The Brighton Photography Biennial opens this Friday, running from October 3rd – Nov 2nd. This year the festival widens the act of curation within a framework of 'Communities, Collectives and Collaboration', more info here: http://bpb.org.uk/2014/
I was one of 4 photographers commissioned by Photoworks and Brighton & Hove Libraries to make work in response to the theme, 'How Individuals Make Society Change', http://bpb.org.uk/2014/event/evolving-in-conversation/
In the run up to this Friday's opening I'm going to show a small taster of some of the work on this blog, including some behind the scenes shots that didn't make the final edit.
My initial idea was to create a set of photographs portraying young people who had spoken out on issues of both personal and community importance, the series has the working title of 'Young Advocates'.
The images above are of Muna Hassan, shot at Spike Island, Bristol. I made contact with Muna through Integrate, a Bristol based Charity formed to help with the integration of young people and children who have arrived from other countries and cultures, and who also campaign against all forms of Violence and Abuse Against Women and Girls, (VAAWG), promoting gender equality.
Muna who was born in Somalia and came to Bristol from Sweden in 2003, is baffled as to why the government does not do more to stop FGM. About 20,000 children are at risk of FGM in the UK each year. Interviewed by Sue Lloyd Roberts on BBBC's Newsnight in 2012, Muna said;
"What would you do if the girl had blue eyes and blonde hair? Would FGM still be carrying on in the UK?"
"They are so terrified and they are using cultural sensitivity as a barrier to stop them from really doing anything.
Asked if she had a message for David Cameron?
"Yes," she said, "Grow a pair and do something about FGM.”
"And if you can't handle the issue then there is no point in you doing your job."
See more of the interview here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18931460
Since the interview, Integrate have been at the forefront of campaigning on FGM awareness, generating a petition with over 200,000 signatures, calling then Education Secretary, Michael Gove to write to every head teacher in the UK, to ensure FGM awareness was addressed in Primary and Secondary schools.
See more of the campaign here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/05/british-girl-guardian-campaign-end-female-genital-mutilation-fgm
Find out more about the work of Integrate at: http://integratebristol.org.uk/