Pinhole project to shed light on Polish- Jewish culture

By Jessica Elgot, November 2, 2010

Jewish volunteers will help to create a photo storybook to help young Polish immigrants learn English.

Organisers at the Polish Click Academy hope that inviting teenagers to provide the illustrations for the book will combat negative feeling and ignorance and highlight the cultural contribution of Jews to Poland.

Preparations have begun for the project which will involve 33 children, including the Jewish volunteers, aged 13-to-18, who the organisers are now trying to recruit. Using self-assembled lens-less “pinhole” cameras, the volunteers will take photos for the book, based on the poem, The Locamotive, by Polish-Jewish author Julian Tuwim.

Pinhole photography replaces the lens of a camera with a tiny hole which light passes through to form an image on photographic paper. Cameras can be improvised from everyday objects, such as sea shells, Coke cans and cardboard boxes.

Workshops will be held at Polish school Lotników, in Swiss Cottage on Sundays until January.
Click Academy’s Marta Kotlarska, who has exhibited her own pinhole photography in Poland, said: “In Poland, generations of nursery school children are still learning the poem; it’s like a nursery rhyme.

“We were researching how to help Polish children in the UK adapt to living here and we found that the language is the biggest barrier.

“The book will be produced in English and Polish and given to primary school teachers and libraries with an education pack. We hope that the Jewish volunteers will lead workshops with the primary school teachers and with Polish children to show them how to use the book in class.

We were also very concerned by the perceptions that Jewish and Polish people have of each other and we want to change that. We have so much in common to celebrate.”

The project is financed by Mediabox, which funds art projects for young people, along with the Polish embassy and the Polish Culture Institute in London.

Prospective volunteers should email

Last updated: 1:54pm, November 2 2010