New photography initiative for school children in Croydon

All Saints Primary School workshops. Pic: Whitgift Foundation

Croydon school pupils are being encouraged to explore their own unique sense of place and engage with the changing urban landscape of their borough through photography in a new project.

Capturing Croydon is a project launched by the Whitgift Foundation’s to give pupils from six schools the chance to take part in one-day, bespoke workshops throughout March.

Catherine Shirley, head of marketing and communications for the Whitgift Foundation told ELL: “The workshops help the children engage with Croydon’s urban landscape in a fun way, whilst giving local schools the opportunity to teach them the basic skills of photography.”

She added: “These children are Croydon’s future, so it’s important for them to engage with and learn about their area, especially at a time when Croydon is undergoing major development and change.

“Alongside the 400-year-old buildings and new developments, we want the children to recognise the communities that have existed for generations and continue to grow. A part of the workshop is taking them through places like Surrey Street market, where they can see local businesses operate as they have done for decades and the community that has built around them.”

All Saints Primary School workshops. Pic: Whitgift Foundation

Images taken by the children at the workshops will be entered into the competition for a chance to win prizes, which include cameras and photography equipment.

The workshops will be led by award winning architectural photographer Richard Chivers and Dr Paula Owens, BBC geography advisor and Cantebury University Research Fellow.

The one-day workshop will begin at the school in which the children will learn different photographic techniques.

The second part of the day is in Croydon taking photos in three to four different locations. Richard Chivers told ELL: “Before the children take a photograph, we get them to write a Haiku poem, this gets them thinking about individual words that describe how they feel about the place.”

The final part of the day involves editing the photos they have taken, choosing five of their favourite photos.

Chivers added: “It’s great to be able to pass my knowledge to the children and hopefully inspire them to take photos and to look at their own surroundings in a different way.

“Having children, myself, I was always frustrated that they didn’t get many chances to get out of school and explore the world around them, as I believe this experience is vital for their education. So, an opportunity like this for the children in Croydon can only be positive.”

All Saints Primary School workshops. Pic: Whitgift Foundation

The schools taking part are:

The shortlist of 30 images will be announced on April 30 and the winner at an Award’s Ceremony at Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon on July 3.

Capturing Croydon is sponsored by the Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson PLC set to transform Croydon’s two main shopping centres Whitgift and Centrale into a world class retail and leisure destination.  The Foundation aims to provide education for the young and care for the elderly in Croydon and the surrounding areas.

Carolyn Kenney, Development Director for Hammerson said: “This is a great initiative which offers children a great opportunity to capture how they see Croydon and how important the built environment is to residents and visitors. We look forward to seeing the results and hope that this project shines a light on the up and coming creative talent within the Borough.”

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