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Students from UCA and China’s ZUMC team up to research ways photography transcends language barriers

UCA Farnham students have been exploring ways in which photography transcends language barriers, as part of a project carried out in partnership with students from the Zhejiang University of Media Communication (ZUMC), in China.

Led by Professor Anna Fox, students and graduates of (BA) Hons Photography and MFA Photography at UCA Farnham carried out the online project with students from ZUMC. The resulting work was exhibited at the Lishui Photography Festival – a renowned bi-annual festival in China, which showcases the work of thousands of photographers each year.

Professor Fox said: “This collaboration between students from the UK and China emphasised the manner in which photography is a language without borders. Students were put into pairs, with one China-based and one UK-based student forming each partnership. The students worked together without necessarily being able to verbally communicate, due to their language differences, and it enabled students to use photography to communicate and translate ideas.”

The project, This is our land – Speaking in photos, resulted in a range of high quality photographic work which was selected to be displayed at Lishui. Students from both universities travelled to the exhibition to see their work on display.

Orande Mensink, a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Photography at UCA, gave a speech on the project to the First Phase Photography Education Forum in Lishui, and said: “This project gave students a number of perspectives on intercultural communication, explored in various contexts. It also increased the students’ self-reflexivity about cultural contexts and relations.”

Following the opening ceremony for the exhibition, students had chance to view their work on display. The collaborative project was made possible through the curatorial direction of Professor Anna Fox and Orande Mensink, from UCA, and Yu Zu from ZUMC.

Following the exhibition, Professor Fox held a solo exhibition and workshop at the Light Gallery in Hangzhou, which the students had the opportunity to attend.