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Faith to Faith

Faith to Faith Faith to Faith is a pioneering photography project involving Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh teenagers from five London faith schools. Funded by the British government, it aimed to create links between schools and communities by giving young people the opportunity to learn about different religions from each other, through the medium of photography and inter-faith teamwork.

More than 45 students, aged between 14 and 16, took part in weekly sessions with professional photographers and project organisers. They studied technical skills and different forms of photography with a view to exploring the links between image and identity.

The students documented their lives and began to take photographs that reflected their views on themes like faith, community and tolerance. Once a term they met at one of the schools for a day to show each other their pictures and work in small, mixed-faith groups. The schools’ art and religious studies teachers were also encouraged to use the opportunity to collaborate together.

Spurred by debate and visits to each others’ schools, the students’ use of the medium became increasingly sophisticated. Pictures of domestic and community life – family, homes, local streets – developed into more abstract and creative images that challenge the viewer’s perceptions. Initial nervousness about meeting new people from different backgrounds gave way to a joyous relief over shared ideas, humour and pastimes, as well as common cultural beliefs. With the honesty of youth, they asked each other direct questions that adults might have shied away from and took pride in explaining religious traditions to each other.

Participating Schools: Guru Nanak Sikh School, Southall (Hillingdon), Islamia Girls’ School, Brondesbury (Camden), King Solomon High School, Ilford (Redbridge), Mount Carmel RC Technology College for Girls, Archway (Islington) and Swaminarayan School, Neasdon (Brent).

By E. Wason, an outside observer

 

The Faith to Faith images have been turned into a touring exhibition which has travelled around the country and is available to book.