GLS, Community, Students

Graduate Liberal Studies student, Shawk Alani, organizes photography workshop for Syrian refugee children

August 17, 2016

As reported in The Tyee and SFU News

In early August, 2016, Graduate Liberal Studies masters student Shawk Alani organized The Photography Summer School, a series of workshops for Syrian children who have recently arrived in Vancouver. Alani’s workshops aim at teaching children to use cameras and visual arts to represent stories of their lives and experiences. Alani came to Canada from Iraq and says the motivation for organizing such workshops is to empower young people who come to Canada from other countries to tell their own stories. “I just see that our stories as people who come to Vancouver from different places, they’re taken by other people and told in different ways,” says Alani, “I really want the younger generations to know that this is your life, and you can talk about it however you want to talk about it. And you don’t have to conform to some idea or image that people want to hear. You can say whatever you want about your story, and I think that’s really empowering.”

GLS masters student Shawk Alani with children in the workshop.

Alani is also curating a gallery show, “Capturing Our Stories: An Exhibition of Syrian Children’s Photography” at Vancouver’s Interurban Gallery (1 E Hastings St.) from August 31-September 10, 2016. As the exhibition website notes, the children are currently “in the process of documenting their everyday lives with film cameras and their next workshop will focus on art show curation, and how to effectively convey meaning by exhibiting their art creations.” Beginning August 31, "Capturing our Stories" will be open, free of charge, to the public during regular gallery hours.

Interurban Gallery Hours:

Aug 31: 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Sept 1: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sept 2: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sept 3: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sept 7: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sept 8: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sept 9: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sept 10: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM