St David's RC High School Resilience Project
During the first semester of the 14/15 academic year, 5 students from our BA (Hons) Photography course at Edinburgh Napier University volunteered to take part in a photography project with the pupils of St David’s RC High School, Midlothian. Their challenge: to work with third year pupils at the school to create a series of photographs representing the eight pillars of Resilience.
“Lindsay Morgan from the Placement and Careers Office, Colin Cavers the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Photography and I came up with the idea of having a joint photography project between Edinburgh Napier University and St David’s RC High School.” explains Jenni Campbell, Acting PT for English, Drama and Literacy at St David’s. “We thought that the theme of Resilience would be ideal because it’s a whole school priority, so I contacted the Art department, and they were very keen to get involved and we planned ahead from there. We wanted to capture the 8 pillars of Resilience through images with pupil input, and then to have an exhibition.”
For one period per week for 12 weeks, the photography students from Edinburgh Napier used their skills and experience to help the pupils design and produce stills for each of the eight pillars, namely; Optimism, Sense of Humour, Bravery, Capacity to Reflect, Empathy, Problem Solving, Communication and the Ability to Control Your Own Destiny.
“It’s been very successful.” says Fiona Leitch, Teacher for Art and Design at St David’s. “Bringing in the University students was great because of their passion for photography and because they’re also closer in age group to some of our pupils. It was great for the pupils to see students who are only a couple of years older than them but have a real passion for the subject.”
Leitch oversaw the classes taught by the Edinburgh Napier students along with her colleague Eilidh Gordon, who agrees the project has been a success.
“I think it has helped the pupils develop their team working skills because they were working in small groups, and it has also improved their communication skills. This is really important because they can apply those skills in other subject areas. The pupils were working with- in their eyes- professionals, so it allowed them to have hands on experience working with professional equipment and lighting technology.”
While the project has hugely benefited the pupils at St David’s, the photography students from Edinburgh Napier have also used the opportunity to get some hands on placement experience. Working with the pupils has given them the opportunity to test out their teaching skills in the real world.
Campbell says she wants the project to have a legacy at St David's.
“It has been a proper inter-disciplinary piece of work, between our Art Department, our English Department and Edinburgh Napier University. I think it has been really successful, and hopefully when we launch it across the whole school, we can then promote Resilience to every pupil, so we can help the pupils build their skills across their learning and across the curriculum.”
"It’s going to have a long-lasting effect"