The 14th-20th June 2010 is Refugee Week and I was proud to be part of the activities at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, exploring the experiences and raising awareness of asylum seekers in the UK.
I was drafted in to provide event photography support for an all-day drama workshop hosted by Ice & Fire, a theatre company who “explore human rights stories through performance.”
Through the story of ‘David’ a refugee from Darfur, Ice & Fire used drama techniques like thought tracking and short improvised performance to help a local school relive David’s experiences. They also used sculptures to represent a relationship between David and the strange environment around him.
Ice & Fire were enthusiastic, upbeat and patient mentors for the drama students who, although sometimes reticent to come out of their teenage shells (but who wasn’t at that age?), soon got into the spirit of the workshop.
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David’s story was acted out in role-plays: first happy at home in a Darfur village, next fleeing for his life. Along the way he encountered human trafficking ending up bewildered sleeping on the streets of England at odds with our culture and state agencies like the Home Office and Police.
With rapid changes in setting, harsh midday sun and camera-shy teens, this was probably one of the trickiest assignments I’ve undertaken for Yorkshire Sculpture Park so far. It called for adaptive shooting techniques, my sharp eye for action and cunning stealth: hugging the scenery to take discreet natural photos.
The photographs should give testament to an interesting and engaging day with a serious underlying humanitarian message: that of our duty to respond to the plea of those in danger and to offer them their fundamental rights to shelter and protection.