Student stories: OCA BA (Hons) Photography | The Open College of the Arts
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Student stories: OCA BA (Hons) Photography

OCA photography students included in Source magazine’s Graduate Photography Online 2020

A group of OCA students, who are currently completing the Sustaining Your Practice module in the BA (Hons) degree in photography, recently came together to have their work displayed online in Source magazine. Each year, Source provides a platform for graduates of photography from colleges and universities across Ireland and the UK to have their work showcased online. In what was a great example of collaboration, the OCA students worked to a very tight timeline to prepare their submissions for this online show. The students work, can be viewed via Source’s site for its BA phase of Graduate Photography Online 2020.

The Source submission process requires that a student acts as a single point of contact with the magazine and coordinates the gathering and uploading of submissions from students. Philip Sliney took on this role and describes below his experience of the submission process and of learning in general with the OCA.


As with many other students who are getting close to graduation, I have been faced with the challenge arising as a result of the pandemic with trying to find a platform that can allow my work to engage with audiences. Galleries have been closed and they are also likely to have large backlogs of work that they will need to re-programme; exhibiting one’s work online has therefore taken on a new significance. Identifying the possibility to participate in Source’s annual showcase of students’ work was therefore a very welcomed opportunity. 

When I identified the above however the deadline for accepting submissions had unfortunately passed by two weeks. I approached Source to enquire of the possibility of a limited extension to the deadline and was very pleased that they were able to accommodate this. I now needed to get enough students interested and come up with a process to gather their submissions and payments within the limited timeline available of just one and a half weeks. Putting out a call for inputs via the email distribution list for my course along with using Dropbox and PayPal to gather the necessary inputs worked very well in relation to this. I believe the limited timeline helped to create a strong sense of momentum for us all to prepare our submissions and keep each other regularly updated as the submission process progressed. With regards to costs, it was very good to know that the OCA provided for the option of the submission costs for each student being covered under its Enterprise Enhancement Scheme.

As students began to share their work with me I realised that I was in a privileged position to be the first to have visibility of so many different students’ work from the OCA. As is now clearly evident from the Source site there was not only a high standard to the quality of the work but also great breadth in the approach to photography taken by each student. An important aspect of this online show is that it has brought together the work of different OCA students so that such work can be viewed together, something that I have not so far seen. The approach should also be of value in helping to raise awareness to viewers outside of the OCA in relation to the possibility of completing a distance learning degree in photography.

Starting out with studying with the OCA back in 2013, the possibility of completing such a degree seemed very far off, I am glad that this goal is now almost within reach. It has been a long journey and one that has taken me to many new places as a result of photography that I may have not have otherwise visited.

While I would strongly encourage the reader to view the work of all the students via the Source site, my own project is titled ‘Impressions of Nature’. A brief description of this is provided on the Source site but it is in essence a project that places value of the medium specificity of photography, using mobile phone masts as subject matter to explore this, an image from which is included below.

Image from the series ‘Impressions of Nature’ by Philip Sliney

Site ID WD048

Latitude : 52° 15′ 0” N      Operator: Vodafone

Longitude: 7° 30′ 0” W     Services: GSM, UMT

 

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Posted by author: Philip Sliney
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