A Portrait of Care

As part of National Care Leavers/Experienced Week 26 October – 1 November 2020, myself, Dr Aoife O’Higgins and University of Southampton Outreach have put together an online exhibition A Portrait of Care. 

A Portrait of Care is an online exhibition via Instagram using self-portraiture as a way to combat the negative stereotypes people have about children in care. The project invites those with care experience and those that work in/with the care community to take part.

Each Instagram post will feature three frames:

  • A selfie or representation of self e.g. avatar
  • Something about the participant now (present)
  • Reveal of ‘care’ role/experience

People are free to define themselves – they can define their identity by taking their photograph and by writing whatever it is they want to write about themselves. They do not have to reveal their care status. This project aims to bring together professionals and those with care experience as part of NCLW2020.

This project will invite the following to submit entries for the exhibition:

  • Care Experienced people
  • Social workers
  • Kinship or Foster Carers
  • Residential care workers
  • Teachers
  • Charities
  • Designated safeguarding leads
  • Virtual School staff
  • Social Care Researchers
  • Further/Higher Education Departments
  • Anyone in the care community

Main objectives:

Due to the negative connotations associated with being ‘looked-after’, almost every care experienced person comes into contact with discrimination at one point in their lives because of their background. By using portraits, we would hope to de-stigmatise the experience of care i.e. you cannot tell from a photograph a person’s care experience – as a way to improve perceptions and general public awareness.

**Prize Portrait by a Care Experienced Artist**

We will hold a draw for the first 30 people who participate. The 10 ‘winners’ will have their portrait drawn by a Care Experienced artist during National Care Leavers/Experience Week and will be exhibited via Instagram on the final day of the project, Sunday 1stNovember.

Amazon Voucher

Every Care Experienced person who takes part will receive a £5 Amazon voucher.

To take part:

  1. Send a selfie or avatar to rc11g14@soton.ac.uk
  2. Complete this form: A Portrait of Care


  • Rosie Canning – Email: rc11g14@soton.ac.uk 
  • Claire Giles, Widening Participation Coordinator (Contributor) – Email: C.L.Giles@soton.ac.uk
  • Dr. Aoife O’Higgins (Advisor) – Email: aoife.ohiggins@whatworks-csc.org.uk


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