Open Aye was established by Becky Duncan as a social enterprise in 2010 and was given Community Interest Company status in 2017. Open Aye was established to produce photos and videos for third sector organisations across Scotland and for use in multi-media marketing. Its aim was to ensure accurate portrayals of issues, people and places, in order to tell engaging stories which could help positively influence social change. The key objective of Open Aye was to represent all, especially those who are often unheard, or mis-represented. Open Aye also runs participatory photo projects, or Social Action Research Projects, that act as either therapeutic programmes or issue based, advocacy projects.
Becky Duncan is a professional photographer, trained participatory facilitator and human rights enthusiast. She has an Honours degree in Film & Media / Documentary from Stirling University and a PDA in Professional Photography & Digital Imaging from Glasgow Metropolitan College. Becky worked for 7 years as a media strategist and planner on ad campaigns in London and Glasgow, working across big budget brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Louis Vuitton & Moet Hennessy, at Carat UK, London. In 2002 she moved away from doing commercial media strategy to more third sector based campaigns, at Feather Brooksbank Ltd, Edinburgh. She concentrated on charity and Scottish Governmental campaigns including Racism Awareness, Alcohol Awareness, Drugs Misuse Prevention, Organ Donation. In her time in advertising she was in the Drum magazine's "30 under 30", she was a finalist in the Fresh Young Media Person of the Year and previously she was part of a client / creative / media team which won a Marketing Society for Scotland Award for Excellence - Non Profit Sector, for their work on a charity. Becky Duncan had many years of experience of voluntary work within Glasgow, with refugee support organisations, resulting in extensive training in citizen analysis, communication strategies, humanitarian education, and assisting vulnerable groups. On becoming freelance, her first commission was from the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition to document fourteen social enterprises across Scotland in 2009. Becky Duncan Photography Ltd was established in 2010 with Open Aye as a subdivision of the company, providing participatory projects. The two amalgamated and became Open Aye Ltd in 2016 and Open Aye C.I.C. in 2017, with Becky Duncan as Director and sole employee. The registered office address is Studio 228 The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, Glasgow, Scotland.
Open Aye produced photos and videos for over 170 third sector clients in Scotland, between 2009-2019 and documented the social enterprise movement in Scotland. Issues covered have included diversity, housing, health & wellbeing, recovery, human rights, sectarianism, environmental stewardship and conservation. Advocacy campaigns have been used in the print & broadcast media, showcased within the Scottish Parliament and around local communities in museums, galleries, libraries, schools & shopping centres, including an exhibition of ‘10 years of social enterprise work’ at the Social Enterprise World Forum, Edinburgh, in 2018. Open Aye tackles a wide range of issues and topics through photography, including housing and homelessness, refugee issues, mental health, drugs recovery and LGBTQI ensuring that they are more appropriately represented in media communications and decision making processes.
Open Aye facilitates projects on behalf of charity partners, engaging with groups who do not often have a voice in traditional media. Participants are given cameras, skills, inspiration and a platform to tell their own stories and suggest solutions to a range of social issues. Open Aye works with specialist organisations to recruit participants and ensure they are supported on an on-going basis. Participatory project clients have included The British Red Cross, Scottish Natural Heritage, Shelter Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council, Aberlour Guardianship Service, Youthlink Scotland, Glasgow Association of Mental Health, Southside Housing Association, Govanhill Housing Association, Woodlands Trust, Healthy & Happy Development Trust, Central Scotland Green Network, Pavement Magazine, West of Scotland Regional Equality Council, Planning Aid for Scotland, and Photovoice. Teaching materials created by Open Aye participants have been used by Shelter Scotland to raise awareness on housing issues. The Simple Pleasures photo project for Scottish Natural Heritage resulted in a showcase at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum. Awareness materials created by young refugees have gone on to be used across Europe as part of the British Red Cross’s Positive Images programme.
Open Aye website.