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Ian Meechan - The Open College of the Arts - OCA Showcase

To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

Ian Meechan

BA (Hons) Photography

Ian Meechan

The following is a brief story of how I came to study at OCA.

“You’ll never do it”. “You’re nearly 50 years old and what if?”. These were some of the responses I had when I told my colleagues at work. I had a secure job, a reasonable salary but no creativity was involved.

After six years in the same job, my motivation to move on was becoming clear, both for myself and my partner. Together, the destination was China. It was a complete change of career, going on to teach children and adults English. Moving from Scotland to China was a big challenge but offered so much more than I could have ever imagined.

A long time ago at secondary school, my art teacher, Mr Baird, taught me the basics of photography, such as how to develop images and print black and white. He encouraged me to learn whichever way worked best for me. After leaving secondary school, I continued to take photographs but without taking on any further academic studies. I always yearned to study photography but I never had the right opportunity to do so. I thought, maybe, alongside this fresh start, I could look to explore my photography interests too.

Since the start of my new journey teaching students in China, it gave me a creative outlet in a variety of ways. The experience reminded me of how much Mr Baird ‘s influence had on me. Becoming a teacher and watching your students grow as they learned. It was very rewarding. It resonated with me that it’s never too late to learn.

With this in mind, I decided to research into studying for a degree in photography. I discovered OCA and have never looked back. The support I have received from everyone here has been outstanding.

After now four years in China, I have just relocated to Australia with my partner. She is completing complete her Master’s in Education and I am continuing on with my degree beside her. I’m currently working on Identity and Place for an honours degree in Photography with a Fine Art specialism.

Studying with OCA has been one of the best decisions in my life. One thing I learned is that I am part of 7% of students outside of Europe studying with OCA. I’m 1 out of 140 students. Distance-learning has been a huge advantage to me due to my travel in the last few years. I’ve learned so much and believe I’m a much better photographer as a result.

I recommended OCA to a colleague in China who is now studying an OCA degree in Creative Writing, saying that they absolutely love it too!
I’m looking forward to what the next unit will have in store, and where my OCA journey will take me.