'Helping others through images': Photojournalism Hub launches at White City

by George Hope

A new community-led Photojournalism Hub launched at Imperial’s White City Incubator this week.

The not-for-profit Hub, founded by local resident Cinzia D’Ambrosi, aims to generate concrete positive outcomes for vulnerable communities and individuals through the tool of photojournalism, whilst supporting the development and the dissemination of photojournalism work.

The Hub, which is supported by Hammersmith United Charities, will engage local people and those further afield in important contemporary social justice issues through photography exhibitions, online investigative visual and written content, debates, community-led forums, training and research.

The event was launched at Imperial’s White City Incubator by local Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter, who described photojournalism as a “fantastic way of connecting people and telling truths.”

Local freelance journalist Cinzia D’Ambrosi, who founded the Photojournalism Hub, has spent a number of years capturing the plight of refugees with the aim of influencing policy-makers. “People connect more with images – they show what’s really happening,” said Cinzia. “Photography has the power and leverage to make change - I always use my work to push for changes in some sort of positive way.”

Cinzia is working on several projects in White City, which is how she met Priya Pallan, Community Engagement Manager in the Academic Partnerships division at Imperial.

Priya introduced Cinzia to Anca Mandruleanu, Entrepreneurial Programmes Manager at Imperial Innovations. Anca has been supporting Cinzia and the Photojournalism Hub through business advice and mentoring. Anca said: “It has been a pleasure to support Cinzia on her ambitious journey of building this new project and to see how much interest the launch event hosted by the Imperial White City Incubator has raised within the local community and beyond.”

Cinzia is exploring further opportunities to work with the College. Speaking at the launch, she said: “I would like to thank Imperial College London for giving us the space here – we are really grateful to them.”

Through the Photojournalism Hub, Cinzia is pioneering a new concept, ‘Citizen Visual Journalism’, which aims to help local community groups and individuals learn to tell their own stories and to raise their own social justice issues through high quality images. This will help them address the very people who can make policy change, Cinzia explained: “It’s about helping others through images and storytelling.”

Alongside Ms D’Ambrosi and Mr Slaughter MP, the event also hosted talks from other local activists. Daniel Renwick, a videographer and journalist, presented his film “Failed by the State”, made four months after the fire at Grenfell Tower, and narrated by prominent community member Ish, who was born in Grenfell Tower.

Other speakers included Katie Webb, Co-Director of the Writers’ Union of Italy (FUIS), presenting the work of photographers and authors addressing human rights injustices from the Middle East and North Africa region, and David Hoffman, who has been a photojournalist since the 1970s and documents the reality of injustice, the frequent oppression of the state and its often tragic consequences.

This is just the beginning for Cinzia, who ultimately wants her project to go global. “Once you start something you believe in,” claimed Cinzia, “you get amazing support from people. Everyone is keen on helping in one way or another.”