Nigel Monckton is standing as a student representative for photography, this is his statement
Photography was part of my childhood as my father took his camera everywhere we went – mainly capturing us and a wide assortment of close-ups of nature subjects. I started photographing seriously in 1981, with an OM-10, doing the usual range of camera club subjects – landscapes , zoos, family, holidays and so on, but I had, and continue to have an interest in the way our whole impression of a subject is built from individual parts acting together. After a lull of several years when the costs of film based photography became incompatible with paying the bills my interest was re-invigorated with the purchase of a digital camera. I have had modest success selling stock images, and was a Wanderlust Travel Photographer of the Year finalist in 2010. I started a degree with the OCA in March 2010 because I wanted to do something more with photography than simply collecting photos.
The fine detail: I was born and raised in the south-west of England. I’m 54 and happily married with three children – the youngest of whom is about to start university. I have a degree in Maths and Chemistry, I work in public relations in the nuclear industry and I currently live in north west Cumbria. Apart from photography, my other interests include karate, tropical fish keeping and music.
From reading the forums it is clear there are many reasons why people sign up for courses with the OCA, and along with those reasons goes a wide range of needs and expectations. As I see it a key role of a student rep is trying to ensure that the OCA takes account of those needs and expectations while it is working out how to run it’s business and deliver the courses it provides effectively. In parallel with this I believe there is a role for OCASA in helping to communicate the challenges the OCA has to face to the student body. We are all part of one organisation – without students there is no college and vice versa.
I have been an active member of OCA related forums – official and unofficial – since I joined and it is clear to me that a key issue that faces both students and the OCA is how to deal with the isolation that many experience in distance learning. The recent discussions on future developments in the structure of learning activities and encouraging student engagement are an important part of that, and something that OCASA should, and clearly does, contribute to.
I do not expect that OCASA can please everyone all the time. In my experience it has represented the student body well since its inception and I would like to think I can contribute to its future development.