From education to employment

Degree Shows 2024: How photography can inspire a new generation of girls in sports

A student has combined her passions for sport and photography after an injury by showcasing young girls in sport who are breaking boundaries.

Kasey Taylor applied to study Photography at the University of Sunderland after an ankle injury sustained whilst playing football lead her to rediscover her passion to be behind the camera.

After three years of studying, Kasey hopes to pursue her aspirations of becoming a sports photographer.

Kasey said:

“I did photography at GCSE and I loved the outcome of my work. I felt like picking that up again, it was part of me.

“I just wanted to develop even more and take it onto academic studies to figure out how I can develop more into a professional photographer.”

Kasey’s final project, called Girls in Sport: Breaking Barriers, aims to highlight the barriers that young girls face when trying to be a part of sport.

Kasey said:

“We came across another student that had photographed children in STEM. And I took the idea and did my little twist on it because I really want to be a sports photographer and I thought while I’m doing sports photography, why not go to children in sports.

“Obviously I researched the types of sports and the efforts and barriers behind why children don’t want to participate.”

“I know that girls really struggle to be a part of sport, so I just brought everything together and decided to create my project Girls in Sports: Breaking Barriers.”

To share the young girls’ stories, Kasey has created a newspaper alongside her exhibition to capture their journeys in sport.

Kasey added:

“I originally wanted to produce three photos on the wall and then the idea of a hybrid take on my project came to light.

“I decided to create a book, then it changed into a newspaper because it’s like the sort of advertising and trying to get the word out about how girls in sport has not really pushed the boundaries yet.”

“All of them have different pathways, different stories to tell and I was really happy that they allowed me to take photographs of them and to tell their stories.

“Hopefully in 10 years I can revisit these young girls and see where they are at in life and see if they’re continuing their sport journey.”

Kasey’s work is being displayed as part of the University of Sunderland’s annual Degree Shows – a series of exhibitions across the city that highlights the range of artistic talent from the University’s final year art and design students.

This gives students the opportunity to exhibit their work publicly, which for many of them has been their first major public exhibition.

Professor Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design at the University, said:

“The degree show is a culmination of the hard work and dedication our students put into the final year of their course, where they build their professional practice, skills and experience.

“It is also a celebration of their creativity and the beginning of their exciting new journey as creative professionals.”

Below are some of the University’s other talented students whose work is being exhibited at this year’s Degree Shows.

Dan Waterston – Illustration and Design

Dan has combined his background in music with his studies to create illustrations using the song ‘Do Not Descend’ by the artist Ava.

Another source of inspiration for the artwork was the cover art of Eva’s EP, by Jessica Lee, which used white linework and a doorframe. Using this, and the song, Dan creates a world that goes beyond the cover art and dives deep into the imagery and emotion of the music.

Dan said:

“I started drawing and trying to copy the style, emulate a few things – you’ll see a lot of flowers moving in the background.

“It was really fun because it was about trying to create an abstract world of metaphors. It’s a very metaphorical song. There was a lot to unpack, and it was just great to try and place imagery to all of that.”

Zoé Bowler – Glass and Ceramics

Zoé has blended her passion for glass blowing and her part time job as a social worker to create an instillation to illustrate the difficulties of making day-to-day decisions.

The instillation, called Pressure Points, is made up of 21 hand-blown hollow glass pieces that will hang from the ceiling in a corridor that viewers will be able to walk through.

Zoé said:

“As a social worker there are those on-going decisions, or those feelings as though there is always that really difficult decision waiting to be made and feeling that something is going to come crashing down on me, the pressure.

“With it being a corridor, I wanted the person to really get involved in that feeling.

“The pieces were made using a metal mould, so they’re all the same but different sizes. The reason I chose black was because I really like the fact that they are quite reflective, and I wanted it to be quite stark with the white background.

“I didn’t want it to come across as too playful either and I just think black has got a really lovely deep feeling about it.”

Zoé also has received support from the University’s Futures Fund to attend masterclasses with artists such as James Devereux and Opal Seabrook to enhance her studies and creative practice.

Gabriel Bernardo – Graphic Design

Gabriel has created a yearbook with a creative spin for third year students who are graduating this year.

To capture the creativity and personality of the students, Gabriel has used long-exposure photography to explore the emotion in motion.

He said:

“This concept came with a bit of research on classical philosophy and the idea of movement seen as a vital source and the word emotion’s meaning as well in psychology.

“That’s why I chose long exposure photography because I was able to capture the four years of experience: all the stops, all the happy moments, all the sad moments through photography without putting the person or the student under too much pressure in front of the camera.”

The piece was originally requested by University staff who wanted to capture the students’ experience all in one book.

Gabriel added:

“The lecturers were my clients. I had to ask what do you think of this? Is this okay for what you’re looking for? Is this meeting your expectations?

“So, it gave me a bit more understanding of what a worker/client relationship can be.”

Catherina Pei-Wen Chin – Fine Art

Catherina channelled her emotions through contemporary classical music and paint to create art that reflects her creative process.

She was inspired by the music of Irish musician Jamie Duffy, Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi and German-American film score composer Hans Zimmer.

Her abstract art also embraces all the highs and the lows of her project, showing them through the vibrant colours and distinct textures that add life and vibrancy to the canvas.

Catherina said:

“It was not a smooth process at all, there was a lot of trial and error, there was not clear idea of what those painting would turn out to be.

“That’s what makes it fun, that’s what makes it interesting. I can be bold with my brush strokes and just play around with texture, opacity and a mixture of mediums.”

During her studies, Catherina was also nominated for the Freelands Painting Prize that celebrates outstanding painting practice at an undergraduate level.

Catherina added:

“It’s not just excitement, it’s anger, frustration, confusion. It’s the unpredictability behind and the intensity that I had in the process of creating this piece.

“It’s just full of emotions. You get frustrated, angry, confused and excited but it turned out good in the end. I’m very satisfied with it.”


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