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Practice-led researcher explores the experiences of Birmingham students in new photography project

Photograph of a mask littered on school grounds From Two Metres, a photography project by PhD student Joanna Fursman, showcases how schools and students in Birmingham adapted to life during the return to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

Published online with the support of GRAIN Photography Hub, Joanna aimed to capture young people’s experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic and provided a platform to share their circumstances with the public.

Capturing visual insights of the pandemic 

Working with students and staff at James Brindley School and Cockshut Hill School, Joanna conducted a series of online workshops with students with the aim of instructing students on how to make observations and capture the images they felt were important.

‘The images are quick observations of how they think and feel,’ Joanna explains. ‘The images they chose to take demonstrated a distinct familiarity with the sitesbut also a developing familiarity with new objects, spaces, directions and their negotiation.’

The resulting photographs highlight the adaptations schools and students had to make during the second lockdown, focusing on touchpoints such as hand sanitising rituals, new routes and notices, open windows, arrows and stickers on carpets, sticky tape guiding movement, barriers and discarded masks.  

Exploring the changing nature of school 

Joanna’s PhD explores the different futures, potentials and possibilities of school, which is particularly relevant now, when concept of school and methods of learning are rapidly changing due to the pandemic.

Joanna says:

Joanna hopes the project communicates how important it is for young people’s experiences to be represented and how vital it is for them to be in control of that representation.

To find out more about From Two Metres and view the image gallery, visit GRAIN Photography Hub.