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My experience with Interchange – Student blog

Second year Graphic Communication student Nat shares with us their experience of Interchange 2021. Interchange is an annual series of workshops and talks which give them a chance to try something in their chosen degree or try something new! Nat attended various sessions over the two days and explains what they thought of them.

The art of presenting

This session was all about developing your presentation skills, from how to engage an audience to how to structure your presentation, including an opportunity to put your learning into practice at the end, through a ‘you are the expert’ section and preparing a short presentation about anything.

I found this session really useful and insightful, specifically around how to keep an audience engaged both in a digital and in-person format. I did end up chickening out of presenting my short presentation at the end, but this was an extremely valuable session.

book and laptop

Working class experiences of academia

The Working Class experience talk was focused on BA Photography Lecturer Ross Trevail’s experiences coming into the art industry from a working class background.

Being a graphic communication student, I didn’t find the photography itself as something I could apply in my own work, but the general concepts Ross was discussing, as well as the topic of the working class resonated with me and was a really interesting insight and something that could be applied to all creative fields.

This included the concept of ‘critical thinking vs. lived experience’, and how a lot of the time the critical thinking is a lot more valued than the lived experience someone may be trying to portray.

The Arts and Playing in the Dress-up Box – a Queer perspective on the photographic self-portrait.

The queer perspective on the self-portrait talk was definitely not what I expected. When booking, the description said to come with an open mind, and I was really intrigued.

The talk was by Richard Sawdon Smith, a Dean at NUA and consisted of his work surrounding the AIDS and HIV crisis as well as the fluidity within identity, especially surrounding the LGBT+ community. Much like the other talks, it was really insightful. I look forward to the group talk sharing our own portraits as a result of this talk.

Though I am not a photographer by any means, I had fun having my own mini shoot around queer identity and expression.

Nat sat representing their queer identity in a photo shoot

As a whole, I found Interchange was an opportunity to have a glance into creative outlets other than graphics, coincidently joining a few photography talks.

It was a shame that a lot of the talks overlapped as there was a really interesting selection with plenty more I would have liked to attend. It did also look a lot different to how past years interchange sessions, with obvious limitations due to lockdown, but I found it an interesting and informative experience nonetheless.

Keep up to date with Nat’s work on Instagram.