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Growing Resilience: A photo story exhibition of children surviving the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake
The Wenchuan Yingxiu Primary School Social Work Station organized a photography interest group during the 2011 summer holidays, with the purpose of developing students’ observation skills, creativity, communication skills and teamwork. The programme also aimed to understand the children’s views and experiences of post-earthquake reconstruction of Yingxiu, the epicentre of the earthquake.
Viewed through the lenses of the children, the world is filled with colours. For ten months, 35 students took 3,276 photos, using 3 simple cameras; from which 113 photo-stories were developed. In groups of 3 to 5 students, they captured what they had carefully observed. Every new discovery was a team effort. As they examined their photos, they began to exude confidence. As they shared their stories, they eagerly talked about their adventure and feelings. In the process, we could feel a growth in happiness and resilience.
This is a roving exhibition that has already been shown in six different locations in Hong Kong and Sichuan, China. Durham shall be the last stop. It has already received raving response from the viewers, local newspapers and a radio station. The Hong Kong Education Bureau is currently considering some of the photo-stories to develop its moral and national education curriculum.
Dr Timothy Sim's main practice and research interests are to develop culturally sensitive family-based treatment in Asian contexts, particularly for the Chinese family that is in a constant flux. He has been involved in children and adolescent health related behaviour practice research, with a particular focus on the family dynamics of adolescent drug abusers, as well as problematic videogame use among children and adolescents. Since the Sichuan earthquake of 12th May, 2008 he has been working closely with Chinese scholars and professionals in developing practice research projects for primary school children in the earthquake affected areas, where his personal and professional thinking and paradigms have been evolving.
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