We have been working with a group of learners from West Cumbria, with an interest in photography and media, to develop their photography skills whilst learning about life as a university student.

During the first part of the project, the learners joined us for a visit to the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts Department, at their Brampton Road Campus. During their visit, they participated in a photography workshop, led by Senior Lecturer, Sarah Bonner. During the workshop, the learners had the opportunity to set up their own still life model, capture their image using the professional level equipment and develop the finish design in the dark room facility. The learners also got the chance to have a look around the rest of the department’s facilities and the wider university campus, helping them to get a feel of what life as a media student is really like.

My team were very impressed with Jemma, Lauren and Noah in their enthusiasm, interest and engagement, they had a really nice afternoon working with them

Sarah Bonner, Senior lecturer

Following the workshop with UoC, the learners went to Manchester to experience ‘Sixteen’, an exhibition presented at the Manchester Central Library. The multimedia exhibition asks: “What is it like to be sixteen years old now?”. Developed by Photographer Craig Easton, the concept highlights his work with sixteen year olds at the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum; the first and only time that sixteen year olds were given the vote. He, and other documentary portrait photographers, worked with young people from all across the country to make a visual vox pop. Throughout the day, the learners were in charge of navigation around Manchester, using Google Maps to locate their destination, as well as hunt down a spot of lunch. The day was ended at Inflatation, an inflatable theme park where learners had the chance to conquer the total wipe out red balls and vertical slides.

Over the next few weeks, Jemma, Lauren and Noah used their new photography skills and experiences from the exhibition to create, organise and host their own public exhibition back in Aspatria; in partnership with Dreamscheme. The students chose the theme ‘Old and New Aspatria’; comparing historic photographs and archived materials of their town, alongside their own work, to track both the changes over time and the locations that have remained the same. The event was a success, with a number of the learners’  friends, families, teachers and members of the local community coming along to see and celebrate their hard work.

To learn more about undergraduate Photography courses at the University of Cumbria, see here.
If you’d like to learn more about Aspatria Dreamscheme, you can also visit their social media channels: