WEST BANK: ROOTS

Bringing out the humanity of others is the essence of the workshops.  The sessions are about supporting the engagement of each in the process of recognizing parallel lives and narratives.

Reminding us that conflict zones are in the end made up of individual people, photographer Saskia Keeley gives a presentation of her work with “Roots,” an organization devoted to dialogue among Israelis and Palestinians.

Finding a way for women to participate in activities was a particular challenge until Saskia Keeley developed her photography workshops.

For several years she has provided cameras and photography lessons to small cohorts of combined Israeli and Palestinian women. While the women take the cameras home over the course of the program, and are encouraged to photograph their lives, the ultimate objective is to photograph each other and create portraits.

Using cameras creates both a barrier that allows objectivity in approaching each other, and also a lens in which to see others much more closely and familiarly.

The result in many instances is a comfort level between the women and even an intimacy that allows them to share their lives and to see the conflict between their people from another’s point of view.

Running these workshops are not without challenges, but the testimony from the women, and especially the photographs, speak to the change they cultivate.
— Northeastern University