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FOTONOW CIC Social Impact Report 2017-2018


Our impact A major highlight of our year was the opportunity to relocate Fotonow to Ocean Studios. Having previously worked exclusively as an “offsite” organisation, this move has enabled us to open up the purpose-built media facilities here to community members from across the city. The move also provides the opportunity to expand our commercial photography and media offer. The year also saw an increase in successful funding applications, mostly notably with support from the Heritage Lottery Funding to deliver the 18 month Bridging Barne Barton: The Island Stories social history project. It was also a year which has seen the cultural sector in Plymouth grow in confidence, building on major strategic investments and the launch of the city’s Visual Arts Plan, Go Beyond, from 2016. There’s an ambition about the city that we’re keen to help nurture and we’ll continue to advocate for the role of social enterprise within a vibrant, sustainable creative economy in Plymouth.

Why Fotonow is Needed

Who We Work With

The world is flooded with photos, and social media is packed with video – media plays a critical role in society. In that regard we believe education in the interpretation of media, and the ability to use media to communicate are hugely important.

As a social enterprise the majority of our income comes from trade. This year trade represented 71% of our income, reflecting an increase in grant funding on last year.

But we also use media as a tool to do a lot more. We find that photography and filmmaking are excellent ways to engage people, to help explore new ideas and to challenge people to think differently. In all of our projects we look for social outcomes beyond learning to use a camera or make a film. As educators, we take a holistic approach to those we work with and help them to grow and succeed.

We’re commissioned by a range of clients and we often work on projects where there is a strong synergy with our own ethics and approach; a number of our key clients are also social enterprises. We also develop our own project work and where appropriate apply for grant funding to carry out some of these projects. This year we increased the number of grant applications we made, and received funding from six funders for the delivery of three community projects.

How We Measure Our Impact Educate





Our social impact measurement is built on five overarching aims which we measure our performance against. All of our socially-focussed projects are designed to deliver outcomes that contribute to as many of these aims as possible. We collect data in six impact categories, which relate to the people we are aiming to support, the organisations we work with and the wider communities we serve. We collect our data yearly in line with our tax year, so this report presents data from 1st May 2017 to 30th April 2018. Participants These are the people who get directly involved in our projects. This might be as part of short interventions, perhaps a one day workshop, all the way through to our longer term strategic projects where participants are supported through a more in-depth experience. Communities The geographical places we work in and groups of shared interest. These are places where our work has made positive, tangible changes to people and the place they live in. Our People Our team work to make a difference in the lives of others, and we recognise that to do so, our staff need to be supported too, so this impact category is focussed on the impact Fotonow has on our staff and volunteers. Partnerships Lasting change often comes from long-term engagement with an issue or cause, so we develop partnerships with a range of organisations to work together to help solve problems. We also support partner organisations to grow and develop their own projects. Audiences and beneficiaries Audiences are the people who view or experience our work, both off and online! Beneficiaries are people who have benefitted indirectly with our work; they may not have taken part in a project, but perhaps they have seen positive changes in a family member or friend who has participated in our work. The city and beyond We’re a small team, but have big ambitions! We want the positive effects of our work to ripple out across our city and beyond. It can be hard to measure cause and effect directly, but we look to evidence where Fotonow is contributing to the cultural and social enterprise ecosystems in Plymouth and further afield.

How Did We Do?

Our Impact in 2017-18


Community Projects The same number as last year.



We worked with 214 participants on our community projects. This is a 12% increase on last year.

Education Opportunities


hours of work placements for young people interested in pursuing a career in media.


Supporting the local creative economy

spent with local artists and media professsionals. Many of these were early career and new entrants to the industry.


120 hours

230 hours

Volunteers gave us 230 hours of their time to support us with our community projects.

of voluntary staff time invested back into local causes. This equates to a value of ÂŁ4,800.



emerging artists exhibited at a London show for our annual South West Graduate Photography Prize.

Supporting local causes


Who joined in with us?

“I’ve met new friends and learned things about my old friends that I didn’t know before. It was useful to know those other people who have issues like me and I’m not alone in this.” (Participant, Young Carers) “The whole thing has made me more passionate about equality because I’ve learned that there is much more inequality than I thought.” (Participant, Smash It)

We worked with 214 participants during the course of our sixteen community projects. This is 12% increase on last year. 22% of our participants engaged in our popular Photo-Food drop-in sessions for refugees and asylum seekers, working with Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support. 20% of our participants were involved in the Island Stories, engaging through interviews, community days, workshops or as volunteers. Other significant projects included; our Young Women’s media project Smash It, during which we worked in-depth with eight young women from across the north of the city to explore themes of gender, identity and media representation of women, plus two projects working with Young Carers. We alo worked with Plymouth Community Homes on a project Twenty-Five, where residents learned photography and made a series of portraits and interviews with other PCH residents.

Community Case Study

Bridging Barne Barton: The Island Stories

“This has been an extremely powerful way to gain an understanding of, and empathise with, lots of different people and Barne Barton at large. Social history enables these interactions, which is why it is so important” (Participant).

We’ve been working within the Barne Barton community since 2012. In 2017 we successfully gained funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, North Yard Community Trust and Clarion Futures to develop a social history project on the estate. The former naval estate, built in the 1960’s to house young naval families, is undergoing significant regeneration. We have been working with residents and volunteers in the area, recording interviews, gathering and archiving old photos in order to capture a picture of the area at this time of change. We welcomed Lisa Howard to the team (to lead on engagement and history research) and the project presented various perspectives and details of life in Barne Barton - by drawing on the experience and memories of residents as well as the knowledge of local historians. Find out more at;

“I have learnt a lot about Barne Barton that I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the project. It has enabled me to see behind the reputation of the area, to get to know people living there and gain their perspective” (Participant).

“I loved being a part of this and I loved using the equipment, because I would like to be a reporter or a part of a camera team (maybe yours!). You have really inspired me. Thank you” (Participant).

Volunteer Case Studies Ryan Cheetham & Bridey Borda

We work closely with staff and volunteers across a range of our projects to develop meaningful opportunities to enable individuals to develop their knowledge and skills. Ryan was signposted to Fotonow through volunteering at local community project ‘Grow Stonehouse’. We recognised his interest in community engagement and his background in audio production was an excellent pairing. Ryan lacked practical experience in audio recording. We got him involved in volunteering with The Island Stories project, where he developed his skills recording and editing oral history interviews.

“I needed to gain professional experience in audio recording and editing, but I wanted my actions to have a greater purpose. Fotonow being a CIC was a big attraction for me.”

“The work is varied in terms of task and location which means I am acquiring a wide variety of experiences, and being a community project, meeting a lot of new people.”

As part of The Island Stories project we were able to fund a bursary to support a local student during the course of their university studies. We were delighted to support Barne Barton resident, Bridey Borda, who was starting her second year of the Youth and Communities degree at Marjon University. Bridey was supported to work with a local youth group over 20 weeks to create their own response to their local history.

“The bursary has greatly impacted my studies and has helped me to travel in order to experience different types of youth work in America. It is allowing me to make the most of university opportunities whilst on a tight budget.”

Work Experience 1,560 hours of work placements. During the course of the year we host a large number of work placements for young people. 100% of students felt that their placement had been useful in helping them plan for future career ambitions. We host a work experience week for secondary age students in July each year, during which students collaborate with our staff to work on a specially arranged creative challenge. We also run a variety of other placements for FE and HE level students throughout the year. In addition we continued to host ERASMUS+ students learning english as a second language through the successful Tellus College work-based learning scheme.

“It was an amazing experience. I learnt so much, I was buzzing all day!”

“Everyone was really welcoming and gave me great advice.”

“They understand the style of engagement that is needed to ensure that young people are encouraged to become full participants in the project rather than passive ‘receivers’ of information” (Youth Worker, Totnes Rural Area Youth Engagement project)

Partnerships Case Study

Devon & Cornwall Refugee Support

“Participants feel they have been given a unique professional opportunity, treated with respect and have gained relationships and experiences that have boosted their confidence and made life more meaningful” (Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support).

Over the past year we continued to develop our partnership with Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support. We ran three photography projects with their service users; Skill-Up digital media workshops, Together which culminated in photography show at Plymouth Art Weekender (supported by Plymouth Culture) and Illuminate festival (supported by RIO) we also started our PhotoFood cooking and media sessions at Union Corner (Stonehouse).

The Photo-Food project received the backing of the Aviva Community Fund through a public vote. The aim of the project was to increase the participants’ wellbeing, levels of activity and networks, and increase their sense of belonging to their new hometown. We ran weekly combined cooking and photography workshops, with participants taking turns to prepare a favourite dish. Thanks to a successful Crowdfunder campaign we produced publication of a unique recipe book of food from around the world. Cooking at the Corner is available to purchase with all proceeds support our community project work; contact to buy a copy.



online video audience

238,100 views online photo audience

It’s great to get people creative behind the camera, but getting the end result seen can be just as valuable. Our audience engagement work is two-fold; we use media to help amplify the voices of those who may not get heard, and more broadly we seek to promote the work of the creative sector in the South West to a wider audience.

South West Graduate Photography Prize We staged a number of exhibitions over the course of the year, with our flagship South West Graduate Photography Prize running for its eighth year. We showcased work by the eight shortlisted artists at PHOTOBLOCK in London. We provided a paid residency for this year’s winner, Jessica Ashley-Stokes.

Cold Realities

“The exhibition opened eyes and minds to the reality of living in cold, damp conditions” (PEC). During the year we were commissioned by Plymouth Energy Community to produce the photo-documentary series Cold Realities, focusing on the issue of fuel poverty and it’s consequences. We worked with photographer Edyta Linnane to support residents to tell their own stories through images. The resulting exhibition has gone on to be shown nationally including a range of conferences and a Parliamentary Reception.

“It is helping PEC to talk nationally on the issue. But most importantly it enabled four households to feel listened to and able to make a real difference, even at their most vulnerable. That is invaluable” (PEC).

CAMPER OBSCURA Our mobile outreach vehicle, the Camper Obscura, continued to appear at events and provide us with a space to deliver projects within communities. We supported associate artist Monika Fischbein during the National Identity Project, taking to the road to work across the South West to ask people questions about their national identity. In trying to work as locally as possible (to reduce the impact of driving) the Camper Obscura also had some really memorable days; in North Prospect with Friends of Ham Woods, alongside The Island Stories project in Barne Barton and at the Royal William Yard Festival. See more at


We hosted a visit of Syrian Artisans from Jordan which is part of a research project Conserving Cultural Heritage: The Resilience of Forcibly Displaced Syrian Artisans in Jordan. Plymouth University’s ‘The Future Centre’ brough participants along who worked with associate David Partner from our photography studios.

We visited Birmingham as means to grow our network and ambition for future project work. We attended Developed in Birmingham, a season of hands-on workshops, talks and events which explored and celebrated the city’s significant role in the early history of photography. We enjoyed Matt Collishaw’s exhibition Thresholds, a touring project that restaged the world’s first major exhibition of photography. We were also invited to Clarion Future’s Who Do You Think You Are history project celebration event at Birmingham Museum.

We were commissioned to work with Knowle West Media Centre (Bristol), in responding to their 20th anniversary. Associate Liz Orcutt produced a series of photographic dioramas from research, local archives, stories and new photographs - reanimating the history of Knowle. The work was exhibited at the Media Centre and then soon after offered for permanent display at the M-Shed (Bristol).

2018 © Fotonow CIC

Fotonow CIC, Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, PL1 3RP 01752 560667


Profile for Fotonow Publishing

Fotonow CIC - Social Impact Report 2017-18  

An overview of how our work made a difference between 1st May 2017 and 30th April 2018, for more information contact or vis...

Fotonow CIC - Social Impact Report 2017-18  

An overview of how our work made a difference between 1st May 2017 and 30th April 2018, for more information contact or vis...