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media4me - Charlotte creates a book

The m4me project with Traveller families resulted in a wide range of media including videos, photo displays and photostories - and even a book. That project is described here.

Who Took Part

One of the media4me participants, Charlotte Smith. Digital Voice organiser Olwyn Hocking said: "This was totally Charlotte's idea – after a workshop on photography, she decided to take it further and shoot pictures around the Gateshead site where her family lives."

Purpose

Charlotte decided to shoot her photos to express her views on improvements which could be made to the site where her family has lived for many years. She wanted to pass these on to decision-makers.

What Happened

Her work was so outstanding that her photo mentor Robin Cowings suggested that she make a short book.

Robin worked with her to create four photo-montages and to select other pictures for full page spreads and the front and back covers. He then arranged for the book production – two weeks later, fifteen copies arrived!

Results

The hard-backed book - "Bash Bang Kids: safe as houses?" - contains dozens of colour photos and Charlotte's words.

Her introduction said: "Three years ago I wrote to the council to ask for improvements. Some went ahead - like the playground changes. But proposals (like the litter bin) did not.

"I used a Fuji Finepix s8000 to capture images as evidence. This is my home. We do all try to keep it clean but we do need help."

Sharing the Results with Others

The book was presented to Gateshead's housing department and to participating schools, at an event to mark the culmination of the project. In return Charlotte received her own copy from the Deputy Mayor. Her work won further recognition with a special award presented at school.

Charlotte with the Deputy Mayor

Benefits for Participants

The project demonstrated that it is worth communicating our concerns, drawing on a range of media skills. The result was that a wide range of influential people heard the messages and can now act on them. There was praise for Charlotte for being prepared to do so much to make a difference for her local environment. She has of course developed her photography skills and seen the book production process from start to finish.

Client and/or Funder

Awards for All logo

The media4me project was funded by Awards for All; the William Handley Trust; and the Roy and Pixie Baker Charitable Trust.

Who Else Would Benefit from this sort of Project?

Photography combined with words are a powerful way to communicate a message. Turning them into a book is more expensive than, say, producing a flyer or brochure, or a webpage, but on this occasion the quality of the photographs was so good that a high-colour hard-backed book was the ideal way to capture them and protect them from damage.

How to Find Out More

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