Degree-level photography students at Nottingham College have been working on an exciting collaboration with a college in New Zealand. There are 18 students in total, nine from Nottingham College and the same number from Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design in Auckland. The colleges are roughly 18,000km apart, and so the name 18k was born.
18k has involved exploring how water connects us, and the similarities and differences between waterways surrounding New Zealand and the UK. Through regular virtual meetings using online video chats, the students have been collaborating over recent months to plan their first exhibition in New Zealand.
After a launch event on 1 November, the photos will be on display at Whitecliffe’s own gallery 2 – 3 November. There are also plans to expand the show to other parts of New Zealand and to the UK. Nottingham College will be sharing photographs of the exhibition on its website and social channels, so that their home audience can enjoy it too.
A sneak peek at some of the images
The students are leading the project, and Matt Bunn, Nottingham College Foundation Degree (FdA) in Photography Practice course leader, and Becky Nunes, Whitecliffe College Head of Department, Photo Media, have been helping the students with logistics and securing support from the faculties of each college.
Nottingham College FdA Photography Practice student Katie Searcy has contributed a collection of images to the project.
Katie said: “This project is an amazing opportunity.
“For students to get their work on show on the other side of the world is rare.
“It exposes our images, which is generally quite hard to do as a student.”
“Putting this on your CV when going for future jobs is pretty impressive I think!— Katie Searcy
Katie's images focus on the British coastline and the way humans have shaped it. The photos were taken on 35mm colour film - this selection is from Brighton.
It’s been challenging with the time difference of 11 hours, but the New Zealand students’ styles are different to ours, which is really interesting.
We’ve learnt from their way of working and I believe they have learnt from ours too.
There are lots of similarities as well, so it’s been nice to be able to talk to people on the same wavelength, even though they are miles away.”— Katie
The group have big ambitions for the future of the project, including exploring potential festivals to exhibit at, such as the Auckland Festival of Photography and Obscura Festival in Malaysia in 2020, plus UK venues.
Matt Bunn said: “This kind of brief not only gives the students the opportunity to gain skills for future employment, but it will also equip them to take advantage of freelance opportunities. For example, they’ve been problem-solving, working in a team, and managing their time and being flexible in order to communicate halfway across the world. They’ve also been using digital tools to get in touch and share work.”
Becky Nunes said: “The project has been a great way for the students to test the reception and impact of their work, through exposure to an audience far removed from the cultural context that they are used to. This means they need to question all their assumptions about how their work may be read, and also encourages them to look for connections and dialogue, in a truly global sense, through images.”