Collective Strategies

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“The main difficulty for graduates is having the confidence to know that what they are contributing is valid and of value,” says Beverley Carruthers, leader of London College of Communication’s undergraduate Photography course. “Compared with the outside world, university is a supportive and encouraging environment. Once students have graduated, not only are all the resources from the university gone, but so are the relationships with peers and tutors.”

In an effort to support recent graduates in the transition from university to working photographer, LCC has partnered with – an online platform that supports artists by organising festivals and workshops – to launch a public programme of talks and workshops. Through an open call, After School – Collective Strategies will select 18 recent photography graduates to participate in a series of free collaborative workshops, held once a week over the course of three weeks.

The initiative will culminate in a group show in Autumn 2019, the organisational cost of which will be covered by the programme. Divided into groups of six, workshop participants will work with either the visual artist Alejandra Carles-Tolra, photographer Hal Silver, or the Hemera Collective, a photography curatorial collective.

Each of the workshops will focus on different aspects of collaboration. Carles-Tolra will explore the topic An Uncertain Present, looking at the identities that define our communities, and whether these lose or gain strength during times of change. Silver’s Calling on the Dead workshop sessions will explore various strategies for developing a collaborative practice, through games, role-play and costume making. The Hemera Collective will present Nascent States, looking at collective relationships, where the group may correspond with the work they are making.

Across the programme, participants will be encouraged to collaborate to create new work, which will be presented at the group exhibition. They will also receive support through regular meet-ups and the peer networks they form during the workshops.

The initiative is “a possible way to share the impact of the cut-throat industry,” explains Carruthers. “It is also a way to support each other through times when confidence can go missing, or become deflated due to negative experiences.” In combining the various expertise of the initiative’s leaders with the series of group workshops, Collective Strategies hopes to challenge the view of photography as a solo pursuit, and instead demonstrate working collaboratively as a valuable methodology. 

LCC and are issuing an open call for final year students and recent graduates who feel they would benefit from these workshops. Applications close on 23 April. Find out more here.