Children look at the world with kids’ eyes in marked difference to our adult perception - this applies to people, situations and all objects of their physical environment. Simply said: children have their own unique way of perceiving and interpreting the world. This program wants us to understand what really matters in the life of a primary school child?
Are there any cross-cultural differences depending on their nationality and social background? The clever use of a camera will help us to gain insight into how children aged 8 to 10 process information from their physical environment.
The program is based on an existing photo project, which is employing visual art and photography to change perceptions and reflect on prejudices. This program is committed to giving children around the world a voice, to share their unique way of perception and interpretation, giving us insight into what matters in their lives at eye level and to adopt their point of view in relation to their peers.
GEOlino-UNICEFKINDERMONITOR 2014 is exploring the question: „What matters in children’s lives?“ In this validated survey across Germany ‚FAMILY’ was the highest rated value. Money and material possessions were rated at a lower end of the spectrum. However this survey was focussed on pre-determined values. Yet we are asking: how do children proceed when they are being asked to capture on a series of photos what they value most? How do children from varying cultural backgrounds perceive and interpret the world? What are their most fundamental values? What really matters to them!?!
The idea of the project was born out of a recent photo project spanning over several weeks at a primary school in Tanzania, Africa. We both started a photo workshop in Nungwi, a small village in the north of Zanzibar. We supplied each child with their own camera and introduced them to the handling and technical aspects of using it. It was a simple camera with 27 pictures. As part of this pilot project it was our decision to use a so-called ‚instant camera’. We wanted to take advantage of their easy-use technical aspects and to keep the costs to a minimum. The limited number of 27 pictures created also a solid framework giving each child the same opportunity participating in the workshop. Simple-to-use instant cameras are providing children with an enormous scope of creative freedom without the distraction of multiple settings found in complicated digital cameras. There is another important ingredient: You cannot erase or digitally manipulate photos taken with these cameras.
Following a technical induction the children were advised to take photos of the three most important things in their lives and released for the weekend. When we started processing the photos afterwards we were surprised how differently each child had made use of their photo assignment. Yet they all shared the same unique perspective of children; each one was brilliantly fulfilling the program objectives and having fun with it.
Initially we will provide 10 camera packs to participating schools including detailed instructions and spelling out the project objectives. These packs will be sent to identified and dedicated teachers around the world, who want to become part of the program. Once the camera packs have been signed in by their teachers, the children are advised on camera use and participation of the program. Upon completing the teacher is is collecting the cameras including the photos and the packs will be returned to us free of charge. This will ensure an easy participation regime without further costs to participating schools.
Upon receivable of the cameras/pictures we will develop the photos and each and every child is getting a digital copy of their personal 27 photos. Emailing services or secure downloading facilities available in their countries will be used. As project coordinators we will also make contact with the participating teachers, inviting post-project feedback from them and offer simple means of debriefing if necessary.
This project is funded in line with the program 'Kreativität im Studium' at the Georg-August-University Göttingen, by the 'AKB foundation' - a non-profit of the Büchting family.