Steyn Hoogakker

Steyn graduated from the Centre of International Development Issues Nijmegen (CIDIN) with a BSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and obtained a MSc in Environmental Science from VU University Amsterdam. Ever since his graduation he has been working as an action researcher concentrating on climate change mitigation and adaptation, with a focus on the Global South. This led him to work on a wide-range of projects for NGOs, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Social Enterprises and Research Institutions. His geographical focus has primarily been on South (East) Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Last year he worked as a guest lecturer of the MSc course in Energy and Globalization at the Loughborough University in the UK. Upon completion he was offered a PhD placement, starting in 2018. If he decides to proceed, his (part-time) research will be about the relation between the implementation of sustainable energy, water and food security.

His extensive travels to SSA made him more aware of the significant contribution of our (Western) media to an image that is most often far from the reality on the ground; in the global North the perception of poverty and misery still prevails over (descriptive) stories of hope and positive change. Steyn wondered why so much research and stories were prevented from entering the mainstream (media) and decided to use his passion for photography to complement his research and visual storytelling.

The accumulation of experiences and events resulted in the establishment of Impact Journey. A platform and community with an aim to counter that one-sided view of the Global South and expose global issues and opportunities through the art of visual storytelling. The platform was launched in 2017 and is there to support other visual storytellers in various ways (grants, crowdfunding, exposure, exhibitions, etc) to be able to further develop and start their own Impact Journey.

Mid 2018 Impact DOC will be launched. It is the only exhibition space in Amsterdam focusing solely on (multi-layered) documentary photography and global issues. Workshops, artist talks and other events should open up the discussion, challenge our perceptions, increase awareness and drive dedicated action.

Together with a range of partners, including the research institute African Studies Centre (ASC), he has been working on Ghana's transition from the 1950s through the eyes of the Ghanaian photographer James Barnor (b. 1929) – and his contribution to DRUM magazine in particular. He visited James in England, Ghana and the Netherlands, including their first trip to the extensive archives of the ASCL, which will be the focus of their collaboration.

He will continue to work on his long-term project in Agbogbloshie, Accra, and is in the preparation phase of his ‘Walking the Volta’ project. A journey along the White Volta river on the relevance, meaning and dependence of that same river in times of climate change and hydro-power expansion in SSA.

Steyn just finished his latest projects, with a 500km walk along the Togolese railroad documenting the lives and stories they encountered, including their research focus on the ethics of photography. The project was exhibited in Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam in combination with the official launch of the Impact Journey. The renewed exhibition will be available for Impact DOC and other interested parties, focusing on in depth, multi-layered documentary photography.

Steyn complements his activities on the advisory board of Sinchi and has been a board member of the IDleaks foundation – a platform for professionals, academics, students, practitioners and of those interested in ‘international development cooperation’. IDleaks strives for a better communication about countries in the 'Global South', while stimulating an open and nuanced debate on imaging and ‘development cooperation’. Furthermore, he was honored to be selected as one of the 100th most sustainable youth (<32 yr) in the Netherlands in 2017.

Impact Journey
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