The photographic exploration of a place involves a close attention to both the environment and the individual perceptions and experiences of the photographer. Photography helps to see the most familiar things with a new eye and to articulate subjective views, feelings or impressions.
In participatory photography projects, members of a social group or a community use photography to observe, explore and document places, issues and themselves in their own environment over a certain amount of time. How is a place changing? How do I perceive myself and my identity in relation to an environment? What do I like/dislike about my neighborhood? What should be changed?
In this creative process, participants learn how to translate their experiences and thoughts into images. Afterwards, the photographs are discussed and analyzed by the group and may also be published or exhibited to tell stories and share knowledge.
Walking is an immersive and multisensory form of bodily movement. While we walk, our bodies engage with the surrounding space and we intimately sense, perceive and think a place.
A shared walk means simply to walk together in small groups or in pairs to explore certain characteristics of public space which we usually overlook while rushing from A to B in everyday life. A shared walk may be dedicated to a wide range of topics, for example: How does a place smells or sounds? What is allowed or forbidden? How do I relate to the architecture / green spaces / social spaces? Do I feel comfortable where I walk?
During the walk, participants collect impressions and observations in public space. Those experiences are recorded by the participants with the help of short written notes, sketches, maps and photographs. After the walk, the participants share and analyze their experiences within the group.
The Space Lab is temporary and nomadic. It comes to life in an urban community, a school or a cultural institution and always collaborates with local people who are the co-researchers. Since participatory photography and shared walks cross the boundaries of artistic practice, education and arts-based research, they might, for example, take place in arts education, community art projects or participatory urbanism.
The Space Lab is run by artist, researcher and educator Dr. Sandra Köstler and is always open for new collaborations. All projects are carefully developed to meet the needs and objectives of the participating people and groups. For further information, please get in touch: contact (at) sandrakoestler.de