Upbringing (2018) is a series about childhood as the first stage of defining our place in society, both individually and collectively. It is a study of pure human interaction and group dynamics being formed; analyzing the forces and properties which stimulate growth, development or change within system. This project is an ongoing personal research about alternative education. It casts light on structures attempting to provide children with the freedom they need in order to grow. The project documents firstly the method I experienced while growing up, Unschooling. It embraces the individual’s initiative in their education and advocates learner-chosen activities. In comparison with the fixated structures of traditional education, unschoolers believe the more personal the learning process is, the more meaningful, coherent and useful it is to the child.
Growing up unschooled with 4 younger siblings allowed me to pursue my passion for photography since age 13, documenting our daily life, and the unschoolers community in both France and Israel. With the professional guidance of SOFIA (Society of Females in Art) Mentorship Program, I aim to expand and deepen my exploration through documenting yearly gatherings of families happening all over the world.
With this project, I hope to contribute to the discussion about the power of art as a catalyst for positive change. This is also a celebration of gradually evolving education systems, documenting afterwards the Montessori school De Korf in Rotterdam (NL).
Through these images, the viewer is given the opportunity to return to their own inner child and reflect upon their relations with their surroundings. Upbringing is an open invitation to take an active look at the world around us; a contemplation of life and people dynamics.
Julia Gat was born in Israel, is based in the south of France and studies in Rotterdam.
© Julia Gat