The University of Portsmouth, Faculty of Creative and Cultural industries PONToon Team were invited to attend Aspex Gallery to take a closer look at the workshops, which are now underway for the PONToon Project.
The workshops are the first real trial in the project for the women and for Aspex gallery. The report below was written by Kevin Rousset, a French Intern student from Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, on his experience of the first PONToon workshop.
The photography workshop kicked off with a brief introduction to what would happen in the event and how the workshops will develop over the next few months. We started with introductions from both the women, the artist leading the workshop and our French intern, Kevin Rousset. This informal introduction relaxed the women, encouraged sharing, equality and launched the beneficiaries into the core of the project.
The leading artist, a filmmaker – Linda Mason provided digital camera equipment for the women to use within the workshop. This enabled the women to experience the cameras and film equipment first hand and to get used to the different digital tools at their disposal.
First of all, they had to take some pictures outside, in order to make them feel at ease with their creativity and to develop ideas at the same time. Bearing in mind that each photo could become a “great” photo, or art piece. Apsex staff made the women feel comfortable and you could see everyone beginning to bond.
Throughout the various activities, the women had access to a map, to show and talk about their home countries, which also added to the participatory atmosphere of these women from different backgrounds.
A short presentation on social media, was introduced, and how the beneficiaries could find the information about the PONToon project, track their progresses, and the results of the various activities they’re going to be involved in. Understandably it was difficult for some to grasp how the technology worked, however everyone was involved and willing to learn.
To conclude, Lynda explained a specific photography technique, “Rules of third”. Again, it was a little bit too specific for some of them, but they were very happy to understand what is behind these compositional skills, and how they could apply it to their future professional and personal lives in photographic form.
To close, all participants were asked to give opinions and feelings about this first workshop, and the feedback was extremely positive. Every woman seemed very involved, and said that they wanted to come back to the next session. They understood the importance of being a group, creating a small community that could help each other in their everyday tasks. It even appeared that in this short time of 4 hours, lot of them almost already become friends.
They also understood the meaning of knowing the different backgrounds of each other, in order to know that they were equal. The outcome was that every one of the female beneficiaries could and would progress in confidence and learn new skills.
PONToon is an Interreg 5A France (Channel) England Research project PONToon, June 2017 – November 2020, led by the University of Portsmouth UK.
PONToon (Partnership Opportunities using New Technologies fostering social and economic inclusion) aims to foster female social inclusion via the use of digital and creative technologies.
To learn more about the workshops being run by Aspex Gallery please contact PONToon Project Coordinator at Aspex, Vivian Chinasa Ezugha at firstname.lastname@example.org