Sixth Form Students Feature in Unique Online Photography Exhibition

On the 4th of June the Sixth Form College Association (SFCA) launched an online photography exhibition called ‘At Home’. All photographs featured in the exhibition have been taken by sixth form students from across the country whilst in lock down during Covid-19. Three talented students from the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College are proud to have their work displayed in the exhibition.

The Sixth Form College Association (SCFA) is a network of sixth form providers and a dedicated voice of sixth form education. The online exhibition has been coordinated by the SFCA and is being run from the 4th June – 19th June. Over 140 students from 46 colleges have submitted their work to be displayed. The ‘At Home’ exhibition is a showcase of talented young artists who have expressed their feelings about living at home during a global pandemic through the means of imagery.

Launching the exhibition, Gillian Keegan, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, said: “This has been a difficult time for the entire country but this exhibition is a wonderful example of how creativity can flourish in the face of adversity. It’s great to see how these sixth form students have captured the experiences of lock down from a young person’s perspective. A huge congratulations to all exhibitors and I wish them every success for the future”.

The City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College are delighted to have had 40+ submissions and three photography A Level students chosen to be featured in the exhibition, Harriet Digney formerly of Endon High School, James Redding formerly of Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy and Liv Skibicka formerly of Blessed William Howard Catholic School.

Hattie Digneys portrait – Lockdown Limit has taken a more conventional depiction of the exasperation and helplessness felt by her and her family. The wooden spindles of the stairway encouraged a narrative of domestic incarceration. Like prison bars, this close-up monochrome composition evokes the lack of vibrance and excitement, the sitter’s angst and frustration is obvious. Something we can all relate to during the past few months.

James Reddings portrait – Split, depicts the change in our everyday appearance before and after the lockdown was implemented. The mask became a symbol of the Covid pandemic recognisable across the world. James has captured the feelings of this time with the sitter’s half smile covered by this protective mask, obscuring the full face leaving us uneasy and uncertain.

Liv Skibicka’s portrait – Lockdown Still Life has been heavily influenced by her research into contemporary still life photography. Her image comes away from any symbols of the pandemic but communicates her own lockdown space. The stale pieces of fruit at the window illuminated by the ray of light coming through the curtain harks back to the master painter’s pursuit of compositional realism. Whilst she too looks to create calm and balance through her methodical studies of still life during these surreal times.

The City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College A Level Photography Teacher, Patrick Shaw comments “This project has been a cathartic process for the students and myself. Many turned to creative outlets to express and vent through their own individual isolation stories, whether this be through photography, art, writing or film. I am proud of the resilience and creativity our students have demonstrated during this period and would like to congratulate them all on their entries for this exhibition.”

The exhibition is being held to recognise and reward the amazing creativity amongst sixth form students from across the country. Designed to provoke, stimulate and develop creative thoughts at an unprecedented time. This will undoubtedly benefit students as they enter into a ‘new’ normal in this ever-changing climate.

Bill Watkin, Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said: “At home highlights the extraordinary artistic talent that exists in our sector. We are holding this exhibition to recognise and celebrate excellence in sixth form colleges, but also to stimulate our thinking about the world this summer. It is imperative that we keep the arts in education secure and flourishing. If young people are to make a valuable contribution to society – even if they are to be successful scientists, engineers, doctors and technicians – they need to develop their creative skills, their artistic sensitivities and their ability to interact with others. All of this will be more important than ever in the post-COVID world”.

All photographs featured on the exhibition can be viewed on the following link