Youth, women and men of marginalized communities can be silenced by circumstance and society. Through exercises, supportive conversations and the lens of the camera, we are better able to see others, as well as ourselves.
Accompagnateur Workshops support people as they come to terms with the past, embrace the present, and articulate a vision for the future.
The workshops support individuals to find their voices and their footing to move forward.
The workshops support disparate parties in their work to unpack decades of fear and bias through the simple acts of looking and listening.
Gordon Parks called his camera a weapon.
Mine is an olive branch.
Friends of Island Academy MENTOR
Friends is an NGO that reaches out to incarcerated youth on Rikers Island, and now detention facilities in New York's five boroughs, so that when they are released, they have a mentor who can help them make choices to keep them safe and away from recidivism. Friends' programs help youth graduate high school, acquire job and life skills, enrich their lives and find their voices with music, writing and photography. Accompagnateur Workshops support these youth to see each other, themselves, and tell their stories.
S.T.R.O.N.G. & I AM YOUR PROTECTOR CHOOSE
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth was built on the belief that the cure for Long Island's gang epidemic lies in youth empowerment programs, support, and counseling. Through dialogue, photography and storytelling, kids from Brentwood's Christian community and those with MS-13 gang affiliation shared their perspectives on gang violence, and options to it.
This three-session workshop took place in Brentwood, Long Island in September and October, 2019.
Women’s Prison Association ADVOCATE
WPA's “Advanced Class” supported ten formerly incarcerated women to build identity, self-awareness and communication skills to become advocates for criminal justice reform. The women imagine their biographies five years from today: the title, chapter headings, cover and author photo. They imagine their stories and develop the confidence and skills to step towards them.
PICO UNION, L.A. & I Am Your Protector PROTECT
These workshops afford the participants the opportunity to find their shared humanity with people they would not otherwise meet or appreciate, and might fear.
Pairing individuals from the church and marginalized communities including Skid Row and those sent by the LA probation office, we bring cohesion to this group with little affiliation or connection to one another.
Accompagnateur Workshops RECONCILE
Recognizing parallels in our lives awakens the humanity of others and ourselves, and is the essence of the Accompagnateur Workshops.
Roots Workshops SEE
The workshops for Palestinian and Israeli settler women take place at the heart of the conflict in the West Bank, Israel, to foster consideration, reconciliation and mutuality. Bringing out the humanity of others is the essence of the workshops. We support the engagement of each in the process of recognizing parallel lives and narratives.
Click here to see the illustrated curriculum for the Roots Workshops. >
Taghyeer Workshops LIBERATE
The Palestinian women are the greatest victims of the conflict. They live under Israeli occupation, as well as in patriarchal societies with no equality or independence, and with limited rights.— Ali Abu Awwad, Peace Activist & Founder of Taghyeer
The innovative Taghyeer (Change) Palestinian National Nonviolence Movement engages Palestinian society peacefully towards social change and national goals. The women range from young teenagers to matriarchs in their 50s; single, married, widowed and divorced, and all levels of education and employment status. The workshops create space to liberate their voices, silenced in a patriarchal society, to share stories about her life, dreams, frustrations, etc.
Click here to see the illustrated curriculum for the Taghyeer Workshop. >
I pair those who would have no other point of contact so they can gain a perspective of self and the Other. I do this in photography workshops in the West Bank, offering women who are forbidden to engage with each other a unique opportunity to interact. With the camera as bridge and magnifier, I ask the women to see each other fully, first to foster awareness, ultimately to honor the Other's dignity and humanity.
These photos were taken by Israeli and Palestinian workshop participants. Would-be enemies capture and reveal intimate details of their community and home environments. The women begin to form a bond, fostering new perspectives and the possibility of trust. The women see themselves in the Other and the Other in themselves.
This body of work was exhibited by the Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, November 2019 to January 2020.
Saskia was able to garner the trust and confidence needed to take the very intimate photos of people suffering from stigmatizing and disabling diseases, while also managing high-level relationships with Ministry of Health staff and village leaders.
Ellen Agler, CEO
The END Fund
Saskia has been extremely patient and caring in working with people. Trust and dignity are always at the forefront of the way she interacts with her chosen tasks.
Rana Dajani, PhD, Founder, Director, We Love Reading
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Roots Co-Founder and Director of International Relations
The participants in Saskia’s workshops found her to be a wonderful teacher, and under her tutelage gained important photographic skills. Most importantly, the cameras created a human bridge, breaking down barriers and fostering contact as women took portraits of each other necessitating human connection. She successfully took into account the extreme sensitivity of our endeavors and avoided the many minefields that litter the ground.
Craig Taubman, Founder, Pico Union Project
During our week with Saskia and 16 people from diverse cultures and faiths at the Pico Union Project, all of the planning and conversations could never have captured the essence of this truly wonderful artist, and the remarkable way she is able to bring out the humanity of others.
Shuli, A Student from the Roots Workshop
I wanted to share with you a meaningful moment I experienced last week, I hope I can express it in English.
We were driving around Tekoa and were stuck behind a slow truck. A Palestinian truck that had a print of a bride: A Palestinian young woman with a big head scarf, of the same sort our friends in the workshop were wearing. I found myself staring at it (while driving slowly...) with a warm heart and a sense of intimacy. In that moment I realized how deep and basic it is what you gave us in your workshop: intimacy.
We didn't talk about deep or highly important subject, but we looked closely at each other's faces, clothes, and bodies, we became aware of details. This is something I never had the chance to do, nor ever had a thought of the importance of doing it.
Palestinian people are strangers, distant, unfamiliar to me. Even if I don't regard them as enemies anymore, they are still very far. Now I looked at this foreign woman on the picture and felt physically and emotionally close to her because of her big scarf and strong makeup. I subconsciously recognized these as familiar to me. It made me happy and raised my belief that step by step change can happen.
In Through the Lens of Humanity Saskia describes the crucial work done on the ground by local peace organizations, the hardship experienced with the situation becoming more harrowing, the moments of inspiration as well as the ones when remaining hopeful is a challenge. She shares the stories of many of the individuals she interacted with. She describes the process of conducting photo workshops for women from different cultures. She illustrates the women working together, showing intimate connections and how the participants’ individuality shines through with their own style and narrative: a recognition of their uniqueness and worth.
Please download a copy of the e-book at this link.