum & Gallery and Stepping Stones and has been funded by the Arts Council England Museum’s Resilience Fund, as part of the museum’s Museum: Indispensable project. The 20 week project was funded by Craven College, allocated from their Community Learning Funding. This enabled equipment to be bought and a photography tutor (Julie Baugh) to be hired to facilitate the workshops.
‘Stepping into View’ will open to the public Saturday 4th February and will run until the end of March at Craven Exhibition Gallery in Skipton Town Hall, and is open every day except Sundays, 10am – 4pm, admission is free.