Act-Belong-Commit and Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre combine for local PhotoVoice initiative

COMMUNITY COHESIVENESS: Elissa Emerson and Carly Hughes have come together to help launch ABC PhotoVoice.
COMMUNITY COHESIVENESS: Elissa Emerson and Carly Hughes have come together to help launch ABC PhotoVoice.

LOCALS are being asked to take part in a new program being run by two community organisations, which is designed to address mental health in a creative fashion.

The PhotoVoice competition, which is being run by wellbeing group Act-Belong-Commit (ABC) and the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre (MRAC), launched on August 19 across the Upper Hunter, Singleton and Muswellbrook shires and lasts until October 11.

ABC Muswellbrook coordinator Carly Hughes explained what is required to partake in the program and the potential accolades that could be received at the end of it.

"The PhotoVoice competition involves taking a photo under the theme of ABC and including a short description explaining the photo, giving it a 'voice'," she said.

"There will be 20 PhotoVoice entries chosen by local photographers to be displayed at MRAC from October 26 until January 12."

Acting arts centre director Elissa Emerson said the opportunity to be involved was something she couldn't pass up.

"We love partnering with community groups and we're really excited that Carly brought this initiative to us, because it seemed like a fantastic way to get a really broad section of the community involved and with a really positive message as well," she explained.

It was also stated that photographs don't have to be taken on cameras, with Ms Emerson praising the accessibility of the competition as people can simply capture a moment on their phones.

In terms of the gallery, there will be four different age groups with 12 and under, 13 to 17, 18 to 59 and 60 and over all being placed in separate categories.

MRAC will host several photography workshops to help people understand the ABC values and prepare them to take the best shots possible.

The 'Act' session with Rebecca Rath will take place on September 14, 'Belong' with Roger Skinner on September 7 and 'Commit' with Jess Dugan on August 31.

All events will be held on the Saturdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm.

Submissions can be uploaded to the program website, where they will all be placed on display and a winner will be announced at the exhibition opening night on October 26.

This story Community given voice for Mental Health month first appeared on Hunter Valley News.