What we do
Our hands-on workshops are structured to provide technical and conceptual photography instruction and educational curricula that highlight relevant local conservation issues. Youth are encouraged to explore their natural and cultural worlds and fuse experiences into a cohesive and compelling personal story.
Emphasis on localized conservation issues gives Frame of Mind participants a chance to explore a specific conservation need that would benefit their community. Photography becomes the conduit through which participants visualize and share their perspective of a conservation concern, while the complementary curricula allows participants to deepen their understanding of a conservation issue.
Using mobile professional digital stations and workflows, youth are able to view material created in the workshop via slideshows that are accompanied by both photographic and educational lectures. Storytelling skills are strengthened in these creative environments while youth gain a better understanding of conservation issues in their community.
BEFORE EACH WORKSHOP
The planning process is set in motion as soon as a new workshop location is scouted. Frame of Mind instructors and staff begin their research on the ground, meeting with local stakeholders to identify pertinent conservation issues impacting local communities, and develop a tailored curriculum. The emphasis is on turning to local guides, educators, policy makers, and other knowledgeable people to shape a workshop that will benefit youth, their community, and their environment in a meaningful way. Connections with equipment suppliers, educators, photographers, and scientists around the globe allow us to draw on a world-class set of resources as we plan each workshop.
IN THE CLASSROOM
Workshops are grounded in a unique combination of art and science. Each workshop begins with classroom sessions that provide the youth with a primer in conservation biology and an understanding of the ecology of their local area. Dialogue is a key component of these sessions. Rather than merely disseminating information, instructors facilitate discussions with the youth to draw out their personal perspectives on local conservation issues. Youth are encouraged to think critically and bring their own voices to the classroom. Guest speakers from the community are invited in to share their expertise.
Participants get to familiarize themselves with their cameras at this stage, in order to master photographic techniques before they venture into the field. Photo scavenger hunts and other exercises make the process of learning camera skills fun, and are coupled with lessons on composition, perspective, and other elements of photography designed to enable participants to make compelling images.
The classroom sessions are also where the concepts of visual communication are introduced. Through storyboard activities, youth learn how they can express themselves through images and visual storytelling.
IN THE FIELD
Fieldwork is where the concepts and techniques come to life. Through interviews and research, each youth investigates a conservation issue that resonates with them, and shoots images to tell the story visually. The instructors emphasize using photographs to create a narrative, and are on hand to provide feedback, from technical support to editing images, along the way.
A unique feature of our workshops is the feedback provided during slideshow critique sessions. Instructors draw on their photographic expertise to give direction and suggestions based on each participant’s progress. Afterwards, youth learn how to use a professional digital workflow to edit their images using various applications.
AFTER THE WORKSHOPS: MAKING IT PUBLIC
After each participant has compiled his or her own personal photo essay, the impact of the workshop has only just started. This stage, which we refer to as “making it public,” involves sharing the stories the youth have put together with their communities, on a local, regional, and global scale. With a focus on drawing attention to the conservation issues highlighted by the youths’ work, exhibits and other public events are launched to attract the eyes of policy makers, local government officials, and environmental organizations. The magic of Frame of Mind lies in the power of visual storytelling to provide youth with a voice to catalyze change.