Updated: Feb 19
Josh is a 2nd year Law undergraduate at the University of Exeter. In this post, read about his journey with photography, his new society @saturation_exe as well as his experience as a BIPOC student at the university. You can check out his photography here: https://www.instagram.com/watsonmyroll/
'Over the past few years I’ve been trying my hand at different forms of photography, but only really started to take it more seriously once I got to university. What started as just taking film photos of my mates developed into a way to enter a space in which I didn’t feel as uncomfortable looking different. I’d do this by taking my film camera on nights out and shooting for events at Cavern and Move. There’s something about having a camera in hand at these sort of events which just opened up conversations and people didn’t really care about what you looked like in that moment.'
'Like Leila, I’ve been lucky in that my uni experience has been largely positive and I haven’t been discriminated against at all. Nevertheless, I do still think that Exeter can do better. A moment that stood out for me in first year was when the law school hosted a lecture on diversity after one of our module lectures and the majority of people left. To me this is problematic, as an opportunity to have a conversation about diversity was immediately shut down, and left those who were already aware of the issues were left in an echo-chamber. Subsequently, it is no wonder so many feel as though they do not belong and subsequently enter spaces where they are forced to leave their authentic selves behind to fit into its character.'
'My creative experiences at uni in first year were not constant and I took photos where there were the opportunities to every now and then. I think that’s what makes second year more exciting. Over lockdown some friends and I started a society called @saturation_exe with the hope of providing a place where creatives could come together from both different artistic backgrounds as well as cultural backgrounds. Our first issue is titled ‘Origin’ which is pretty fitting, as it definitely provides an opportunity to look at identity in some more depth both visually and through written articles. Whilst COVID has definitely limited what we can do, we’re planning in doing a shoot directed by @moyoreis in which we explore Nollywood and Nigerian culture- so if anyone is interested in getting involved then please do message us!'
'In terms of this new academic year, I do feel like there has been a shift in perspective for a lot of people. For example, theatre societies like @exeterfootlights have consciously sought BAME people to play BAME roles, even if this means re-opening casting. In addition the creation of initiatives like @openingupexeter have created spaces in which discussions can be made about ways in which to open up theatre to underrepresented groups. Nevertheless, whilst progress is being made, the conversation is being led by students who are already quite aware of the issues. Subsequently, it would be great to see the university, or the guild, create ways in which the conversation can be extended to a wider student population; inclusion measures like diversity training just for society committee members isn’t sufficient.'
Photography by Hanife H Photos. @hanifehphotos