Student stories: Johnathan Hall - The Open College of the Arts
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Student stories: Johnathan Hall

I have recently completed Assignment 3 (the work placement) for Sustaining Your Practice (Photography, HE6). Here, I chose to volunteer with a local arts festival (Deptford X) in South East London. I’ll admit I was somewhat dreading choosing the option to find and carry out a work placement as I’m not the most confident person. However, once I started the shifts at the art festival, I found them to be hard work but rewarding. Additionally and crucially, I took advantage of the myriad chances to network with other artists. A lot of the other volunteers were artists or students in some capacity and there were other artists showing their work or interested in the event.

One of these conversations with a fellow artist proved fruitful and I have since been negotiating a show for my body of work (Re)constructing Deptford in the windows of the artist’s studio. This in itself has been quite full on, with many discussions and plans in order to turn the show into a worthwhile spectacle. In the process, I have learnt so much about the different aspects of putting on a show. These include curation of the images, as well as attention to detail in creating accurate designs for the windows.

Although this wasn’t in my initial plan for publicising my work, I think it offers a good supplement to my planned release of zines down channels in my local community. I feel this story shows that with dedicated networking (and a bit of luck), valuable opportunities can arise from the work placement. Without doing the work placement I would probably not have met this artist and I wouldn’t have the chance for my first solo exhibition. The exhibition is due to take place in Deptford between the 30th September and the 10th October 2021. Find out more on my blog here.


(Re)constructing Deptford combines multiple colour, tripod-based photographs to build up layers within the landscape, depicting people in one location but at different moments within the image. It uses my slow, highly selective way of working to highlight my hopes for sustained community in Deptford, a town undergoing substantial change.
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Posted by author: Johnathan Hall
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8 thoughts on “Student stories: Johnathan Hall

  • What a great experience Jonathan, Deptford also has the ‘Deptford Does Art ‘ a wonderful art gallery and wine bar, I exhibited a piece of my Textile work last year answering their Call Out, they were delightful and very welcoming, and I live about 60 miles from Deptford. Its great to get out and meet people and different artists. All the best for your exhibition, will it also be on the OCA on line?

  • Thank you Wendy, I’m familiar with ‘Deptford Does Art’ and some of the many other art galleries round Deptford! I’m glad Deptford Does Art were welcoming of your textile work and yes, I think networking is very important. To answer your question: I will record a video of the installation and take some photos as well which will all be available on my website.

    • Thank you Andrew! It was great to meet the artist who let me use the window space through networking and I’m pleased with how the show has turned out.

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