Matt Johnston is a photographer, educator and researcher based in the UK. His work in higher education has sought technologies (old and new) to enhance student experience and position learners as a significant contributor to national and international conversations around photography and publishing. This is realised through world leading work with open classes, visual aids and constant engagement with a distributed approach to pedagogy.
Impact of work
Matt’s pioneering work at Coventry University co-developing several open photography classes has received numerous plaudits from photography and education based peers around the world. Alongside this, Matt works to promote and enable discussion around the physical photobook, launching the Photobook Club in 2010. The project, which encourages groups and communities to form around the photobook currently has more than 50 active branches from Auckland to Bangalore.
The Photobook Club engages audiences in informal spaces both physical and digital whilst in the process opening up an area of discourse typically located only within specific locations and institutions.
During his time at Coventry University Matt has implemented a number of pedagogic strategies to enhance the photography course as well as the wider school and faculty - from module evaluations and the difficulties of quantifying satisfaction to the implementation of handmade readings to enhance text-ownership. He is considered an expert on the photobook as well as hybrid pedagogy and distributed authorship - his contributions have been recognised in exhibitions, classes, conferences, books and a variety of other events.
Plans for the future
Building on a number of initiatives Matt is currently fostering a closer connection between his approach to pedagogy and his work with photobooks – challenging the latter to break away from tradiitonal arts spaces and become an increasingly democratic and open medium. He is due to complete his PhD in October 2019 and is, at the same time, working with colleagues at Coventry University to see what publishing can do for the classroom.