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Mum captures the foundations of a photography degree

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Published on 20 August 2020

Sophie Burlinson
Sophie Burlinson

Mum-of-three Sophie Burlinson's university dream has been made possible this summer thanks to the opportunity of an Integrated Foundation Year which is specifically designed to prepare students for entry to their chosen degree.

 The degree is for those who may have just missed the grades needed for direct entry onto a degree, or those looking for a new career path and want more time to develop their study skills before starting a degree. Each Foundation Year is an integral part of a full honours degree which means students apply for a four-year course.

Sophie, 24, was accepted onto the Photography, Video and Digital Imaging with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons) after studying Level 2 Photography at Sunderland College, and says she couldn’t be happier. 

“I literally cried when I got the call to say my application to study at Sunderland had been accepted,” she said. “Hopefully this will change my life and fulfil a dream to go to university that I honestly never thought possible. I'm the first in my entire family to go to University and feel so proud. I’m doing this for my partner Michael and my three children, to make sure they have a great future.” 

She added: “I hope the degree will help open doors and allow me to learn all I can about photography, discover more techniques and be able to one day set up my own studio.” 

Sophie - a mum to two boys Aston, aged six, and Samuel, five, and three-year-old daughter Renesmee - enjoyed taking photos, and when friends and family began commenting on her eye for a great image, she began to take the profession seriously. 

“I love taking photos, and at first thought I wasn’t sure how good I was, but then the compliments on my images started coming through and my confidence began to rise. I had originally looked towards beauty and hairdressing when I left school, but realised it wasn’t for me. I’d had a couple of jobs but wanted to raise my family at the same time so it’s always been a juggling act. 

“But through Springboard training provider I began the photography course at college and was hooked, I loved it and was not only working behind the camera, but modelling in the shots too, it was a huge boost to my mental health. I knew this was what I wanted to do but I never imagined that I’d one day be doing a degree, but here I am, and I hope others will also not give up on their dreams of going to university.” 

Our University currently has over 40 degree courses across a broad range of subject areas that are now accessible with a Foundation Year. 

The Photography, Video and Digital Imaging with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons) allows students to join a unique creative community, working alongside award-winning teaching and technical experts in the North East Photography Network (NEPN)  

Sunderland was ranked 12th in the Courses and Lecturers category of the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019 

Students can hone their skills in our darkrooms, studios and digital suites housed in our dedicated facility, the Northern Centre for Photography. 

To view more of Sophie’s work, go to https://www.instagram.com/sophiechristinephotography_/?hl=af