IAP Support Group Inaugural Meeting

Who am I

Today was the inaugural meeting (on-line of course) of the IAP support group. It was set up at short notice, so I was delighted that 6 people including me attended. Oddly enough a high proportion were from Scotland. As it was our first meeting, we started by telling each other a little bit about ourselves and where we are:

  • Zoe (me) – I am a retired paediatrician and live in Dunfermline and decided to take a degree to keep my mind awake. I have taken pictures all my life as my stepfather was a professional photographer. My long-term interest is in working with the stories of people with ASD (autism). At present I am waiting feedback for A3 and am working on A4.
  • Iain – from Edinburgh – says he has always been ‘into’ photography but having seen the work of someone he worked with that was different from what he was used to he was hooked. He’d started the degree as he felt he was in a rut and has learned more than he expected to. Presently on A4.
  • Julia – from Norfolk and also retired, said I love photography and started it following her grandmother’s footsteps who was a refugee, initially from Russia then Germany, and also a photographer. She is presently doing archival work with her grandmother’s images. She commented the OCA work has taken her to places with her photography that she would never have thought of going. A reluctant reader of formal texts. Presently on A5 and awaiting feedback for A3 and A4.
  • Caroline – living in the north east of England and recently returned from Dubai(?). Works for a graphic design company so very up-to-date and confident with all the technical stuff. Was initially frustrated as she couldn’t get the photos to tell the story she’s wanted. Likes the creative challenge given her by the OCA. All of her assignments have been autobiographical as recently returned to England and in ‘virtual lockdown socially’ even before the real one began.  Presently on A5.
  • Debra – from Brighton and works full time in the NHS. Has done photography since a child. She loves the creativity of the courses. She wanted to do a degree to prove she could. She is doing this to be able to be in contact with people who are of a similar mindset and also wanting to expand their knowledge. She is a member of a very supportive camera club having checked out several that were more rigid. Presently on A1.
  • Ben – from Devon but living in Glasgow at the moment is a military photographer and videographer which has taken him on several amazing journeys including to Antarctica where he worked with WWF and the navy. He has also done political photography. He is taking the degree because he wants to be able to move into teaching/lecturing and needs the academic side to back up the practical side. He finds the art degree far removed from his usual day to day work. Presently on A2 band just submitting CN (good wishes for that).

I then gave a quick plug for the Scottish OCA Study group as several people her are from Scotland or the north of England. Meetings will restart when possible:


We spent some time discussing tutors and their role. Most people have had generally good experiences. There is a general awareness that the tutors all have multiple students and little (not enough) time to give to each one and also that they work to a strict timetable – so if you submit work without it you may well have to wait. Iain noted that his tutor had helpfully suggested that he look ahead at all the up-coming work needed so if he had and opportunity to take relevant images he could. People are finding the additional tutorials given by Andrea Norrington very helpful. All her talks so far can be found at:


We spent some time discussing the new arrangements for assessment. Ben (who is going though it now) had the formal information to hand and will send it on to the group (has done, thank you). His tutor had suggested that he spent some time looking at other photographers’ websites to see how they lay them out and bring attention to their images with the pictures usually being the first thing you see. I suggested looking at the information that came up on the recent assessment zoom by Dan Robinson:


We all agreed that one of the difficulties is getting critical and informed feedback on out work (especially in the work up stages) and also when we had changed it in response to our tutors’ feedback. We thought this group would be a useful way of taking that forward.

Future plans for the group:

  • Next meeting in 2 weeks time (Sat 6th June at 1000). Ben will set this up via zoom.
  • Everybody to share blogs together with any specific questions they would appreciate feedback on before then
  • Everybody to look at those blogs!
  • Zoe to set up a Padlet to hold relevant information which should be easier than scrolling down a (very) long email trail. Done:


With thanks to all for attending. I had a great time and found it very helpful

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