Sustainable prospects Coursework week 1

Sustainable prospects Coursework

In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme.



Week 1 Reflection 28th September { Understanding the client/brief }

This week we started off by looking at research methods that we use as photographers, before & during the creation of a photographic project. In the forum this week we had to explain the methods we are planning on using this module for our research project. In my reply I explained that my research this module will be taking two interwoven, but different paths.

One thread, will be further research into both contemporary and historical photographers who have contributed to the cross over of genres that my project falls in to, that of family units, education, and alternative communities. The second thread will be that I will be researching different forms of alternative education and the philosophical/educational beliefs that underpin the theories and practices of the families and communities that I will be photographing during my research.

I have a quite an extensive list of related reading that I have been accumulating (books, online articles and interviews) on both educational beliefs/systems and relevant photographers/photographic projects.

I will also be conducting in person interviews with home educating families and people involved in varying educational systems, and spending time with families who have chosen an alternative educational path, to better understand their individual ways of living and their educational choices.

My photographic exploration this module will involve meeting with a wide range of home educating families in my local community in their natural learning environments, be that at home round the kitchen table, on the beach, at forest schools, taking part in online programmes. I will documenting these families educating in whatever their everyday lives look like. I have made contact with families through facebook and so far have a list of about 20 families that wish to take place. This has been very exciting and affirming for me & my project, that I had so many families sign up that resonated with what I was saying about how I want to address the one sided narrative on alternative education, and show how other forms of education and living outside of the mainstream choices, are equally viable, and rewarding.

I am also planning on doing more portrait photography alongside my documentary work for this module so will be researching & testing out different lighting techniques (I only use natural light typically in my work at the moment) as well as contemporary portrait photography/artists, to try and gain a better understanding of how others are conveying cultural & philosophical beliefs through images, I am anticipating this photographic research will include a lot of practical trial and error.


We were also asked to research two bodie’s of work by two different photographers, who’s projects are deeply rooted in research, and to consider how these projects relate to my own work. This was my reply to that.

Mary Kelly’s post-partum document  & Laia Abril’s, ‘A history of misogyny, Chapter One : On abortion’ are the two projects I am thinking about.

I see both Kelly’s and Abril’s works primarily as bodies of research that utilised photography within them to help convey their message or story.

Kelly’s PPD is a collection of work documenting her sons life from birth to 5 years old, and the intertwining feminist issues of mother, the home, and the mothers work within that home.

Abril’s is about Abortion, and abortion rights, or lack there of across the world, now and historically, and how lack of access to abortion costs the lives of countless women the world over.

Both of these projects use a prolific amount of research in forms such as, interviews, archival materials & photographs, sound & voice recordings, and also the political element of laws and rights of individuals. They are in a way at opposite ends of a spectrum with Kelly’s work looking at society inwardly, being based solely within her own family unit, and Abril’s encompassing women and stories form across the world.

These projects are both linked to my own as they touch on the same subjects of women, feminism, & parenting, the rights of citizens, laws, and both the protection and the abuse of those laws.

Their projects were/are also a way of giving those people, communities, or groups a voice that may of otherwise gone unheard, much like my own project.

Kelly’s work is also additionally closely linked to my own in that it discusses the bond between parent and child, and the Childs growth and development, and the mothers role within that sphere of development.

Mary Kelly’s PPD – to an external site.

Laia Abrils’ A history of Misogyny : On Abortion

I am booked on to hear Abril’s talk at the rps headquarters in Bristol in November , and am really excited about that, as when I saw her exhibition at the photographers gallery I was blown away by it, and it effected me so deeply.


After all this I had to make the decision as to whether to join in with the live brief assignment this module. This was a hard decision as my eldest two are starting their Gcse’s and A-levels respectively again for this year and I am very mindful of managing my time effectively as I am still running my business alongside the MA and home educating them. In the end though after watching the weeks webinar with Anna-Maria Pfab and reading through the briefs again I decided to put my name down to do the City ID A brief , as I felt that the opportunity was worth the rejigging of a few things to enable me to have the time to do it. I fantastically got my first choice for the project, and was placed in a group with four other students.

Our first task is to research the company or charity & the brief we were assigned too ( in this case ) looking at who they are, what they do, what visual language they use, and how they use it. If they use text in their projects, and what keywords keep arising in that text. What photographers they have worked with in the past and what those photographers produced for them. How their campaigns are produced, and presented in the various forms of print, social media, and online.

Our group are having their first webinar on Tuesday to get together and discuss what we will be doing and how we will be organising ourselves going forward.


The challenge for me this week has been making the decision about whether to go for the live brief. Whilst I could see the huge opportunities and merits and the potential in working collaborative, creating networks, being able to pitch ideas to clients like these, the time commitment on top of the work on my research project as well as my personal life was something I needed to know I could balance effectively. Once I had attended the first live webinar though, as I say these fears were laid to rest and I signed up.

Since signing up our first issue has been , given we are all spread out all over the world, finding a time we can all be available, as someone in our group pointed out, 11pm for me os 7am for someone else, and 4pm and 6pm for the others. I think this is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges to overcome in this project, and definite the first challenge !


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This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.