Leeds student highlights discrimination, through photography

Experiences of Islamophobia, by young Muslims, form part of a social engagement project that opens as an exhibition in Leeds this week.

Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 5:00 pm
Leeds student Aqsa Kauser at work with her camera

Second year photography student at Leeds Trinity University, Aqsa Kauser, 19, showcases Islamophobia as a collection of portrait images, at pop-up exhibition Collaborate.

This is a student-led project linked with commercial and socially engaged community schemes in Leeds and West Yorkshire.

Aqsa explored perception of the Muslim community and local youth culture, to address issues of Islamophobia.

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Alongside her portraits, she has compiled a series of day-in-the-life accounts into a book which details Islamophobic slurs and uncomfortable language experienced by Muslims.

After sharing some of her first images on social media, Aqsa was approached by more young Muslims keen to share their experiences, which led to her working with 15 people.

Aqsa said: “Through personal experiences with racism and observing the recurring discrimination towards Muslims, I wanted to focus on a topic that I could connect and put all my effort into. It holds great importance to me as I hope to show the public that there is no need to prematurely judge an entire religion based on the actions of a small group of people.

“I enjoyed the freedom in this module as it allowed me to choose a current topic and collaborate with others to attempt to enforce change.”

Aqsa is one of 10 students from Leeds Trinity exhibiting photography at the exhibition. Projects range from commercial collaborations with clothing brands and florists to community-driven initiatives including Soup Dragon Kitchen in Hebden Bridge.

The preview event for Collaborate takes place on March 12 from 6pm to 9pm at The Brunswick in Leeds City Centre. The exhibition will then remain open until March 15.