One of the earliest observations which brought about the need for an entirely new approach in this phase of work was the recognition that art (including photography) education, and recreational & professional practice, was founded on pedagogies that served only the needs of a minority of children, and therefore adults.
The return of art to all children is still required, and the development of a philosophy “on the side of the child” fundamental in its effectiveness. The philosophy that prevailed, over a research project spanning, so far, ten years, integrates the beliefs in the intrinsic worth of the child; art as an inherent characteristic and birthright; art as an essential component in development, welfare and empowerment of the child; and the intent of art to ultimately strengthen community, the lack of which, a key cause in social disintegration, and the emergence of harmful behaviors.
This philosophy has guided practice, primarily through observing the natural inclinations and explorations of the child, and through strengthening relationships, which as a by-product promoted social justice, individual & communal wellbeing, and reduced the negative impacts of otherwise disconnected individuals. This strengthening of relationships, was not limited to rapport within the group, and the later viewer and community through exhibits. But to an individual’s relationship to media, involving investigation into the ethical manufacture, and the health & safety of materials; and to the subject, whether inanimate, nature or a person. This necessitated an historical, therapeutic and philosophical perspective in which to view art and the artist, delivered through an explorational, rather than instructional, approach, centering on creativity as a modality for empowerment, personal freedom, and altruistic-expression, our most inherent, though mostly unrealized, form of self-expression.