London College of Communication students from BA (Hons) Photography recently collaborated on a project with Tate Exchange, titled Stop The Flow! – bringing young people and practitioners together to explore, create and discuss photography and social media. 

Stop the Flow! brings young people and practitioners together to explore, create and discuss photography and social media. Second year BA (Hons) Photography students taught local A-Level students a series of workshops across 3 days, devised by PhotoLab at LCC in conjunction with Autograph-ABP.

Secondary school students explored how to gain a greater sense of individual, creative autonomy and social responsibility in relation to social media. They were given taster sessions in to a subject area they may choose to pursue in higher education after leaving school.

Participants worked with gal-dem‘s Leyla Reynolds, MA Photography alumni Adrian Wood and renowned artist and writer Erica Scourti to take photographs, print and create a display of work each day. They also took inspiration from some of the experimental approaches on view in the exhibitions and displays at Tate.

We spoke to BA (Hons) Photography students Saman Karamdaneh and Lucas Gabellini-Fava about the workshops…

What are the workshops?

Saman: The workshops built upon Album, an existing widening participation collaboration between UAL Outreach and Autograph ABP, which offers an extra-curricular, creative opportunity for young people aged 17 to 19-years-old. The work produced in the workshops is now displayed in the Tate Exchange space. 

Lucas: We worked alongside the curator of Autograph ABP and artist Erica Scourti to deliver an interesting and engaging workshop. By the end of the workshop the students had a finished piece in a format that could be uploaded to Instagram. We also put on a small exhibition in LCC Studio for them.

How did you find your Stop The Flow experience at the Tate Exchange?

Saman: It was a great experience. We coordinated the event, designed the materials such as posters and cards, worked with students, and we had a professional engagement with Tate and Autograph gallery. Three other photography students and I curated the exhibition, which was held at LCC Studio in the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

Lucas: It was amazing, I really enjoyed teaching what I love to younger students and I hopefully helped inspire them to pursue an education in the arts. I felt as though all the younger students got involved very quickly and effortlessly and wanted to learn, which made my job a lot easier.

What was the highlight of your involvement?

Saman: I was responsible for working with a group of 4 to 6 students. Jose Martinez and I also designed the graphics such as the logo, posters and cards. I was also part of the curator team for the final exhibition – my highlight of the experience of working with children, how to face the challenges and find a solution for each, and also a professional collaboration with the other organisations.

Lucas: Probably just seeing everyone have fun with photography. I think that this is definitely something you tend to forget when studying an artistic practice full time. It inspired me to just get out there and not overthink.

Why do you think social media was chosen as a theme?

Saman: Social media is a universal and somehow a problematic matter. I believe that, nowadays, the ease of producing images and the overflow of the pictures caused the loss of connection to the photographs, which we used to have with the physical ones in our family albums. Within these 3-day workshop, we were challenging the way in which images are producing, concerning the way we use them in the social media.

Lucas: Photography is an ever-changing discipline and social media has played a huge part in the way the practice has evolved. I think it is important to understand how social media is not only shaping the image-making world, but also our everyday lives.

Why do you feel it is important to have interaction between higher education students and secondary school students?

Saman: It is essential because you can pass on some of your own experience of studying in university to them. Some of them may not have this opportunity or privilege to live in a highly educated family. Therefore, they may not have as much understanding of how important and exciting is to study at university.

Lucas: It really is just a question of the younger students having people to talk to and being able to ask questions. I know that I would have been much more confident in my practice at their age if I had the interaction they received with us at the Tate.

How did you approach the task of deciding what your workshop would be on?

Saman: Well, our tutors and leaders had arranged the general brief and tasks ahead. However, we had several meetings before the event, and they always asked about our opinion, and changed many parts of the plan based on our involvement.

What did you hope for students to take away from the workshops?

Saman: I hoped we could broaden their view about photography and encourage them to pursue their dreams through higher education.

Lucas: I just hope that they were inspired to continue creating in their own time and maybe even pursue an education in the arts. I was told by a few of the students that they were definitely going to continue the projects that they had started with us, which was a great feeling.

How does it feel to have work that you collaborated on exhibited in the Tate Exchange space?

Saman: The result was outstanding. The students did a great job within these 3 days. It was an excellent opportunity for me to curate the final exhibition alongside my other 3 colleagues. I had so much fun and learned a lot from my tutors and others.

Lucas: It was great for the secondary students. You could tell that they were proud. It’s always great to see work you have spent time on exhibited.

What unit/subject have you enjoyed most on your course?

Saman: Contextual Studies is my favourite. My goal is always to consider my practice base on the theory.

Lucas: I love the theory side of things. This year we have Paul Tebbs as lecturer for Contextual Studies and his lectures always leave me buzzing with creative energy.

Find out more about UAL’s Outreach projects