Bringing photography to Polmont

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This award-winning partnership helps undergraduate students take part in placement projects based in the HMP Edinburgh education department. The students work alongside prison education staff to give prisoners one-to-on tuition in basic literacy, English language and expression through creative writing, photography and film making.

Through our partnership with Polmont Young Offenders Institution and Fife College this creative photography project has given an insight into what life is like within Scotland’s national facility for male young offenders.

Edinburgh Napier Photography students put on creative workshops and over the following three months, the budding snappers picked up some useful techniques and worked hard to develop their own portfolio of images. For many of the young men, it was their first experience of working with a camera and they produced some inspiring results! Check out some of their unique ideas below.

See some of the learners' photography work

It’s not the first time Edinburgh Napier has got involved in the project – previously, BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Television students spent time helping learners develop a range of photographic and film-making techniques and collated their efforts into a short film and photography exhibition. The creative results then went on display at a celebration event which gave learners and their families the chance to celebrate their academic and personal achievements.

The film featured several learners talking about adjusting to life in prison and offered an introduction on the learning opportunities within the establishment. The photography was based on the theme of possessions and featured images of objects with personal significance to the learners.

After being encouraged to think about objects that were important to them, the learners were taught how to photograph using a range of camera techniques shown to them by the participating students. Photographs ranged from poignant images of rosary beads, CDs and other items of importance.

The project was facilitated in the establishment’s Fife College Learning Centre, part of the Offender Outcomes area which provided a number of natural creative learning opportunities for the project. It was facilitated by staff from Fife College and supported by Mary-Ann Kennedy, photography lecturer and Kirsten Macleod, film and TV lecturer, both of Edinburgh Napier.


The meaning behind the photos

University wins The Herald Higher Education Partnership Award

Recognition for link-up with Scottish Prison Service and Fife College