Investment theme: Building skills and confidence, Building social networks
How the Women’s Fund helped Women in Focus
Women in Focus (Wifie) is an independent photography group for women living in and around Edinburgh. The club has 13 paying members, some of whom have been at the club for over 10 years. There is no entry level to join the group. All women come from various backgrounds and are aged from mid-20’s upwards. The group meet to participate in workshops and visit and take part in exhibitions. As a group they are able to discuss ideas and the background to the work produced.
The grant of £1,663.00 made by the Women’s Fund contributed the cost of the workshops. Workshops are taught by the women themselves who are confident enough in a particular area of photography to share their skills. Previous topics of workshops include photoshop, preparing images for print, digital prints and still photos. The grant also made it possible for Women in Focus to hold an exhibition for International Women’s Day 2015. The group came to the decision that the theme will be Her Voice: Make a difference, make it happen. Possible topics under this theme will be Women in Sport, Mother and Daughter relationships and Race for Life. Friends, family, colleges and universities, council members and women’s charities are all formally invited as well as the exhibition being open to the public.
Progress made by Women in Focus
The aim was for Women in Focus to be more than just a club. Women in Focus has now progressed into a space for women to come together. By introducing the small membership fee the group have been able to take group trips, for example to Jupiter Artland, to further their learning. The women themselves have grown and advanced as photographers by the practice, workshops and experience and some have been offered money for their photographs.
As the group have acquired more funding they are showing at another exhibition this year at the Fine Art Library. The theme for this exhibit is Anti Trafficking. Receiving funding from the Women’s Fund made it possible for these exhibits to happen otherwise the women would only have been able to showcase their work once every two years.
How Women in Focus helps women
Any woman is welcome along to Women in Focus.
“Lovely to be a woman who is not in a specific box and just a woman interested in photography.”
The group has become a “friendly and supportive environment” and an opportunity for women to build social networks. Many of the women have built friendships from the group. “Relaxed environment- good to have no expectations of you”
“I moved to Edinburgh and did not know anyone, it was good to meet women with the same interest.”
The women work as part of a team to participate in the exhibits by sharing the responsibilities such as creating advertising posters, making invitations and helping hang the photos for one another if some cannot do it themselves. Workshops taught by the women help build new skills and many individuals may not have been able to afford a professional workshop therefore would have missed out on these skills. The group also has a Digital SLR camera which members who don’t have their own camera or cannot afford one can borrow to use.
Showcasing their artwork boosts confidence in the women and help them feel as if they are supporting a cause. Raising awareness of women’s issues through their photography is one of the groups priorities. Previous themes of exhibition have been Body Image and Blind Justice which supported the end of violence against women.
Being part of Women in Focus will benefit the women individually but their work will also benefit the women learning about issues shown in their photos and some who have been affected by these issues may find some peace on other women joining together to raise awareness.
If you’d like to know more about making a donation to support organisations like Women in Focus, via the Women’s Fund for Scotland please get in touch with Shona Blakeley, Development Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 524 0353.