THE everyday lives of young people growing up in south west Durham will come into focus in a free exhibition which opens this weekend.

In My World opens at the Gala Gallery within Durham’s Gala Theatre on Saturday, and runs until Saturday, November 2.

Thought-provoking photographs set up by young people to showcase places that play a significant part in their lives will be displayed alongside their stories about the locations and the feelings they evoke.

Among them is ‘Hope within,’ a striking image taken at Escomb Primary School, which won the 2019 International Photography Awards this week.

In My World is the culmination of a project led by Durham County Council’s community arts team which saw photographer Lee Dobson and creative writer Lucie Brownlee work with pupils from Escomb Primary School, St John’s Roman Catholic School and Sixth Form Centre, King James I Academy and Auckland Youth and Community Centre in Bishop Auckland.

The young people, aged ten to 19, were encouraged to reflect on their sense of place and to identify the settings which they feel hold the stories of their everyday lives. Their words and the images they set up tell the story of growing up in County Durham, taking audiences on a journey exploring place and identity.

Kylie Lloyd, community arts manager at Durham County Council, said: “This project gave young people an opportunity to work with experienced professional artists. It allowed them to develop their creative skills in both a visual and literary context, while strengthening their connection to their local environment.

“In the young people’s eyes, the locations and backgrounds of these images are just as important as the story behind the eyes of the subjects. They want you to feel what they feel, see what they see.”

Photographer Lee Dobson said: “Working with kids in the communities of County Durham, listening to the stories and what they go through day in day out, made this project so real.

“The will to make progress in every aspect of life despite barriers was a constant narrative that connected the whole project. It not only inspired every image but created the emotion that flows through them.”

The Gala Gallery is open from 10am to 8.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and 2.30pm to 8.30pm on Sunday. To find out more, visit