1 Feb, 2023 Community Creations Products in use

Community Creations: a photography exhibition with a sustainable side

Return, O Backsliding Children is Sofia Conti’s Final Major Project which was displayed on exhibition stands built entirely from reclaimed wood. A truly sustainable exhibition.

When it came to sourcing the materials for her exhibition display units, it was important that they were affordable, eco-friendly and connected with the themes of her project. Once Sofia and her fiancée had planned the exhibition layout, they made a trip to the Bay F timber yard to pick out the wood they needed to begin construction.


Read on to learn about the concepts behind the exhibition and see a few of the amazing photographs included in the project.


A collection of rich stories from the people of Glasgow

Return, O Backsliding Children, is a multi-media collaborative project which was displayed in the main hall of Garthamlock & Craigend Parish Church in Glasgow’s East End.

It explored each subject’s connection to crime and how it has indirectly and or directly affected their way of life. The intent was to spark conversations on themes such as people, place, crime, trauma, ethics/representation, poverty, social class, identity, and memory which all have a part to play on how the Greater Glasgow community is perceived. Conti’s final photographic selection included a combination of large format prints, photo booklets and moving image.


“The Glasgow Wood story really connected with me personally and to the project.”

As a multi-media exhibition, Sofia needed several different display formats. The Church’s entrance and main hall has several screens and speakers, which allowed her to display the video work. For the other photographic elements, they built trestle tables for the photo booklets and several frames for the A2 and A3 prints. When constructing the frames, they used 2×2 (47x47mm) Scottish spruce lengths and 9mm 8×4 OSB Boards which they measured and cut to size themselves.


Telling us about what made her source the timber from Glasgow Wood, Conti said:

“As I was personally funding the entirety of Return, O Backsliding Children, purchasing from Glasgow Wood made things so much more affordable. It’s a huge bonus that they aid people in the local community who’ve been through the criminal justice system.

When going back into working life, they give them the opportunity to learn skills and pick up employment. This really connected to me personally and to the project through the stories told by the eleven collaborators affected by crime.”

When Conti came in to pick out her wood, Janet, our Development Officer & Retail Manager could tell Sofia was an extremely passionate photographer. She said:

“She was so excited to learn about the Glasgow Wood story and why we work with volunteers. It all became clear when she started explaining the themes behind her Final Major Project why she wanted to purchase the exhibition materials from us.

I love that she’s telling the stories of people who’ve experienced serious trauma in their lives through this amazing photo series. It’s the best way to communicate their stories to the public! She’s doing a great thing for the people of Glasgow.”

Telling us about her artistic process and the aims of the project, Sofia said:

“Collaboration is an extremely important part of the work produced especially when exploring social inequalities within various communities including my own. The collaboration process is about depicting the people and the connections to their environment.

My intention is to ethically represent communities that have a distorted view imposed upon them. By empowering each collaborator to tell their story, the hope is to enlighten the audience on the issues raised to change preconceived notions.

Receiving a Distinction for ‘Return, O Backsliding Children’ and the entirety of the MA was only possible thanks to the people of Glasgow willing to share their stories. The next step is exhibiting the project from December 2022 until February 2023 at Glasgow Art Club.”

Take a look at a few highlights from Sofia’s exhibition below.


Rudy emigrated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a Glasgow housing estate as a youth, exposing him to gang culture. It did not take Rudy long to realise the implication when being associated with the local gang. Having an interest in street dancing, Rudy began attending his local community centre to learn more. As he got older, he still had connections to the gangs, however he turned to education for a better way of life. As a dance instructor Rudy works with schools and community groups across Glasgow by promoting a positive alternative to gang culture.



Desy grew up in a loving household in Possil Park, Glasgow. Peer pressure to experiment with drugs resulted in Desy selling heroin to fund his habit. Prison life became the norm until he was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, Desy survived the disease, and it was at this point he wanted to embrace a new way of life. Now Desy is substance free and is an active member in the recovery community aiding others in their journey.


JD was wrongfully accused of stealing Princess Diana’s mother’s jewels twenty years ago. The ongoing battle has resulted in the breakdown of his relationship, the suicide of his daughter who suffered at the hands of addiction and the deterioration of his mental health. JD remains definite and continues to fight for justice.


Donna Five years ago, Donna was in a secure relationship, a mother to a beautiful baby boy and in her final year of university. This all changed when Donna was prescribed medication for a work-related injury and in turn being sharply cut off resulted in her purchasing illegal prescriptions. Spending hundreds of pounds every week Donna had to turn to shoplifting to fund her addiction. Currently in recovery Donna volunteers at the South Community Recovery Network and activity campaigns to raise awareness on prescribed medication addiction.

So what’s next?

(for both Sofia and the wood!)


For Sofia:

“For the future I am aiming to continue collaborating with communities that are misunderstood and under representated. Current I am in talks with the Scottish Prison Service hoping to continue my recent work associated with crime and investigating further the possible causes that result in people becoming incarcerated.”


And the exhibition stands?

“The timber will be reused for my home renovations. When I tell people I will use the OSB boards to line my loft for storage they find it amusing. The timber framing will be used for other home improvements that we have planned so nothing purchased will go to waste!”



Sofia Conti is a Glasgow based award winning Social-Documentary photographer, who began her photographic journey as a mature student in 2017. She’s currently a supporting photographer at the Centre for British Documentary Photography.


Click here to watch Sofia’s exhibition video, head to her website to view her full portfolio and finally don’t forget to follow her on Instagram.

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