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Where Are You Now?

Rebecca Whitcombe

Rebecca Whitcombe

BA (Hons) Photography, Video & Digital Imaging 2015

Rebecca, from Sunderland, holds a bachelor's degree in Photography, Video and Digital Imaging and is currently studying a Master's degree in curating at the University of Sunderland, with a speciality in photography and video.

As an artist and curator her practice focuses on familiar representation and histories, more recently exploring the change that digital technology causes to our domestic archive.

While in the first year of her degree, Rebecca set up the online magazine Edition, which aims to showcase the work from all levels of her Photography, Video and Digital Imaging degree. The magazine has had great success with over 30,000 views worldwide and interest on a number of platforms. 

The 21-year-old said: “To date, my greatest achievement has been creating and publishing Edition magazine. It acted as a platform for photography students from the University to share their work to a wider audience on a worldwide platform.

“Edition allowed me to curate my first exhibition, which became part of The Social: Encountering Photography in 2013. It was this experience that cemented the idea that curating was something I wanted to explore in-depth in the following years.”

Asked about her biggest challenge, Rebecca commented: “My biggest challenge was my degree show exhibition. My work, entitled Goodbye To All That, focused on a personal family archive from the Second World War, a family that I had no personal connection to other than being a bloodline. Goodbye To All That explores the life my great-uncle Wilf should have been living at home with his family and the destructive force of war that tore him away.

“Not only did I have my own work to create for the exhibition, but I was also in charge of creating and publishing the degree show catalogue for Photography, Video & Digital Imaging, which had quite a tight deadline to create and send to the publishers.

“I was also in charge of the budget for our exhibition opening night and had to oversee all expenditures. All these challenges combined provided a great knowledge for future tasks I will take on in my career as a curator. So while at the time they felt challenging to overcome, in hindsight I am glad for the heavy workload and steep learning curve as it shaped the artist and curator I am becoming.”

After having the experience of exhibiting Edition magazine in 2013, Rebecca felt that she really wanted to pursue a career in curating and decided to enrol on the MA Curating at the University of Sunderland.

She explained: “While I greatly enjoy producing my own work, I had a greater interest in the theoretical side of the arts and providing opportunities for other artists. My degree show exhibition had elements of curating within my work so it felt like a natural progression to undertake a master's degree in the subject.

“The course provides an excellent mix of theoretical and practical projects, which allows for a range of experience and knowledge to develop. Through the programme I have already had the opportunity to meet a number of industry insiders and hear their opinions on the arts, which is helping to develop my own practice. I feel that undertaking an MA in Curating will provide the basis for my future goals while allowing me to explore what it means to curate within a digital, new media age.”

During the three years of her undergraduate degree, Rebecca says she found the theoretical lessons led by Alex Moschovi and Carol McKay inspirational.

She explained: “The entire Photography, Video & Digital Imaging teaching team were constantly pushing us to achieve the highest standard of work possible and explore all opportunities to help develop our practice.

“Seeing the achievements that the North East Photography Network (led by Carol McKay and Amanda Ritson within the department) accomplished during my time as an undergraduate student, influenced my decision to undertake the MA.”

Rebecca’s future plans include completing her masters and developing her practice and knowledge on the arts and exhibition curating over the coming year.

“I am about to start a volunteer placement at The Side Gallery in Newcastle, working on their archival imagery digitalisation and conservation project that I feel will provide a wealth of gallery knowledge,” she said. “Once I finish my course I want to pursue a career within curating within art galleries and continue with my theoretical writing.”

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