University of Sunderland Scoops Prestigious Photography Award

Winners pose with the award

University of Sunderland Scoops Prestigious Photography Award

The University of Sunderland’s North East Photography Network (NEPN) has picked up a prestigious award for teaching excellence by teams in higher education.

The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) has been given to NEPN by the Higher Education Authority. The award was presented at a ceremony in London at the end of January.

The North East Photography Network is a research and development agency for photography in the north east. It is hosted by the Northern Centre of Photography, which is part of the University of Sunderland.

The NEPN team, with the support of Arts Council grants, has been involved in a number of major photography projects and has produced the north east’s first ever International Festival of Photography.

NEPN also organises programmes of public talks and seminars given by leading photographers and experts. NEPN provides mentoring to its graduates and involves its students and staff in projects with external organisations.

The CATE Award aims to reward teamwork that promotes student success in the learning process. 15 UK universities were shortlisted for the award, and six of these institutions will now receive grants of £15,000 to help them share their team-working expertise and best practice.

The University of Sunderland’s pro vice chancellor, Gary Holmes, said, “It’s incredibly gratifying to see our commitment to good student learning and innovative teaching recognised on a national platform. These colleagues are at the forefront of practice in their field.”

Professor Arabella Plouviez, who is the head of photography at NEPN, said, “We are delighted to win the first ever CATE Award.”

“It is really fabulous for the work done within NEPN to be recognised in this way and even more of an achievement when you consider the quality of work done by the other 15 teams shortlisted. There was enormous competition.”

“NEPN has supported the development of a vibrant photographic community from which Sunderland students can benefit and to which they can continue to contribute post- graduation.”

“Collaborate working is part of the rationale for NEPN and is central to the way in which it operates with students and external partners.”

Carol McKay, senior lecturer and NEPN programme manager, said, “We are honoured to receive this award and would like to thank all our students and former students in the Northern Centre of Photography and NEPN who contributed so much to the success.”

“We are also delighted to be sharing our best practice with Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Ulster.”

The criteria for the CATE Award include ensuring high levels of student participation and involvement, and demonstrating excellent practice in areas such as assessment and feedback, student retention, graduate employability, staff development, technology and social media.

NEPN is currently organising a second International Festival of Photography. It is also preparing an exhibition, New Talent, which will showcase the work of its students and graduates.

NEPN is proud that photography has been recognised as a key strength in Sunderland’s bid to be made UK City of Culture 2021.

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