Picture My World

Picture My World is a youth-led participation project where young refugees learn new creative and technical skills in photography, art and film. They are each given equipment and support to capture and make sense of their life new in the UK and celebrate aspects of their own culture and identity. 

The project enables young people to make sense of their new surroundings, document the things, people, places and experiences important to them and build a strong sense of self. The group meets on a regular basis to exchange capture, build further knowledge and skills and socialise. 

Each participant works on their own individual project which they are be able to keep. In addition, some of the content is shared more broadly through an online gallery, digital communications and in exhibitions. 


Together, inspiring new young artists in Leeds


Thanks to grants from Leeds Inspired and Hill Dickinson, we have partnered with Leeds City Museum and Leeds City College to facilitate a new extended Picture My World project, bringing together a group of young people and enabling them to engage with and learn from artists and art traditions around the world, and developing their ability to undertake their own research in this area. Participants aged 16-25 are all students from Leeds City College ESOL department. The project, facilitated by Nola Ellen and Leonie O'Dwyer, offers a safe place to explore creative activities and develop key life and creative skills. Its driven by our belief that participating in art activities can impact positively on personal, social and emotional development.

The project also involves opportunities for members of the wider student body in the college ESOL department to participate in drop-in art workshops which will take place in the community and at Leeds Museum. Working in conjunction with community artist Leonie O’Dwyer, studio workshops explore image making and three-dimensional construction using both traditional art media and techniques including painting, drawing, collage, textiles and photography; and found objects, digital media and the recycling of everyday materials. Field trips to different venues across Yorkshire will encourage participants to draw from life, and to take inspiration from Leeds rich collections of British and world art and cultural heritage.


The duration of the project coincided with the academic year, and culminated in an exhibition at Leeds City Museum to celebrate Refugee Week in June 2019 and Leeds City Museum's launch of longer running project celebrating three centuries of migration to Leeds.

Thank you to our funders:


A sweet project funded by Haribo: Making Self-Portraits from Easter to Eid


This exhibition presents self-portraits created by eleven young artists in the ‘Picture My World’ art project at Leeds City College between April and June 2018. The project explored self-expression and the celebration of cultural identity through picture making. Over the course of ten weeks, participants experimented with a range of art media and techniques to develop their drawing and painting skills.


The group developed ideas around things that are important to them in life - objects, places, ideas and activities - both in their countries of origin and in their new lives in Leeds. Their final exhibited portraits reveal a variety of rich cultural traditions, personal journeys and stories, and hobbies and interests. Shared themes include nature, especially animals and flowers, spirituality and religion, fashion, and sports.


For each self-portrait the starting point was a studio photograph taken by a professional photographer in the first session. The paintings and drawings reveal how individual participants developed a personal visual style, playfully manipulating colour, pattern, natural motifs and the human form.

The Picture My World project aimed to introduce art as a tool for relaxation and positive self-expression among young people who have been forcibly displaced from their home country and moved to find safety in Leeds. The art sessions were conceived as a friendly space to learn new skills, develop friendships and become absorbed in creative activity.


Picture My World was facilitated by Nola Ellen, in partnership with community artist Leonie O’Dwyer. The project was funded by Haribo, as part of their commitment to promoting positive mental health among young people in Yorkshire.

My Bright Kite has received a Leeds Fund Grant in association with Haribo.

Thank you to our funders:

Herwig Vennekens, Managing Director, said:
"Young people are our future and Haribo is delighted to have awarded a Leeds Fund grant to My Bright Kite so they can support the mental health and wellbeing of young adults in our local communities. I look forward to following this projects progress and seeing all the great things they achieve".

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