Community Blog Post | Wellington Barracks
This July Photofusion partnered with SW Connects to set up a pop-up workshop for military men and women and their families at the Wellington Barracks in Central Westminster. Photofusion member, Andy Barker and Photoufsion’s Community Programme Manager Lizzy King, worked with Leah Whittingham of SW Connects to capture many faces and warmth of the Army.
Shannon Grey (17) is a long-time participant on Photoufsion’s community programmes attended the Wellington Barracks Pop-Up workshop as part of her work experience here at Photofusion. Here is what Shannon noted from the day:
The original plans for the shoot were aimed at offering a fun and engaging way for military families to work with local arts organisations to work with military families and the wider community. During the course of the day the Photofusion team were drawn to the tight running of the army, where smiles for the camera were few and far between. Through the eyes of a civilian the initial interactions between the service men and women seemed controlled and official during the shoot, but nonetheless it was the personalities captured off camera that gained the adoration from everyone involved in the workshop. Their charm and vibrancy outshone the preconceived ideas of gore and bore. In showing a side not brought out from green camouflage suits and overwhelming bearskin hats, they showed that the army is not lacking in warmth and liveliness, but simply camouflages it to allow their fierce image to be maintained.
SW Connects formed through the partnership of the Wellington Barracks, The Abbey Centre, Westminster Adult Education Service, Westminster Council and many other local organizations with the aspiring aims centered around the building of a ‘closer relationship between the armed forces families and the surrounding community in Westminster. To aid this they have organised a variety of events and workshops that focus on improving the amount of interaction between the army personnel and families within the community.
Being a continuation from the pop up workshop on SouthWest Fest Gala day, images from both events will be showcased in numerous libraries around London as well as in City Hall. These images will highlight the strong and diverse community hidden to the Westminster area.