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‘This is Me’- Bradford Academy students showcase digital photography skills through exploration of self-representation

Nine Bradford Academy students in Year 10 attended two Photography workshops at the University of Bradford to produce a final narrated video in conjunction with the Bradford Schools of Sanctuary’s Refugee Week project, titled ‘This is Me’.

Prior to the start of the project, Dr Karen Thornton, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Film and Television Production from the University of Bradford, introduced the project to the students and explored themes of identity in the media. This was followed by more in-depth planning and preparation sessions in school with the EAL Lead, Mrs Gurjit Hayre. Together, students explored what ‘identity’ meant to them and selected items from home that reflected their personal identity. They would then go on to select a primary item to photograph and use in their video narration at the University of Bradford.

“This unique experience gave the learners a platform to explore new skills. The workshops filled in so many blanks in learners minds in terms of history, focus and expansion of the full use of the most valuable tool to see the world .The expertise of staff aided this invaluable sharing of knowledge.” – Mrs Gurjit Hayre.

The Photography workshops at the University of Bradford were led by Dr Karen Thornton and Christopher Hazell, Lecturer in Sound and Visual Production. Accompanied on the trips by Mr Chris Johnson, Head of Technology at Bradford Academy, the students used specialist photography and audio equipment to capture photographs of their selected images and record a narration of what each item meant to them. In the second workshop, they quickly absorbed knowledge on how to use the editing software and put together a video reel of their selected item and edited the audio narration. The final finished piece can be found on the ‘This is Me’ refugee week 2020 website, along with the works of 3 other Bradford schools which also participated in the overall project.

The students thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this project, with all of them saying that they ‘had learnt and experienced something new’. One student commented, “My favourite part was learning to use the editing software and watching my final video.”

We are so proud of all the hard work and effort put into this project by all those involved, in particular the students. Dr Karen Thornton was particularly impressed by the students and said, “From coming into the school to do the initial introduction to the project, to the photography and video workshops the students displayed creativity and enthusiasm and were a joy to work with.”

The ‘This is Me’ project was conceived and managed by Dr Karen D Thornton (University of Bradford), Chris Hazell (University of Bradford) and Sarah Cartin (Bradford Schools of Sanctuary). Schools who collaborated on this project include Bradford Academy,  St Bede’s and St Joseph’s , Oasis Academy and Holy Family.

Farhana Mulla, Higher Education Progression Officer at Bradford Academy