Photography and Social Practice at UCEN Manchester - UCAS

UCEN Manchester

Degree level: Undergraduate
Awarded by: Sheffield Hallam University

Photography and Social Practice

Course options

Course summary

Discover your own creative practice in photography through UCEN Manchester and Open Eye Gallery. Photography is now arguably the most important visual media – everyday billions share their lives using photography on social media, all goods and services use photographs online and in print. The speed at which it moves keeps pace with changes in all parts of our lives and society and is able to reflect those developments in a way that is unique to photography. And within this expanded field, quality photography has more impact than ever before. This impact ranges from the social responsibility of the photographer themselves, to the subjects in focus, to the communities and groups that are engaged with the image making process. This useful and innovative course nurtures the skills, creativity, knowledge and ideas necessary to prepare you for a broad range of photography careers - from art, or education to commercial sectors like fashion, editorial or advertising. A solid grounding in photographic history will ensure confidence in your specialism. You will be encouraged to think critically, take risks and explore your creative potential, with opportunities to experiment with analogue and digital photography, moving image, text or sound. Throughout, you will be supported to recognise transferable skills that may open doors to related fields – from marketing & brand development to jobs within the cultural sector. You will receive creative opportunities fronted by one of the leading photographic institutes in the country. Open Eye Gallery’s cutting-edge approach will engage you artistically and explore opportunities within community, education and public gallery sectors. Curators, educators and programmers at Open Eye Gallery will input throughout the course with a strong focus on your personal and professional development. These interactions will connect you to the sector during your degree, giving you a head start in networking, working in a professional context and capacity, and gaining first-hand experience of the art sector. Your learning will happen on campus and in the gallery, providing access to the experiences and career pathways of tutors and professionals with extensive experience in art-world and industry photographic practices. An honours graduate will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline. Through this, the graduate will have developed analytical and photographic techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many types of employment. The aims of this course are: ● To provide curricula, informed by external reference points, which develop a range of technical, professional, vocational, employability transferable and key skills appropriate to the level of the award. ● To facilitate the quality learning experience for each student, that fosters engagement with their programme of study and promotes independent study and life–long learning. ● To maintain a high quality, comprehensive and coherent Photography focused curriculum, informed by theory, practice and research, which enhances each student’s career opportunities. ● To encourage the creative and appropriate application of relevant methodologies and practices within the disciplines of photography in the promotion of innovation enterprise and employability. ● To enable students from a variety of backgrounds, the opportunity to have a Nationally recognised vocational training programme based in the North West of England that will provide photographers for both regional and national market places ● To instill within its graduates a knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary photography and approaches across the disciplines, which will fuel a curiosity and ambition within them and to contribute to the development of that profession


Level 4: The Process Introduction to Photographic Practices Photography for the Wall, Screen and Page Narrative and the Archive Seeing Photographs (Contextual Studies 01) Writing, Pitching, Presenting (01) with Open Eye Gallery Photography and Social Responsibility (01) with Open Eye Gallery A focus on the integration of a working Process. In this year students will lay the foundation for building a technique. Class work and practical activities encourage exploration and skills development in order to meet the challenges of Level 5. This is facilitated through four practical units which last for 6 weeks, and two socially engaged and contextual studies units. Students normally work in classes of no more than ten and meet weekly to critique and feed into each other’s work. The practical sessions are conducted in studio situations and demonstrated by the photographic tutorial team. Level 5: Challenge Photography in Place Photography and Social Responsibility (02) with Open Eye Gallery Collaboration and Exhibition Seeing Photographs (Contextual Studies 02) Writing, Pitching, Presenting (02) with Open Eye Gallery Socially Engaged Practice (01) with Open Eye Gallery Lays out the major technical challenges that are indicative of the photography industry expectations and provide opportunities to test the work established at level 4 and prepare students for the professional expectations introduced at Level 6. The second year enables students to choose the theme for their practical projects informed by their learning from their lectures in the first year. Level 5 is also an opportunity to experiment with diverse media such as multi-media. They are also to create a self-published photobook and to organise and curate an exhibition in collaboration with Open Eye Gallery. Level 6: Professionalism. Seeing Photographs (Contextual Studies 03) Professional Development with Open Eye Gallery Personal Practice Body of Work for Public Consumption Socially Engaged Practice (02) with Open Eye Gallery Curating Photography and Visual Culture with Open Eye Gallery A focus on the physical, intellectual demands and the development of the necessary employability skills needed to progress into the professional industry. Provides a range of learning opportunities commensurate with industry expectations in order for students to apply advanced practices and methodologies with skill and precision in line with national industry standards. The final year enables students to consolidate their oen personal practice through a final major project to be negotiated with their tutorial team. The results of this are exhibited in a degree show with Open Eye Gallery.

Assessment method

Due to the vocational objectives of the programme the assessment strategies primarily evolve around exhibitions, publishing and portfolios which are used to evaluate the levels of the skills and knowledge learned in class and through independent study. This practical approach is supported by written evaluations, presentations and research papers to build and develop reflective practice and critical skills. Students will also benefit from traditional/academic assessment strategies which are employed for the contextualising and critical theory modules that include an essay and presentation.

How to apply

Application codes

Course code:
Institution code:
Campus name:
City Campus Manchester
Campus code:

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

• GCSE English Language A* to C or 9 to 4 • Access to HE Diploma • Mature applicants (aged 21 or over) who are able to demonstrate relevant skills or knowledge gained in employment or vocational activity will be considered and may be invited to interview.

Additional entry requirements


English language requirements

• If English is not your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or equivalent.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £8900 Year 1
Northern Ireland £8900 Year 1
Scotland £8900 Year 1
Wales £8900 Year 1

Tuition fee status depends on a number of criteria and varies according to where in the UK you will study. For further guidance on the criteria for home or overseas tuition fees, please refer to the UKCISA website .

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Provider information

Visit our website

UCEN Manchester
Ashton Old Road
M11 2WH

Clearing contact details

UCEN Manchester Clearing

0161 674 7777

Additional information

Monday-Thursday= 8.30am -4.30pm Friday= 8.30am -4.00pm August 15th= 7.30am-6.00pm

Course contact details

UCEN Manchester Admissions Department


Photography and Social Practice at UCEN Manchester - UCAS