Student Stories: Ghada Ahmed Al Qassimi, Photography.
Ghada is based in the United Arab Emirates, and is a loving mother of four (two boys, twin girls), has a Bachelors degree in Information Management and previously worked in the government sector for six years. She is currently studying ‘Digital Image and Culture’ as part of the BA(Hons) in Photography with OCA. We caught up about her experience of studying at a distance and what achieving a degree means for her.
Tell us a bit about yourself and previous educational background..
The College I went to did not offer an art degree and I was still unsure what specialisation to pursue. I used to take photography classes outside college at available art centres. Due to some health issues, I stopped going. Therefore, I decided to teach myself through books, experiments and online tutorials until I found out about online courses. Before OCA I tried other online courses similar to OCA but the difference was that OCA offers rich contents and broader art information. Other online courses concentrate more on techniques only.
Can you describe the journey you’ve been on at OCA?
The sickness and passing away of my closest family members hindered me from completing my assignments and course work on time but at the same time it helped me be more creative and translate my grief into art and use it as a therapeutic journey.
Was there a particular moment when it clicked (pardon the pun)?
I did not think I “had” to study photography, I was keen on teaching myself through reading and practice but after I enrolled at OCA, I was more keen on completing my studies towards the bachelor degree, because I had the chance of meeting like minded individuals, feed off their creativity, accept criticism and improve, not just at the techniques and composition but in other forms of art in general which I was weak in.
Can you say a bit about the tutor and peer support you received whilst on the course?
All my tutors and peers were helpful and supportive as well as my family members and friends, but I still remember a positive comment that I got about 8 years ago on Flickr from tutor Clive White who is not actually my tutor, his comment was on a series I did for my assignment and he described it as a “model for the scope of the assignment” and he even asked others to have a look at it. Clive might not remember the comment but it gave me a positive boost and helped me get out of my shell and show more of my work, especially that I had just started my studies and I wasn’t very confident.
What does getting a degree in photography mean to you?
Having a degree can open a lot of doors and opportunities in life. For me, it prepares me intellectually and socially for my artistic personal growth and development. It gives me confidence and satisfaction and I know it would make my father very happy and proud.
My plans so far are to be able to finish my degree on time and apply what I learnt in my future projects which am hoping to be seen by others in exhibitions