‘I Come From a Place’ is one of a series of photographs created by The North Cambridge Girls Group. This is a group of targeted young people being supported by youth services. The girls face many challenges including mental health and teenage pregnancy.
The girls worked with social documentary photography Katherine Green, who had been commissioned by Kettle’s Yard to explore the bonds of community in north Cambridge.
Katherine worked with the girls group on a skills-share basis. They wanted to develop their skills in photography which she supported, and in return they took Katherine on walks around the area where together they documented the girls’ experiences of their community. The girls also supported Katherine as she took portraits of adult members of the community who contributed to local life and also helped Katherine to record oral histories and interviews.
The girls visited Kettle’s Yard as part of the project and met Visitor Assistants in the house and took their portraits to build their confidence before interviewing community members.
Katherine’s own practice has usually only involved older people and this was the first time that she had involved young people in creating her own work, so it has been positive for both the girls and the artist that they expanded their fields of knowledge and skills.
The girls also worked with poet Hollie McNish to create their own poems about their lives and discuss certain issues; this work informed the name of the completed artwork and exhibition.
The girls took beautiful and intimate photographs both of the local landscape, their daily experiences and portraits of local residents. They worked with Katherine to sort through the hundreds of images captured to create personal ‘print on demand’ photo books for each participant to celebrate their amazing commitment to the project.
Committing to something through to a conclusion has been a huge achievement. The girls have much deserved pride in all they have achieved, something they rarely have experienced.
(Karen Thomas, Kettle’s Yard)