Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Shifting the focus: Sudan on the edge of change


A pioneering band of creatives in Sudan are promoting social change through photography. The Thomson Media training for digital media entrepreneurs formed part of the project NEW SPACES Media Lab, run by Goethe-Institute, Sudan.

Visual artist, Reem Al Jeally, joined the sessions, led by photography trainer Glenn Edwards and social media trainer Derek Ivens.

Reem, who originally trained as an architect, produced stunning street art depicting women's bravery during the revolution and chose to join the training to learn how to promote her art on social media platforms and learn new skills in photography.

The events of October 25th [when the countrys armed forces launched a military coup] have definitely slowed down the momentum of the booming cultural scene we witnessed in Khartoum during the transitional period, she says. However, we are more persistent now than ever to keep working and try to build a foundation to the country we imagine.

Reem chose to create a series of portraits of a fellow artist and social activist, Maab Tajualdin, who creates new designs for the traditional toub headdress as well as pursuing her own painting.

My time with the Thomson Media sessions has allowed me to explore the world of photos in a way that is new to me, says Reem. I have always been connected to visual elements in almost everything that I do, but never thought I would be one to pick up a camera and take a photo.

Led by Glenn, the training has offered me a chance to pursue a short photography and storytelling project about Sudanese toub designers, a method and lessons that I have used to form a story around another part of the Sudanese female community that will be part of a book.

Female characters are important to my work. Maab is trying to discover a new means to support females in Sudan as she delves into fashion while offering other women an opportunity to create and make a living from their passions. She says. Maab also creates paintings through which she advocates for womens empowerment, justice and the right for freedom of speech.

Glenn says: Reem Al Jeallys portrait of Maab Tajualdid is to me stunning and informative at the same time. Reem has used her own artistic skills in creating a simple but well composed image but its strength is in its lighting. She's thought clearly about how to seat the subject and position the light to make this atmospheric.

This is a pose of strength and confidence showing women in Sudan that everything is possible. It is a portrait that would sit well on the page of any magazine in the world and I hope Reem continues with this as a portrait project in the future.

-- Play

-- --

Wadj joined the training to learn how to use social media to promote her online platforms that celebrate judo in Sudan. She qualified as a pharmacist but is now concentrating on becoming an online entrepreneur. She produced a set of striking images of mixed-sex judo - breaking new frontiers in Sudan where women are not encouraged to participate in sport.

Glenn says: Using studio lights, she created a striking action picture. What is interesting is it shows man versus woman but with the woman throwing the man. An unusual situation of mixed-sex combat but becoming more common in judo in Sudan and more evidence that culture is slowly changing with womens empowerment becoming stronger.

The beauty of photography is capturing history and showing what could be. Let's hope.

Glenn Edwards, photography trainer Rawia Alhaj is a director, screenwriter, editor and graffiti designer, who is active in women's issues She wants to harness the training to use social media to change young peoples perceptions, influence their thinking on social issues, and hopes to cascade her skills.

Glenn says: Rawias picture of wall art in Khartoum literally bounced off the screen with its colour and vibrancy. It is from a series of wall art images and this was the only one that included people. This is a street cafe but I could have chosen any of her other images with wall art becoming a political tool. We can all read an image in different ways but I see a group of women strong and together yet standing behind a person struggling to eke out a living selling tea and coffee. I like this image because it is telling a story to me, and storytelling is the beauty of photography.

Mohammed Zakaria is a founding partner of Dar Media for artistic production, a photographer and film director. He is interested in creating and publishing content around issues like peace and racism. He is currently working on a video series Darfur in 3 Minutes. He will use his training to enhance his skills.

Glenn says: A Kunin Twareg tribal dance was the subject for Mohamed Zakaria. The culture of the nomads was shown in an all-action picture with the colour of the background emphasised by the plain white costume of the dancer. It again creates a story, but it is challenging and asks questions I don't know the answer to - I like that. Why is the crowd only women and children? A very well taken image.

Hassan Mohamed is an engineering graduate turned graphic editor who dreams of becoming a social media influencer to promote the diverse cultures of Sudan. His images were around the inauguration of the Governor General of the region.

Glenn says: We have seen portrait, social and cultural documentary in the other pictures but the final image by Hassan Mohamed is of a more political nature. The crowd is moving to an inauguration of a regional Governor General. When this was taken Sudan was in a more stable political situation but since then it has again become dangerous. I wonder if this would be allowed in these times. The beauty of photography is capturing history and showing what could be. Let's hope.

The other creatives on the course were: Mohamed Faisal Ismail, Hassan Alnaw
See more stories from thompsonfoundation

More from Thomson


Yashraj Sharma, Young Journalist Award 2022 Winner

Yashraj Sharma is the interim editor of the online news portal of The Kashmir Walla. He is the winner of the Thomson Foundation's Young Journalist Award 202...


Yashraj Sharma, Young Journalist Award 2022 Finalist

Yashraj Sharma is the interim editor of the online news portal of The Kashmir Walla. He is a finalist in Thomson Foundation's Young Journalist Award 2022. ...


Jyoti Yadav, Young Journalist Award 2022 Finalist

Jyoti Yadav is a journalist from New Delhi, working for India's fastest growing news website The Print. She is a finalist in Thomson Foundation's Young ...


Carlos Ral Kestler, Young Journalist Award 2022 Finalist

Carlos Ra l Kestler is a 23-year-old journalist from Guatemala. He is a finalist in Thomson Foundation's Young Journalist Award 2022. Every time a tyre t...


Empowered - a year on from winning the Young Journalist Award

One year ago, I woke up and was surprised to find out the great news that I was selected as the winner of Thomson Foundations Young Journalist Award 2021. This ...


How to write news stories better

Ewen Macaskill introduces the second in his series of news writing courses for the Thomson Foundation - Advanced Writing: The art of storytelling Storytelling...


New safety course for Ukrainian journalists

During a time of war, it's essential that journalists are prepared for any eventuality, however unlikely. With that in mind, Thomson Foundation has respon...


Revealing the 2022 Young Journalist Award finalists

It has been tough three weeks for the panel of judges at the UK Foreign Press Association (FPA) who had the unenviable task of selecting three finalists for the...


Environmental journalism courses now available in Arabic

Three landmark environmental training courses devised by the Thomson Foundation have been translated into Arabic as part of a major push to guide and inform loc...


Young Journalist Award shortlist revealed

A remarkable number of entries arrived from all over the world for this years Young Journalist Award - Cameroon to Colombia, Ukraine to Uganda and Egypt to Ecua...


Why Pakistan needs more women leaders

This article is written by Hudaibia Iftikhar, a blogger working in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan. Despite being highly educated, she holds a ...


Western Balkans footprints: Innovation in media training makes an impact

Running a media organisation in the Western Balkans (WB) is far from easy. A region beset by instability, corruption with challenges to media freedom which prov...


WhatsApp misinformation course goes viral

A digital learning course on mis and disinformation delivered via the messaging platform WhatsApp has gone viral in Sudan. The first seven days after publicat...


Why the environment crisis doesn t make news in Serbia

Dina or evi is a journalist with the Centre for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS). She has won a number of national and international awards for her w...


Fresh perspectives: Young Journalist Award 2022

Thomson Foundation is celebrating 60 years of promoting excellence in journalism and to mark the occasion, we're offering six rising stars the chance to con...


Finding Africa s new voice

Hello, can you hear me? The zoom screen springs to life and the responses quickly follow. Yes, we can. Good morning . The greetings come from Kenya, Nigeri...


A new chapter in a migration story

The crisis in Ukraine has again focused world attention on the plight of refugees and mass migration. It has also challenged journalists to report on the issue ...


Changing the way news and stories about Africa are told

The moment you see your byline next to a story is a magical moment for any journalist. It brings with it a sense of relief, pride and hope that you'll get n...


International success for Montenegrin mobile journalist

Success in our training programmes is measured in many ways but one of the most rewarding is reading or watching powerful stories produced by young journalists ...


Shifting the focus: Sudan on the edge of change

A pioneering band of creatives in Sudan are promoting social change through photography. The Thomson Media training for digital media entrepreneurs formed part ...


Telegram course: Reacting to a chemical attack

Chemical and biological weapons may be banned but that has not stopped them being used in recent conflicts and for journalists reporting on the war in Ukraine k...


A vote of confidence: Empowering women politicians in Gagauzia

The look of politics in Gagauzia, the small autonomous territory in southern Moldova, is decidedly male. Just two of the 35 members of local parliament are wome...


The Bettina Fund: Transforming women's careers

Eleven women who participated in the inaugural Bettina Fund - Women in Media Leadership programme say it will transform their careers as they have gained confid...


Investigating Moldova: Journalists pick up two awards

Stories on ecology and corruption, developed with Thomson Media support, are among the best investigations of the year. By Dima Stoianov, media support expert ...


Boosting media portrayals of minorities in the Western Balkans

Media in minority languages are relatively well developed, but one segment is significantly neglected in the six countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bos...


The definitive guide to podcasting has arrived

Award-winning podcasters and journalists from the UK, India, Kenya, Australia and South Africa have joined forces to create what's believed to be the first ...


Podcasts: Why I love audio

The 7th of January 1991 was a big day for me. It was the day I started working as a radio journalist. As someone who writes for a living, I'm supposed to a...


Persistence pays off for the first ever Malaysian Young Journalist winner

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2021 winner It was Kai Hui Wong's persistence in her investigations which led her to reveal abuses of power that convin...


Doing the groundwork: Monika Mondal wins our environmental prize

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2021 (environment) winner It's hard to believe that Monika Mondal only started her journalism career last year at the hei...


Who are the Young Journalist Award 2021 finalists?

Three journalists - from India, and for the first time, Colombia and Malaysia - are the finalists for the 2021 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, in par...


We can change our migration narrative - election time is a good time to do it

By Eileen Truax Eileen is a journalist specialising in migration working with Thomson Media on Moving Voices - a project looking at cross border issues affectin...


All fired up: The journalists addressing the climate emergency with words and actions

As world leaders gather for COP26, it is a pertinent time to showcase the work o...


When diversity in newsrooms and newsleadership is not enough

In the latest in a series of personal reflections on womens role in the media, Luba Kassova, author of The Missing Perspectives of Women in News reflects on why...


Meet the new generation of journalists making a mark

It's one of those points in the annual media calendar that early-career journalists await on the edge of their seats - and the moment has arrived. We can ...


Women in media: Confronting the confidence gap

A confidence gap is a constant theme when discussing the lack of women in leadership positions in media. Why do women feel that they dont merit their success mo...


Circular economy: Bringing the intellectually ambitious concept to life

Chances are, most things that currently surround you have been produced following the principles of the linear economy. From the clothes that you wear to the ph...


Why we're all environmental journalists now

Journalists have a unique role to play in changing the narrative around the worlds environmental breakdown and becoming an essential part of the solution. Hear ...


The next generation of leaders in Kenya's media

Twelve women aiming to become future leaders and entrepreneurs in Kenya's media. They were chosen from more than 500 who applied to join the inaugural progr...


Encounters with a Sudanese artist pushing for a brighter future

Profile: Reem Al Jeally, Sudan A matriarchal figure is painted on a concrete wall on Jamhuriya Avenue, next to the University of Khartoum. Her face is not depic...


Truth always wins - spotlight on former Young Journalist winner, Martin Camacho

Applications are open for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, one of the highlights of the UK's Foreign Press Association Awards. Closes Septembe...


Lessons of a lifetime help to deliver Thomson Foundation's mission

As he retires as Thomson Foundation chief executive - after a decade at the helm - Nigel Baker reflects on his previous 35-year career in journalism and lessons...


News writing: The art of storytelling

Journalism is competitive. It can be a hard occupation to get into and it is just as hard to succeed in it. Thomson Foundations new online course News writing: ...


Covering the escalation of police brutality in Kenya

On the 13th March, Kenya announced its first coronavirus case. The government announced measures to contain the spread. However, some of the measures proved dea...


An environmental twist on this year's Young Journalist Award

We are excited to announce the return of the prestigious Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award where young journalists, their work and their voices are at t...


The Bettina Fund: Empowering women in media

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in media organisations despite a higher proportion of female students graduating from university journalism co...


Reporting on refugees: Belonging and unbelonging

Ahead of World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to refugees, their plight and their rights, we spotlight the work of Jordan-based filmmaker Jumana Saadeh and Kashmi...


Bettina Peters Fund: Empowering women in media

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in media organisations despite a higher proportion of female students graduating from university journalism co...


Environmental journalism - Why local matters

They're subjects central to the way we live our lives and the survival of the planet and increasingly there's a link to many journalists' investigat...


A visual insight into the consequences of climate change

It may be a well-worn adage, but to a photojournalist a picture is worth every one of a beautifully-crafted thousand words. And in a digital age where that pict...


Creating greater transparency and accountability of government

By Henry O. Maina Government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is a...