The first thing I needed to do was to establish the meaning of community. I have done extensive research and much of this can be read over on my critical theory blog. The main emphasis I wanted to focus on was a place where you felt you belonged and felt safe.
So, in giving this project to my students and taking them through the process of reading photographs and learning how to be creative with the camera, I turned the project on myself, as I am contributing as much as they are.
I decided after much reflection that the place I feel my happiest is sitting with a cup of tea chatting with my close friends. I stopped drinking alcohol at the end of last year, after a decade of hard partying and working as a bar manager, so the change to socialising in pubs sober has had a dramatic effect on me. I often feel quite alienated, as people around me start to behave differently and I am no longer privy to this sensation, bars have become a place I do not feel I belong anymore.
I have begun to spend more time at tea shops, cafés and restaurants, where there is less or no emphasis on alcohol, so I am able to relax, chat with friends and feel safe in just being myself.
It is with this change that I have begun to focus on my trips to have tea and cake with friends, and maintain my contact with the social world. It may be a change I am still adapting to, this is something I am hoping to discover.