How it began

PEEL – Kings Coffee House, 2013

Project PEEL was born in 2013. Marksteen wanted to see if he could inspire and engage with young teenagers in his local village who were roaming the streets at night, looking bored. He had the idea of creating a photographic project combining photography with a focus on key words that describe a particular emotion, Anger, Hope, Joy, Love, Sadness, Spirituality, Angst etc… picking one word for each session to drive the brief for the portraits that they would then take of each other.

He met with 12 of them once a week on a Wednesday evening in the local King’s Coffee House he’d just finished refurbishing with a team of volunteers and the first PEEL workshop was born. After some initial reluctance, all the students became involved and created some great results. One of the students, Prudence Bond, ended up being his apprentice and is now at Bristol University studying photo-journalism. Prudence has been a trainer on the last three workshops, helping, supporting and inspiring the students.

That same year, Marksteen invited Marian Cramers – specialist in data analytics, to start thinking about the project. Marian has continued to be involved in the project and is responsible for the statistics provided in the book and on the website.

In 2016, Marksteen invited the first two young talented creative writers, Indy Roberts and Fabio Thomas, to come on-board and help him explore narrative further, using poetry to create the foundations and brief for the subsequent portraiture. Indy also worked with Marksteen to develop the questions that help students interview each other. In 2017, creative writer Natalie Thomas and creative writer and teacher Olivia Tan, joined the last workshop of the season as trainers and worked with Marksteen to develop the project into a series of educational tools and helpful guides for teachers based on secondary school curriculum guidelines.

Steven Tatlow joined the last PEEL workshop and helped support and guide the students. He also assisted on the design of the website and some of the project management and copy proofing.

Back at the agency, Marksteen worked with his team at Agency ASHA to produce all the branding, design, exhibition prints and collateral for project PEEL. Every member of the ASHA team was involved and worked hard to carefully and lovingly produce the book, website and lenticular exhibition. The project is a labour of love and all time and resources have been donated freely to the project. HIVE associates, who produced the special lenticular images for the exhibition, and BOSS Print who printed the book, generously did so at a greatly reduced cost in order to support the project.

The project has been three years in the making with an ever-growing team of volunteers and supporters. The PEEL programme is being developed and rolled out to primary and secondary schools for spring 2018. Agency ASHA , The Diocese of Gloucester and the British Computer Society are currently collaborating in partnership to pilot the programme in five schools, resulting in National Curriculum standard resources that will enable schools to run the programme. We will also be provide training hubs around the country for teachers and schools who want to join and run the programme. As soon as the programme is ready, schools who want to participate will be notified and given a login code to download the resources online.

Resources will be available in spring 2018. All net profits go to The Big Cold Turkey Foundation and are distributed among projects and charities concerned with youth at risk.

PEEL is one of many studies that Marksteen has directed over the years, including ‘Behold The Man’ and ‘The Stations’.

He also has a day job and you can read his full biography at

His other ‘work in progress’ studies are constantly updated at

Find out more about our foundation at