The NEPN team (Alexandra Moschovi, Carol McKay, Arabella Plouviez, Dave Harvey, Amanda Ritson) is based in the Northern Centre of Photography, University of Sunderland. With support from Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, NEPN functions as a research and development agency for photography in the North East region. Since 2009, the team has commissioned a number of major new photography projects, as well as producing the region’s first International Festival of Photography.
NEPN also runs a regular programme of public talks and seminars by leading photographers and experts in the field, while also offering professional and post-graduate mentorship. The team also develops live learning opportunities for current students and graduates through an on-going series of projects that involve students, staff and external organisations working together as partners.
In working to develop the profile of photography in this way, NEPN aims to attract high quality photography students to the University. The rationale for the team’s approach stems from signature pedagogies in Arts and Design that aim to engage students and graduates in communities of practice, in ways that help build the confidence of students as active cultural participants, as consumers as well as producers. The NEPN team also believe that enhancing such opportunities for ‘live’ engagement is particularly important for students who are sometimes resistant to more traditional academic modes of learning (who do not always respond to the traditional classroom or lecture context). It is also a means of encouraging students to develop ownership of the need to learn and to understand the value of social learning.
With partners across the region, the team is developing a second International Photography Festival for autumn 2018. As part of this, they will work alongside an extended community of students and graduates to produce a showcase exhibition (‘New Talent’).
NEPN is particularly proud that its model of collaboration and exchange between academics, students and the wider cultural sector has been recognised beyond the University and that photography has been identified as a key strength in Sunderland’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.
University of Sunderland