Nine Francois - Projects Coordinator

Nine Francois' passion lies in de-coding and effectively using the language of photography to connect people. To this end, she is frequently working on projects that in some configuration involve taking pictures, telling stories and building community.

Past projects include: Our Town-Amarillo, a Texas Photographic Society sponsored program teaching photography and story-telling skills to residents of small and mid-sized Texas towns; Exposure: Photographs from Central Texas and Southern France, an exhibition and cultural exchange event between Texas and French photographers; Stepping Stones, a photographic and writing project for east Austin kids to produce The Pan Am Report, a journal about identity and community.

Recently, Ms. Francois has begun working with kids to create self-published books through Blurb.com. These theme-specific books are entirely written, photographed and illustrated by the young authors. Ms. Francois uses her abilities as teacher and artist to help these kids write, take photographs and make art for the books. She also edits and designs the books and works with community members in coordinating public readings and book-signings for the kids.

Below are the books currently produced. For more information click on the book cover image.

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After Ike

After Ike

20 Stories from 20 Galveston Kids

"Traumatic events resonate in our lives over time long after the event, often causing symptoms of anxiety, fear and hopelessness. The process of healing is greatly enhanced through storytelling, art and creatively sharing the experience and its aftermath. By confronting the experiences, the emotions, the reality of our lives after Hurricane Ike we recognize that we are not alone in loss but actually part of a shared process of healing...

Looking through the eyes of these children, hearing their voices, we share the remarkable journey of a community as it not only survives, but thrives. This is an empowering and uplifting body of loving work that goes directly to the heart of healing."

- Kathleen DiNatale
The Yoga Haven, Galveston Island

Courage

Stories About Standing Tall and Growing Strong

This inspirational little book is the work of fourth grade students at Pease Elementary in Austin, TX. For the better part of the 2010 spring semester, these kids read, talked, wrote and thought about Courage. They recalled first-hand experiences that called for their own courage and what it meant to them.

Their stories are varied and authentic and are beautifully illustrated with the kids' own creative photography. Through this project, the kids revealed their capacities for empathy, understanding, support and friendship. In essence, they discovered themselves and realized the shared experiences that bind them together with their classmates.

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Courage
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Expressions of the Heart

EXPRESSions of the heART

Multi-Generational Views on Healthy Relationships

Expressions of the Heart is entirely written, photographed and illustrated by ten teenagers who participated in a 2010 youth employment program in Austin, TX. This unique combination of journal, scrapbook, poetry collection and fine art book reflects the five-week journey of these young artists as they worked together towards understanding the parameters of healthy relationships.

Through role-playing, journaling, writing, engaging in lively peer discussions and interviewing people of different age groups, the teens sought answers to fundamental questions concerning relationships: What does a healthy connection look like? What elements contribute to it? What to look out for? How is "healthy" defined by people of various ages? Has the basic recipe changed over time?

Their inquiries led them to a matrix of five key words -- TRUST, RESPECT, POWER, COMMUNICATION, LOVE -- that became the backbone of their investigations and of the art they produced for the book.

Breaking Barriers

A Look at Family, Education and Achieving a Successful Career

Breaking Barriers is written and photographed by 12 middle school students from East Austin College Prep Academy (EACPA). As part of the larger Breaking Barriers Through Success initiative, a multi-faceted, year-long exploration addressing why East Austin youth have historically not attended college, this book focuses on what it takes to have a successful professional career. It consists of a series of interviews, each conducted by a pair of EACPA students, highlighting 6 careers they've identified as something they may like to pursue: pastry chef, veterinarian, industrial engineer, dentist, creative director of a magazine and radio station music host.

In 5 short weeks, these young journalists learned how to introduce themselves, formulate questions, take notes, write a story, make photographs, and put everything together in a book. In between the interviews are personal writings about their lives and photographs they took of themselves, their families and friends. Breaking Barriers is an earnest and creative look at family, aspirations, the hope of being successful and of life in general through the eyes of young East Austinites with big dreams.

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Breaking Barriers