Ravensbourne scholarship awarded to homeless photographer

Social enterprise Accumul8 has awarded a diploma scholarship at media and design college Ravensbourne to Sam Adesanya, a 29-year-old man who has been living in a YMCA hostel.

Adesanya became homeless after his relationship with his father broke down. For the past three years, he has been living at a YMCA hostel and attending photography workshops through Accumul8, a London-based social enterprise which provides creative workshops for young people without a home.

He has now been offered a scholarship to study an access to higher education diploma in creative and digital media at Ravensbourne, funded by Accumul8 and creative consultancy BOP Consulting. He will also be undertaking a work placement at BOP and his work is currently on show in a photography exhibition at the Guardian’s offices in King’s Cross.

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Sam Adesanya’s work on display at Moving Forward, an exhibition of photography from hostel residents who have been attending Accumul8’s workshops. Lead image (top): Adesanya, middle, with his work at the exhibition
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Other work created by Accumul8 workshop participants. The enterprise runs photography workshops for homeless young people in three London hostels

Accumul8 was founded in 2013 after North London YMCA Hostel and Crouch End Festival teamed up with local artists and craftspeople to run a series of creative workshops for hostel residents. The enterprise now provides photography workshops at three hostels – North London YMCA, East London YMCA and Evolve Hostels – taught by Ravensbourne College tutors and students.

Marice Cumber, co-director of Crouch End Festival and Work Based Learning Coordinator at Ravensbourne, has been funding the project by selling jams and chutneys made using fruit donated by the local community. She says the workshops help build young people’s skills and confidence, giving them experience of working in a team and towards an end goal.

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Image by Sam Adesanya

“I wanted to think of a way I could combine what I do at work with my passion for helping people,” she says. “The Accumul8 scheme gives hostel residents an opportunity to improve their confidence, communication and empathy skills as well as their general wellbeing. It gives them a lifeline, a focus and encourages them to develop aspirations for the future. It’s also extremely beneficial to our students who learn how to teach and relate to others from different backgrounds.”

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Image by Jamila Ford-White, featured in Accumul8’s Moving Forward exhibition at the Guardian’s offices in King’s Cross
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Image by Dan Fifield, also featured in Moving Forward

Adesanya describes the scholarship opportunity as “a dream come true” and says: “This is what I really want to do. I hope winning the scholarship will enable me to go forward and work towards a career in photography, or something else creative.”

The exhibition at the Guardian’s offices, titled Moving Forward, features Adesanya’s work alongside images from other young people who have taken part in Accumul8’s workshops. It is open until July 31 – see accumul8.org.uk for opening times.

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