Student Mentor @ North Warwickshire & hinckley College

For three weeks I became a member of the Photography staff at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College (NWHC). My placement at NWHC started when the students returned after Easter break on April 16th, which coincided with a member of staffs paternity leave. This meant I had a little more responsibility than expected and at times I was with a class on my own.

My time at NWHC basically consisted of advising students and participating in sessions. The courses I worked on over the three weeks that I was there were the Subsidiary and Extended Diploma in Art and Design – Photography, Foundation in Art and Design and HND Photography. The Subsidiary Diploma students were working on two projects during my time there called ‘Location Photography’ and ‘Significant Spaces’. Both the Extended Diploma and Foundation Students were working on their Final Major Projects (FMP).

Specifically, I advised students on their projects, university and keeping a blog. A couple of first year students were struggling getting their Location project done, so I helped them outline their intentions for the project, and together we organised their remaining time using planning sheets so as to realise their intention. The college tutors wished that I talk to the second year students about keeping a blog for their FMP as I was the first student to do so when at the college. I gave the 2nd year students advice on which blogging platform to use, and instructed that their blog should echo their sketchbook work. Each second year student now has a blog to support their FMP. All the students I worked with were interested in University, and I told them what to expect and what not to expect which relieved them a lot. Generally, I helped all the students one-on-one with their projects by giving them ideas for experimentation and locations as well as photographers and artists to research. I looked at each students work every week which allowed me to keep track of their progress and helped them to decide which direction they wanted to take the project in.

I took my college FMP sketchbooks into NWHC so the students could see what level of work is expected to achieve a Distinction. I gave a presentation to the Foundation Students on my FMP, explaining what I did and why and I showed them my blog for the project. The students were very appreciative to see my project because they now had a standard to aim for. I regularly participated in group critiques and discussions about photographers and photography documentaries.

College is a great place to work because the students are not fully independent yet which meant that I could advise them much more and help them with ideas if they were stuck for them. Having said this, I did feel that my time at the college was a little bit difficult as it takes time to settle in with people and I was only just getting to know everyone and learn what their projects were about. Also because the 2nd years were working on their FMPs they were mostly working on whatever they needed to at the time, whether it be researching or photographing which meant I didn’t have a lot of time with everyone. If I had done my placement before the students started their FMPs in March I would’ve been able to participate in more structured sessions. Having said this, it was great to be able to speak to and help the students that were researching their projects.

Overall I think I did a good job on my placement, I fitted in with both staff and students and contributed to the students work, which was my aim with this experience.

“During her work experience Helen observed classes delivered across a number of levels, i.e. Subsidiary and Extended Diploma in Art and Design – Photography, Foundation in Art and Design and HND Photography. She was able to provide individual support for students in relation to their projects. Helen discussed the progress of their work with the Subsidiary Diploma students, suggesting potential ideas for their project development. Helen ensured their individual targets were met and also set others. She also supported Extended Diploma and Foundation students with their final major projects by individually discussing their aims for their project and suggesting further ideas or relevant artists to look at or interesting methods or techniques to employ. She also participated in a number of students’ crits.

 Helen was extremely punctual and was always polite and professional in her approach to both staff and students. Her presence in class was a welcome one and she her input was greatly appreciated. “

James Cunliffe

Course Leader – Subsidiary Diploma in Art and Design (Photography)

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One Response to Student Mentor @ North Warwickshire & hinckley College

  1. Pingback: 20 Days Experience « HELEN KUCHTA

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