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"Photography has become the most pervasive medium through which individuals share their lives on a daily basis. This new programme explores the power of photography when working with real communities to co-author meaningful culture.
This course will be delivered through a partnership between the University of Salford and Open Eye Gallery. You will work with active practitioners and academics to rethink the role of photography in society today, to develop your creative practice and your professional profile.
The course will give students support in producing creative projects with both arts and non-arts commissioners in mind, exploring how to create socially engaged art that is meaningful to both audiences and participants. Students will develop and deliver live projects with partners working in health, youth, community, and justice, all embedded within a critically engaged and ethical framework.
We will provide professional practice surgeries, from understanding legal, ethical, and safeguarding frameworks, to developing your professional profile, the latter including a free year-long membership and digital profile awarded by partner Axisweb.
You will have opportunities to engage directly with national debates and Open Eye Gallery’s national network for socially engaged photographic practice."
I first thought of Salford University because of its reputation in Arts and Media, and its proximity to Media City, as well as being in one of the most artistically relevant cities in the U.K. I already knew of Open Eye Gallery prior to searching for courses, and when I heard this course was associated and delivered in collaboration with the gallery, I jumped at the chance to be involved with the institution. Open Eye has long been one of my favourite galleries, and I consider it the premier institution in the north for discovering socially relevant work and artists.
Meeting Liz Wewiora
The second part of discovering this course was had when I met and discussed Open Eye Gallery and my work with Liz Wewiora, who is Head of Engagement at the gallery and lecturer on the Socially Engaged Photography course at the University of Salford. We discussed socially engaged photography as a viable approach to making the kind of work that I make and got onto talking about Salford's MA course, with what she told me it became apparent that this was a course tailored to people who work in the area of photography that I do.
Deciding on Salford
My decision to go to Salford for my MA was not taken lightly, I had already found my home at Cumbria, and cherish my three years had there, but I have felt for a while that this could open a lot of doors in the future, and with the course being so specific to the area of photography that I want to explore, I felt it was the right decision.