Encouraging Diversity in Photography, with PhotoVoice at London Art Fair

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Shutter Hub’s Creative Development Director Karen Harvey reflects on her recent appearance at the London Art Fair where she was invited to join a panel discussion of 3 industry professionals, Chaired by Anna Fox , Professor of Photography and course leader of the MFA Photography course at University College for the Creative Arts.

 

What a fabulous day! Seriously. I got to the LAF early, wandered around, took in the exhibits, met up with Courtney from Metro Imaging, and Shutter Hub member Jayne Lloyd, drank fizzy orange and wondered.

Around 100 people piled into the room, they sat on chairs, they sat on the floor, they propped themselves up against the walls, they squeezed in. 

I got to speak first, which was probably a good idea! (If you’ve seen me talk, you will understand – it gets all the strange animal impressions out of the way!)

People smiled at me – that made me happy! They reassured me with their expressions as I spoke about my thoughts on the differences between diversity and equality, the times when I have felt unfairly treated, the ways I have dealt with this, and the things that we are doing now to open up opportunities in the industry to everyone.

Familiar faces in the audience didn’t put me off, it was actually really quite thrilling to see so many people who are Shutter Hubbers, I kept glimpsing across the room at Jayne whenever something came up in the discussion that she and I had been speaking about earlier in the day.

The balance of characters and backgrounds of the panel members was spot on. Becky at PhotoVoice had chosen us well! We worked well together, coming from different aspects but with the same goals.

Scarlett Crawford was feisty and powerful, Zelda Cheatle gentle, with collected enthusiasm, Chair Anna Fox showed a kind but firm guiding hand to us, and I was my best professional self – possibly slightly nuts!

The event ended and there was still so much to cover, discussions that will continue in different groups and circles. A lady rushed up to me and told me that I could have a sideline career as a comedian!

There was a buzz in the room. It was truly fabulous! People came up and asked if there would be more events, if I could go and talk to their photography students, if there were ways they could get more involved with Shutter Hub.

I really felt that this had been an amazing opportunity for us to reach out and connect with other likeminded people.