Waiting: pictures by young homeless people

Taken by Docherty

Did you know that there are over 10,000 homeless young people, aged 16 to 24 in Scotland? No, me neither. That’s a small towns-worth of young people with no where that they can reasonably rely upon to provide them with shelter and security. A bunch of them have had the opportunity to document their lives in pictures, and a touring exhibition opens in Glasgow today, before trundling on to Edinburgh, Dundee, and Stirling.

They weren’t just handed a camera and sent on their ways, though. First they went on a residential course, led by photographers Brian Sweeney and Christina Kernohan, next they attended two classes every week for six weeks. Then they created photo essays of their lives, which they had the opportunity to present to students and staff at the Glasgow School of Art. Now, their pictures are on public display.

You can see them at the Braehead Shopping Centre in Glasgow between today and 28 March, and then at Maryhill Library, Glasgow until 4 April before going on tour. Look closely, and you might see them on the Glasgow underground, too.

The project was a collaboration between Photovoice, a charity that seeks to give people who are usually the subject of photos the opportunity to take them, and Fairbridge, an organisation that supports young Scottish people who are somehow disengaged, perhaps through homelessness, substance misuse, or a history of offending, to make positive changes to their lives.

Many of the young people have said how it has given them confidence, as well as a new skill and something to build on. But I think that Gemma Cochrane, one the young people on the course, sums it best: ‘…it makes you see things from a different perspective.’ Same goes for all of us, Gemma.

Waiting is showing across Scotland from 18 March to end of August 2011:

  • 18 to 28 March, Braehead Shopping Centre, Glasgow
  • 29 March to 4 April, Maryhill Library, Glasgow
  • 6 to 17 April, Edinburgh Room, Central Library, Edinburgh
  • 26 April to 8 May, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee
  • 16 May to August, one week tour of each library in Stirling