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FC Barcelona Photo Awards

Location: Toxteth, Liverpool, UK Date: 12/03/2016 Format: Shot on a 1952 large format Deardorff V8 10x8" field camera using Kodak Porta 160 film Print: 150cm x 94cm C-type print on Fuji Crystal Archive Arshia is an asylum seeker from Iran now living in Liverpool while he waits for his refugee status to be assessed. As a teenager he has many challenges to face to fit into a new community and new society, not least the challenge of learning a new language and continuing his education in a strange environment. The first thing he did when he came to Liverpool was play football as a way to make new friends and feel accepted. He plays for Kingsley United in Toxteth, known as Liverpool's 'most diverse' football team. He is sixteen years old and tells his story in his own words: he has written his own testimony/caption in his native laguage: Farsi. The handwritten text is presented alongside the large format C-type print. An English translation follows: Hello 
My name is Arshia Ghorbani and I was born in 01.02.2000. That means that I am 16 years old now. 
I’m happy person normally but sometimes I can get angry as well. 
The only thing that I do cheerfully and lovingly is football. I started playing football with an adult team since I was 8 years old which made me good progress in football. 
I have a lot of plans and dreams, too many!!
 I like go to school and learning. I really enjoyed of my school and it’s lovely staff and never want to leave the school. 
I know that all people can’t reach they dreams. It is difficult and hard work to access my dreams. To be a surgeon doctor is one of my main aims. 
I am good at learning and understanding in school. My first language is one of my main barriers between me and my dreams. It is now just 3 years that I am living in UK, but even now I can’t understand some of the written words; on the other hand I can speak English very well. 
One of my other problems is that we can’t go on holiday, we are not all

Last year, UTC student Arshia was approached to be part of an ongoing photography project entitled ‘Sixteen.’ The project is the brainchild of photographer Craig Easton and examines the lives, dreams, ambitions and fears of sixteen year olds from all walks of life all around the UK.

The collection of photographs includes a portrait of Arshia and a handwritten text depicting his personal experience seeking asylum in Liverpool. Written in Arshia’s native language of Farsi, Arshia gives his account of how it has felt to integrate into his new environment by learning English and continuing his school education.

Not only did Arshia’s piece feature, but the project has recently won first prize in the inaugural FC Barcelona Photo Awards!

Arshia’s story is an inspiring one and the awards were set up to celebrate the positive intrinsic values common to sport and culture and to communicate the importance and contribution of those values to current society.” Notably Arshia plays for Kingsley United in Toxteth, a team previously sponsored by the UTC and known as Liverpool’s “most diverse” team. Arshia explains how being a part of the club has helped him to find new friends and feel accepted.

As a token of Photographer Craig Easton’s appreciation, Arshia and his family were invited to visit Barcelona where they were welcomed by President and Vice President of FC Barcelona Mr Bartomeu & Mr Vilarrubi. Whilst there, Arshia and his family were given a tour of the facilities at FC Barcelona prior to the Champions league. They attended the match between Barcelona and Olympiakos as honoured special guests – what a fascinating & culturally rewarding trip!

Arshia’s story is a testament to his character and the spirit of support, welcoming and togetherness that communities like Liverpool encapsulate.

Congratulations to both Craig and Arshia!

‘Arshia Ghorbani, 16, Toxteth, Liverpool’ is currently on show in the museum at the Nou Camp Stadium.

Click here for more information about the project. Head here to read the UTC’s latest blog about social mobility.