Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
I am a photographer, writer and researcher with a collection of works published in scientific and creative media that are connected by virtue of being documentary and health related. My background is in psychotherapy and research, documenting stories about diversity, adversity and resilience. Although the narrative has led the way in my storytelling I am also fascinated by visual imagery as a means of communication beyond words. This project brings together both aspects of the way I hope to present personal experiences with both images and words.
The THEMA-SY project documents medical aid to Syria from the border zone – focusing on services for Syrians by Syrians. I am exploring three levels of medical aid delivery:
- Injury prevention/damage limitation
- First response to injury/surgery in a war-zone
- Remedial response to physical and psychological trauma through rehabilitation in the longer term
Certain key aspects within the overall conflict promote or disrupt the delivery of medical aid and so cannot be ignored. I include testimonies from Syrians about: education & training of staff, negotiating hazards inside Syria, healthcare facilities, displacement and refuge from the military onslaught, human rights violations, having a spiritual life, advocacy, diplomacy & protection by the armed opposition.
Given the difficulties involved, the approaches that have emerged are not only germane but also determined and resourceful, both within Syria and from bases just across its border with surrounding countries. The results of this enquiry are published on a purpose built website as an archive of information and witness accounts, participant images and stories with varying levels of detail to address the needs of different audiences.
The website is a work in progress and intended to be collaborative so feedback is welcome!
2014 - LBIPP, Documentary Portraiture, 2012 - Honorary Associate, University of Liverpool
'Saafia’ was injured in an aerial bombing raid on her neighbourhood in the countryside of Hama. It was not clear at first the extent of Saafia’s wounds, which seemed to be superficial and only became apparent later when she was unable to walk. A scan showed pieces of shrapnel had perforated her spine and would require more delicate surgery than was available in opposition held Syria.
Negotiating the blockade to access medical aid
'Um Zuhaira' and her daughter arrive at the Orient Eye Clinic in Reyhanli after three years of trying to negotiate the blockade imposed by The Regime around Old Homs in Syria. This epic quest for treatment for a missile related trauma to the face involved first aid in a field hospital, arrest and imprisonment for the mother and a eventually a UN negotiated agreement enabled them to leave on one of 18 buses full of injured people to Idleb. The final leg of their journey involved an eight hour trek across the mountains guided by the Free Syrian Army.