I Will Do No Harm 


Saturday, 9th December 2017, 11:00 - 17:00


A day-long workshop will create a space for critical reflection on the participants’ practice. Each workshop builds on an exchange between a philosopher and an artist about texts and practices.


11:00-12:30: Talk and informal Q&A

Sara Shamsavari will introduce her works, which explore global identity. While each of her photographic series has a distinct focus, together, they all seek to encourage a deeper understanding of our nuances as human beings in contrast to current popular narratives that misrepresent, malign and often succeed in dividing and ‘othering’ those in the minority.

Margaux Portron will present Paper Planes, one of the organisations behind the workshop and which is dedicated to good practices in arts and culture. She will also suggest some theoretical resources for participants to keep the exploration and reflexion going after the event.

Vanessa Thevathasan will present Between Borders and its component Turning the Lens, focusing on the ethics of crisis-reporting. She will highlight the role of photographers in capturing the stories that matter, especially in conflict, displacement and resettlement settings, and the central principle of humanitarian dignity in their work. 


12:30-13:30: Break for lunch


13:30-16:00: Workshop in the afternoon

We will work together to write a guide to ethics in the arts. There will be a photography studio, supervised by Sara, where you will be able to experiment and research good practices with your camera (DSLR, digital, or even your phone).

There will also be a writing lab, led by Margaux and Vanessa, where we will write down our recommendations and conclusions. Participants are free and encouraged to go back and forth between the studio and the lab.

We hope to publish the results of this workshop and welcome your suggestions on how to make it available to the biggest number.


16:00-17:00: Launch of Between Borders’ Turning the Lens Project.

Join us over tea and cake for the launch of Turning the Lens, a project providing a platform for counternarratives in displacement and crises,  centralising first-person storytelling and documentation aimed at bringing attention to the hidden and forgotten voices and stories in today’s worst humanitarian crises. Working closely with our global partners, we aim to open spaces for dialogue among journalists, photographers, storytellers, and displaced populations around best practices, ethical reporting, and humanitarian dignity in crisis-settings, displacement and resettlement contexts. The purpose is to bring better understanding of the mental health impacts of journalistic methodologies and popular narratives for displaced populations and those still caught in the throes of conflict and violence. We identify ways in which displaced populations can tell their stories in the way they wish to tell them, putting a spotlight on common themes of loss, despair, hope, resilience, belonging, identity and inclusion. 



Sara Shamsavari is a British artist whose images explore and reinterpret identity and address current social and cultural concerns. While each photographic series has a distinct focus, together, they all seek to encourage the ideals of non-judgement, equality, unity in diversity and collective responsibility.

Shamsavari’s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, public and political spaces. Her work, exhibitions and profile have been featured multiple times across various media and publications including BBC1, the New York Times, or The Guardian, Sara has delivered artist talks and workshops internationally at cultural institutions including Tate Britain, Southbank Centre and the Royal Institution of

Great Britain as well as guest lecturing at UAL, UCA, NYU (Abu Dhabi) John Cabot (Rome) and Syracuse University. With a belief that artists can be leaders in social and spiritual progress, she seeks to empower both participants and viewers with the endeavour to encourage a transformation in the way we view society and ourselves.


Paper Planes’ director Margaux Portron holds a PhD in political philosophy from Paris 8 University and a MA in art and politics from Goldsmiths, University of London. After two years as researcher and deputy director for an organisation supporting conflict artists, she founded Paper Planes; it is the result of research and exchanges with creatives who express the need for a space to reflect critically on their practice, particularly when working with vulnerable artists or participants.


Vanessa Thevathasan is the director of Between Borders. She has a background in law (LLB, SOAS) and international relations (BA, University of Cambridge). She has worked as a freelance journalist covering child soldiers, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and sustainable development. Between Borders came out of the need to better recognise and respond to issues of mental health in today’s crises.  Between Borders is a non-profit practitioner-led research organisation that focuses on forced displacement and MHPSS (mental health and psychosocial support) in the contexts of conflict, climate change, disasters, and development. It creates an open,inclusive space for dialogue and deliver cutting-edge research, influenced and led by the voices and stories of those displaced by crises (internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless.)



Tickets free online or £5 at the door

Get your TICKET here