Since 2015 I have worked regularly with Dimensions, one the UK’s largest not-for-profit organisations providing support for people with learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour and complex needs. Visiting numerous locations across the UK, I have documented many case studies and created principle photography for their marketing and communications. I have found working with the Dimensions team particularly rewarding, as the richness of the personalities of the people they support (a full spectrum of support services from assisted independent living through to 2-1 intensive 24hr care) is not only very diverse but inspiring and enlightening in ample measure. It has also been heart warming to witness high quality and attentive care of the more vulnerable members of our society.
Earlier this summer, Dimensions Cymru invited me to collaborate on a project exploring how seemingly prosaic objects can be vitally important to people with autism and learning disabilities, because they often arrive in Dimensions’s services without many or no possessions at all. So objects that appear uninteresting or quotidian become vitally important to improving their chances of developing secure and stable lives. And, like anyone seeking a stable and healthy live force, they can begin to gather belongings and build a narrative to their lives, helping them shape their stories, experiences and self empowerment.
I photographed 26 people and the range of objects presented was immense - from car keys, darts, a Race for Life medal and cuddly toys to some fabulous green plastic hands, a trusted pocket radio, puzzles, baseball caps, a fellow house mate and a glittering selection of West End Musical souvenir brochures. The resulting exhibition Power of Ownership showcased 26 people with their meaningful object and was launched in Cardiff’s esteemed Chapter arts venue, before moving onto the fabulous space Temple of Peace