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SIMBY's mission to provide culturally relevant media arts education to Black youth began with an in-person photography workshop and is now fulfilled with exhibits, online modules and workshops, and after-school instruction for photography learners. Our programs with students are conducted in partnership with the Philadelphia School District's TV Station (PSTV).



Philly Factor Photo Workshop

This one-day photo workshop held at PSTV with ten Black girls from the Philly Factor Track Club birthed SIMBY.


SIMBY Presents: The Voices of Sisterly Affection

This is a fundraiser and photo exhibit by Kyra Williams (held in-person and available in VR), honoring Philly's Black music herstory from Billie Holiday to Tierra Whack. This exhibit was funded in part by the Black Music City grant sponsored by REC Philly, WXPN-FM, and WRTI-FM for Black Music Month. 



Awbury Arboretum Photowalk

Before the outdoor photo exhibit of SIMBY Presents: The Voices of Sisterly Affection, we held our first photowalk to provide two students who attended our previous virtual programming during the pandemic an opportunity to meet us in person, practice some of the concepts they've learned with us, and try their hand at using DSLR cameras. Awbury Arboretum was the perfect location for students to explore while further developing their skills as young photographers. After this experience, we realized the potential of this display as a long-standing traveling exhibit accompanied by culturally relevant youth media arts programming for Black students in Philly. 



This blended learning program was designed to provide Black girls in Philadelphia middle schools access to culturally relevant photography education led by Black women photographers. Since testing this design after-school with four 7th grade girls at Hill Freedman World Academy, we've opened up our programming to all students who attend predominantly Black middle and high schools in Philadelphia. We also aim to conduct programming within in-formal learning environments; implement this design in arts, media, and digital literacy classes; develop a photography alternative to traditional visual arts classes; and create similar programming across the media arts.

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The Black Girl Photo Club

This virtual photo club held over Zoom was created as a safe space for community building through conversation and a resource to help Black girls in middle school initiate the development of an intentional mindset surrounding photography. We discussed images, photographers, and social issues related to Black life while sharing tips for students to better interpret and create visual art. During this club, we noticed a decline in student engagement when we introduced technical concepts, leading us to develop modules for self-paced learning and activities to limit lectures. Based on students' comfort and passion when speaking during our warm-up activities or community circle, we also realized that students often need a space to speak freely.

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SIMBY Essentials:
iPhone Photography

This was a 6-week online photography workshop catered to Black high school girls. Students were introduced to images of and by Black women, gaining an understanding of various types of photography. While using their iPhones to learn the basics of camera function, lighting, photoshoots, and editing, students began to tell stories and construct narratives with intention through their own photography. We were able to check in with students during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and give them an outlet to express themselves during this difficult time of isolation. As a group, we also discussed social issues impacting their livelihood through imagery while highlighting the use of their lenses as their voices. 

Black Girl, Middle School

"I think this will really help me to take better flicks."
Exposure: Hill Freedman World Academy (2023)

Black Girl, High School

"I enjoyed the club. I love the fact that you guys encouraged us to turn on our cameras. You made the program have purpose while also educating us with art and history. It was very inspirational and it definitely motivated me."
SIMBY Essentials: iPhone Photography (2020)

Black Girl, Middle School

“She was Black like me, so it was educational and fun.”
The Philly Factor Photo Workshop (2019)
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