Partnering with after school program LiveWires (co-ordinated by Concern Australia), we held a photography competition, to encourage the residents of the Collingwood estate to think creatively about sustainability and the environment around them. A workshop was hosted by our own Hannah Smith and Alice Sainsbury, with the help of professional photographer Dale van Iersel and LiveWires volunteers.
Cameras were distributed to the children and they were encouraged to think outside the box in terms of their environment and to communicate their ideas through film photography. Links were made with a Kodak retailer to recycle the single-use camera casings and batteries.
A judging panel made up of staff from LiveWires, the Collingwood Community Information Centre, Department of Human Services and Environment Victoria’s GreenTown Collingwood Community Consultant viewed the images and voted on their favourites. A top three was announced, of whom the winner received a digital camera donated by FujiFilm at a presentation in a LiveWires session.
For the second stage of the project, the display and launch, the top twelve photos were enlarged and framed using recycled timber from a local Collingwood source. A launch was held at the Neighbourhood House Youth Centre on the 30th October 2012. Included was a special display of photographer Dale van Iersel’s snapshots of the workshop.
The frames were presented to the participants along with gift bags containing cameras, sustainability stickers and products, including a water bottle and shower timer. The artwork was exhibited in the Collingwood Neighbourhood House until March 2013, and then placed on a six-month display at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre. After this, in September 2013, they were handed over permanently for the children to own.
Sustainable Living Project Officer Alice Sainsbury says, “We hope these wonderful photos have given the children a sense of pride in their immediate surroundings, and engaged them in a deep way on their attitudes to their environment.”