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19/4/2012 - Wembley to Soweto...to Cumbria

Images captured by young photographers in the townships of South Africa will be going on display across Cumbria when an international exhibition comes to the county.

From 25 April to 19 May, Wembley to Soweto…to Cumbria will be running at seven venues around the county with a launch event taking place at Carlisle Youth Zone at 3.30pm on Tuesday 24 April.

Wembley to Soweto…to Cumbria is part of Cumbria's 'Celebrating Youth' programme and is being delivered with the international Wembley to Soweto photography project.

Cumbria County Council is leading on the Wembley to Soweto project in Cumbria in partnership with other organisations including Inspira (formerly Connexions).

And as part of this project eight young Cumbrians aged from 16 to 19, not in full time education, training or employment, are getting the chance to become professionally trained photographers.

Cumbria is one of only a handful of areas in Britain chosen to take part in the project that will see young people trained in photography to give them the opportunity to gain employment skills, capture their communities in pictures and increase the public perception and positive image of young people.

When their training is complete, the Cumbrian clickers will then be tasked with capturing a variety of events in Cumbria in 2012 including the School Games in June.

Some of those selected to take part as Cumbrian photographers will be at the launch and available for interview and photo opportunities alongside Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for communities Oliver Pearson.

Photographer applicants applied to Cumbria County Council after the opportunity was advertised in the county council's residents' magazine Your Cumbria and via the WotsOn4U website.

The eight lucky candidates, who come from across Cumbria and have a passion for photography, are due to start their two-week course next month.

Sarah Huddleston, 19, from Seascale, is one of the eight selected.

She said: "To get the chance to take part in such an exciting event is an opportunity I really didn't want to miss and I was so pleased to be chosen.

"I can't wait for the training to start and for us to begin a journey that I hope could lead to a full time career for me in photography.

"Being involved in something like this will enable us to show everyone what young people are capable of and the talents we've got when we're given a chance."

The wider Celebrating Youth initiative taking place in Cumbria is a three-year programme aimed at promoting activities for children and young people and celebrating the contribution they make to the county's communities.

The photographs taken by young people in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup are going on display at the following venues around Cumbria:

Carlisle Youth Zone, Carlisle

Penrith Library, Penrith

Barrow Library, Barrow

Connexions (now Inspira) office, Kendal

Workington Library, Workington

Theatre By The Lake, Keswick

Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project, Whitehaven

The Wembley to Soweto project was the brainchild of actor and producer David Westhead.

In 1988, more than 80,000 people attended a concert at Wembley Stadium to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday while he was still in prison and demand an end to apartheid in South Africa.

The iconic photograph of that momentous day at Wembley was taken by internationally renowned photographer John Cole.

So in the summer of 2010 David Westhead invited Cole to run a four-week intensive photography course in Johannesburg for underprivileged young people to help empower them and fulfil their dreams.

And it's these stunning images they captured during those four weeks that are going on display across Cumbria.

Due to the success of the Wembley to Soweto project in South Africa, it has now been brought to the UK to give British teenagers the same opportunity to be empowered by photography.

Councillor Oliver Pearson, Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for communities, said: "Wembley to Soweto and the whole Celebrating Youth concept in general is a major event for Cumbria and shows how much we value the county's young people.

"To have an international photography exhibition in all six of our districts is a tremendously exciting prospect and I'm sure it will be enjoyed by many.

"For our young photographers, Wembley to Soweto to Cumbria could be the start of a successful career in photography or the arts and Celebrating Youth will hopefully open a whole new window of opportunities for Cumbria's young people."

As well as general members of the public, the seven venues will be available for group bookings and school parties on request.

Media enquiries to communications adviser John Ballard on 01228 221752