Where I belong — a youth community photo project by CBC Calgary

This year, 10 young Calgary residents borrowed CBC cameras, got training in photography and set out to explore what belonging means in to them. Check out their stories at the Calgary Public Library.

There's no 'one' way to belong. We each find our own path.

Three young men pose for the camera.
Ten Calgary youth borrowed CBC cameras for a photography workshop at the Calgary Public Library. Left to right, Shafie Farah, Davyd Homeniuk and Mohammad Turkmani. (Mohammad Turkmani)

Belonging — it's critical to wellbeing, safety and confidence. 

Yet there's no one path to find it. There's no "one" way to belong. We each find our own.

This year, 10 young Calgary residents borrowed CBC cameras, got training in photography and set out to explore what belonging means to them.

Some found one key friend made the difference. Others discovered their most significant source of belonging was their family or a sports team. Still others found belonging comes from pursuing your own unique passions, even if that means you're spending time alone.

We hear about a photo project CBC Calgary is launching to explore the idea of belonging with young Calgarians.

The goal was to gain skills and share an individual story in a public way.

"I want to show them who I am," 17-year-old photographer Shafie Farah told CBC's The Homestretch

"I want them to feel like I'm just a normal kid, like the rest of the Canadian kids," added Mohammad Turkmani, who took photos of riding transit and his love of soccer.

A group of people stand in the grand central atrium at the Calgary Public Library.
Freelance photographer Leah Hennel teaches a photography workshop at the Calgary Public Library. (Submitted by Megan Kimler)

CBC Calgary ran the project as a way to gain insight and tell stories of young people in Calgary.

We partnered with Umoja Community Mosaic, a local non-profit that focuses on youth and inclusion, especially through soccer. Their staff recruited the youth and supported them throughout the workshop, covering their own costs with a federal anti-racism grant.

For Umoja, anti-racism work is about finding elements that unite people, said Nurishah Dharamsi, manager of programs and community relations.

"When you feel like you're part of something, then you're free to contribute. That's what breaks down the barriers," she said.

"This wasn't about what makes newcomers feel like they belong, but about what makes all of us feel like we belong."

As part of an ongoing partnership, the Calgary Public Library hosted the project and will be sharing the photo stories publicly at several branches around the city.

Umoja will also set up an installation at the Genesis Centre for two weeks in April. 

Photo boards on display at the downtown library.
Where I Belong photo stories were on display at the Central public library March 31 at the Young Calgary launch. (Megan Kimler, Umoja Community Mosaic)

Visit the photo installation

Next installations:

  • Signal Hill (SW) — July 21 to August 18
  • Seton (SE) — August 18 to September 15
  • Saddletowne (NE) — September 15 to October 13
  • Nose Hill (NW) — October 13 to November 10

Explore your story

Join the project by grabbing a camera yourself. Turn the lens on you!

Who are you really? And where do you belong?

Shoot your story. Be real with it. Then share it as a photo dump on your favourite social media channel.

Tag CBC Calgary or use the hashtag #CBCmylens if you want others to find it.

A boy is framed by circles. He's also looking in a camera.
Exploring the use of frames, photographer Noah Dharamsi took this picture of his friend Matthew Fielden at the workshop. (Noah Dharamsi)

Young Calgary 

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