{ Falmouth University MA in photography – CRJ }

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


Looking back over my first week on the MA , I would say my over riding emotion has actually been relief , followed quickly by creative excitement.

Relief because, I admit, I had a major wobble in the days leading up to the start of the course, wondering what on earth I had done, & then even more so on the day we received access to the platform the MA is hosted on. The moment that I realised I was looking up words in the dictionary that sounded like a foreign language , & then having to look up the words that were in the definition for that first word , this was a low point, I admit, &  all I could think was, this is not a good first sign! I had never heard of ‘imposter syndrome’ until this week.

However, then the actual first week of work got released, & relief flooded over me. Firstly, because I thought I was still reading/watching the introduction, & hadn’t realised when you click ‘next’ it takes you through to the weeks course content, apparently I was already half way through the week at 1am in the morning in a hotel room in London , absolutely riveted. Mostly, I was relieved because the first videos contained works, & ideas on things I had already known about , or experienced myself in our lives (I had expected after the course material was released to be totally out of my depth) . I had seen a huge retrospective of William Henry Fox Talbot’s work & life in the summer of 2016 at the Science museum in London & then again in the summer of 2017, I had taken our children to see a Walker Evans retrospective in Centre Pompidou in Paris whilst we were staying there for the summer. . These two artists being covered in the first week, definitely put me more at ease, making me realise that I wasn’t quite as ignorant as I thought, & whereas I may of come across my information in a slightly unconventional way , the knowledge is still there. Then when there was mention of stereoscopes, any remnants of fear totally dissipated . I had actually bought a stereoscope to use with my home ed art group that I run for 5-16 years olds in the county. I had never seen one before I bought it in a shop in Falmouth, but fell instantly in love , & when the children felt the same , we ended up doing a little mini project on them.

stereoscope shot kids art group

Introducing the stereoscope, Bambino art HE art group 2016


Our second task this week was to choose three of our own images that we felt related to this weeks theme of ‘the global image’ , & to present them to our tutor & peers, articulating our ideas about them, their meaning, & then to receive feed back on them. What I learnt from this exercise was, I am terrible at shortlisting images (I changed my mind 4 or 5 times) , & also that I need to be quieter probably, & work on my listening skills more. This is the problem when you are so passionate about what you do, & your practice is so intrinsically linked with who you are, you tend to get a little carried away, & forget that everyone else may not wish to, nor need to hear every single thought in your head, & on that note, here are the photographs that I shared …

Worldschooling ... Versailles 2017



I’ve chosen three images to show you on my slides today, that are my ‘take’ on the global image, in relation to my practice, & my final project.

I really struggled with this as I desperately wanted to show some of my birth images, and breastfeeding projects, as you can’t get more globally connected I think than the connection of the circle of pregnancy, birth, life, death….. but I have a strong tendency to spiral off topic , so by way of trying to keep myself on track, I am going to keep to the theme of my final project ideas.

SLIDE ONE - Worldschooling … Versailles 2017

Firstly, for my work to make sense you need to know that we home educate our four children, & along that journey we discovered the “world schooling” movement. There are many different ideas on what ‘world schooling’ means, but put simply, my own idea of world schooling is the philosophy of cultural immersion, & then the experiences from being in that culture lending themselves to an organic learning process. This first image was taken on the first long stay trip I ever did with our children, where we lived in Paris for a few months in 2017.

Yes, the image is in a different part of the world, but that isn’t necessarily why it is, to me, a global image.

To me, it is a global image because of the philosophy behind the image, that complete faith in a Child’s own ingrained, intrinsic desire for knowledge . The idea of a global community joined by a joint philosophy (& being globally connected by the internet), that could all look at that image & see the same thing, that those toes dragging in the water, could teach you as much about the world in one entirely peaceful moment, as a whole lifetime of lessons.

SLIDE TWO - Home education, the global image , Cornwall 2017

This image is of our daughter at our home in Cornwall, teaching herself how to paint with watercolours. Topic based learning goes hand in hand with a ‘world schooling education’ for us. You may be thinking you are going to learn how to paint , but suddenly you are googling images of wolves in Yellowstone park, & then looking it up on google earth .

I am quite literally addicted to books, but ‘pretty’ books especially. Now I know these are illustrations & not photographs, but these book are certainly promoted with photographs, we order them online from places like amazon, based on photographs for example. These images, have the power to change so much. The one book you can see lost words in the top left corner is a collection of poems, or ‘prayers’, to bring back the lost words of our children. Words that are lost to them in this modern technological era “The book began as a response to the removal of everyday nature words from a widely used children’s dictionary” ( Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris. 2017 ,  available at  [accessed 07.06.2019] ) adder, bluebell, conker, oak …. And the beautiful illustrations that go alongside them, make this book about the English countryside come alive for children in a way, many of them will never of experienced. Next thing you know they are googling “real” images of these mysterious creatures they have never seen out in the wild before.

So to me this image is almost a multilayered look at “the global image” and what that means, how different imagery can effect each other across the globe as well.

SLIDE THREE  World schooling , Paris , 2017

I’m actually technically not that happy with this image, (trying to get the Eiffel Tower, the girls & all four flags in the photograph in a way I was happy with was very hard), but for my work & practice, I couldn’t find a more global image. The blonde haired girl in the front is daughter to a lady who runs a blog & website called The Enlightened Globetreker , which organises cultural immersion programmes & retreats. I organised to do this photoshoot as they were spending R’s birthday in Paris in-between their European programmes & their trekking in Nepal adventure that they run every year.  This image was taken for their social media showing where they had been, & the flags represented some of the countries/places they had organised retreats in. After I posted in some world schooling facebook groups, asking if anyone was coming to Paris whilst we were there C sent me a message & we organised their photoshoot around the ‘world schooling’ theme. R & C are Americans’ who moved to Mexico for a slower life , & have since travelled to over 30 countries together on their adventures. The two girls on the outside, came as fellow world schoolers who attended one of their adventure holidays & the girls became friends. The brown haired girl is my daughter, & as I say we were living in Paris at the time. These four girls, from all over the world, came together, under the Eiffel Tower having never all met each other before, & talked, played, blew birthday candles out, & connected in a way that we can only hope that one day , more adults will learn to do, cliche or not, we could certainly learn a lot from these global children.


Today was actually my husbands 40th birthday, & we head off with our children tomorrow for a week to the Lake District for some much needed rest now the GCSE’s have finished for our children for another year. How this is going to all pan out with internet etc and accessing the course, I am not entirely sure, but I’m hoping to capture some images of some of my preliminary ideas around the theme of alternative education, which at the moment, is what I envisage my final project being on, barring any huge life changing event happening to make me go in a totally different direction.


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