A sense of belonging: The importance of telling great stories in times of great change.

This year's photography projects showcase belonging and freedom of expression in two very different forms. Documenting both our resilience and struggle, to what life has thrown at us. Take a look at the beautiful stories that unfolded from the photographers of 2020.

2020 has given us all some surprises, a world turned upside down forcing us to work in different ways and to adapt to many new rules and restrictions. Here at TICE, everything changed. What was mainly a face-to-face organisation working with young people giving them a hands-on insight into creative, design and digital sectors suddenly had to change – TICE went online. In all honesty, we did not know if many young people who were participating currently in TICE programme would want to carry on or whether we should carry on in such difficult times. But we did and guess what… so did many students and this is what happened.

In previous years, our Create Stage gives students (from Year 9 or Year 10) a selection of industry projects to choose from. Something different, unique and special to add to their portfolios. This year was no different, yet instead of physical hands-on support, our TICE students took it upon themselves to do their projects online. Step-by-step video guides took them through industry-focused themes, topic and skills. Not only did they manage them, but their results have also blown us away. Here presents what the TICE Photography students achieved:

Photography projects 2020

This year’s photography students come from Longbenton High School and Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. The students could choose from two projects:

  • Project One – Bella Freud: Fashion Photography & Editorial Brief
  • Project Two – The Aviary: Photography Documentary Brief

Project One – Bella Freud: Fashion Photography & Editorial Brief.

Supported by: Bella Freud
Mentored by: Jennifer Barrett, Katherine Wildman & Jennine Wilson
Project Contributors: Joseph O’Donnell, Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator – Bella Freud, Emma Cassidy – Fashion Communication Graduate, Northumbria University, Jenny Shevlin – Senior Invention Planner, Reach PLC & Christopher Hodge – Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication, Northumbria University.

The chapters of the Bella Freud project

Project Outline: Fashion activism is the practice of using fashion as a means of awareness or social change and fashion labels have increasingly begun taking political stances and using their status to instil social change or send positive messages. This includes climate change themed catwalk shows, water concerned sustainability pledges, anti-racism empowered casual wear and even fashion footprint calculators.

And it is true, fashion activism starts every day when you open your wardrobe, it is about freedom, expression and being who you want to be…if anything, that is what you stand for, who may inspire you and how you can actively pay tribute to muses and movements.

The Brief: With the fashion industry venturing into activism at unprecedented levels, it is your turn to show what you stand for. Inspired by the Happening section of the Bella Freud website you will be supported in creating a photoshoot and blog article to showcase what you value most. Centred around just one word.

Project results: please view the final results of the students’ work from:

  • Kunjal Gopani from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle – Identity
  • Paige Cowie from Longbenton High School – Diverse
  • Aeryn Alexander from Longbenton High School – Forsaken

Project Two – The Aviary: Photography Documentary Brief

Supported by: The Aviary
Mentored by: Jennine Wilson
Project Contributors: Trevor Read – Founder, The Aviary & Alan Thoburn – Fine Art Documentary Photographer

The chapters of The Aviary project

Project Outline: As a counter-balance to the modern life phenomena of fast-living, overconsumption and the social media obsession of celebrating ‘overdoing it’. This project focuses on reflecting upon what we have experienced and learned about ourselves and those close to us through the period of mass isolation and social distancing. Documenting both our resilience and struggle, to what life has thrown at us. Embracing the importance of slowing down and pausing for a moment and the importance of telling stories from the inside.

The Brief: The project will be a visual memoir; a conversation between photographs, text, the author and audience, capturing the resonance of subject-object relationships, and of narratives capturing people’s isolation experiences through their belongings. You are invited by The Aviary to produce a Photo Zine, one which they would stock at the gallery. The final piece will be a series of photographs and short autobiographical accounts, gathered together and curated as a meditative dialogue and conversation in a Zine, reflecting on stories through isolation.

Project results: please view the final results from Erin Keiller from Longbenton High School, Alex Wride, Ashni Nair, Srilekka Ratneswaran, Navya Saranga, Gina Elliott, Parul Tiwari, Xuehan Zhang from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.

Check out the zine here:

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“As a gallery owner, curator and collector I’m always on the lookout for talented creators to collaborate with and grasp opportunities. Seeing the work here gave me huge pride not only to be associated with TICE and everything they do to support young artists but because each one of the images compelled me to put myself in shoes of the person behind the lens.

A number of these images have a great commercial value and I would confidently hang them on the walls of my gallery knowing they would gather a lot of positive attention. In the same way, they got my attention, I’m sure they would get the same positive reaction from the public and find themselves in the art collection of many modern homes.”

Trevor Read
Art & Events Co‑ordinator, The Aviary.

Thank you & Well done!

All we have left to say is “Thank you & Well done”, not only to the students but to the teachers at Longbenton High School, North Tyneside Learning Trust, Royal Grammar School Newcastle, to the parents who helped along the way, the companies that have supported and contributed to these briefs and the TICE mentor (Jennine) that plugged away at the projects week after week.

And to the students, our final words of 2020 – we hope you have enjoyed these projects, we hope in years to come that when asked “What did you do when COVID-19 hit your shores?”, you can proudly present an industry written project you did, achieved, quite frankly smashed. Well done and congratulations from everyone here at TICE. It’s been an absolute pleasure!

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