February marked the beginning of creative:together a new LGBT Youth Creative Arts Programme developed by Create in partnership with METRO Charity and international law firm Ashurst. Over the next few months we are running four sets of creative workshops for young LGBT people who attend METRO Charity’s youth groups led by our professional photographer, musician, actor and visual artist.
The project was launched in February with workshops led by our professional photographer Tracey Fahy, who worked with a group of METRO’s youth group members supported by Ashurst volunteers. Exploring diversity, alternative family models and relationships, the young people experimented with portraiture – looking at both themselves and each other – to explore identities within the group through photography. For inspiration we took them first to Islington Museum’s current exhibition ‘Twilight People: Stories of Faith and Gender Beyond the Binary’ and then on an LGBT walk around Soho.
A study undertaken by the LGBT Foundation found that more than half of students have witnessed homophobic bullying in school while Public Health England has reported that LGBT young people are at greater risk of becoming socially isolated because of their sexual identity. Through our new creative:together programme, we are offering young LGBT people the opportunity to develop friendships and strengthen their support network by taking part in collaborative creative workshops. These provide a space in which difference is celebrated, discrimination is countered and positive wellbeing is a collective goal.
Daniel (not his real name), who took part in the photography workshops, commented, “The arts can be quite therapeutic. They can also help us express ourselves through identity and can help us find ourselves too. Art, drama, public expression, they all contribute to the whole social attitude towards the LGBT community and it’s just better to keep it in the light rather than in the shadows all the time. Projects like this not only strengthen the pathways of our own education mentally and creatively, but they also allow us to branch out to others and communicate, connecting with new people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet in the immediate community that you live in.”
These are some of the portraits that the young people produced.