When I was visiting university open days, having access to a darkroom was key! I fell in love with the photography facilities at the University of Sunderland: a massive black and white darkroom, multiple colour dark rooms and an alternative print room. Seeing the quality of the work produced by previous students was another huge indicator for me. I did not see myself as an artist before studying this course, but knew from the course content, structure and lecturers that they would help shape me into a confident and skilled photographic artist.
I came to university as a mature student. I spent a couple of years not sure what I wanted to do, working in retail while I searched for an appropriate Access to HE course that would eventually lead me to a bachelor's degree. I come from an educated family and I knew from the way my parents talked about their own educational experiences that I would love university. After finding the right course, I knew this was the route for me.
The course structure is easy to understand and the lecturers and technicians are always available to help if you’re struggling. The opportunities available are incomparable – the North East Photography Network (NEPN) is based at the University and students are given many opportunities to get involved with the running of NEPN events and talks. The city of Sunderland has a vibrant arts culture, from the Winter Gardens, to the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, to the National Glass Centre. There is always something going on for arts students to get involved in.
I would advise other students to get involved with all of the opportunities available to you, including funding. The Futures Fund is a great opportunity to help get extra funding whilst you study and gives you important skills you may use in your future career. I was awarded the Futures Fund to help throw a print sale, which helped with my group’s final year exhibition catalogue funding.
I absolutely loved the course and enjoyed living in Sunderland during my first year. I made some life-long friends with fellow students as well as lecturers, who I know will always support me in my future career."
Published 12 December 2019