Further to the WeAreOCA post advertising this role a week ago we now have a volunteer candidate, Andrew Fitzgibbon, and you can find his details below. If no further candidate notification is received within one week (by end of Tuesday 18th July) Andrew will become the new OCASA Representative for Photography and the Vice President role.
As an analogue baby, who grew up with vinyl records, and lived through the rise and fall of both cassette tapes and CDs, my early experience of photography was film; a student with a tank-like Zenit camera, enjoying darkroom smells and magic. Back then, photography was very much second fiddle to my first creative passion, the electric guitar. However, in recent years, as international travel with my day-job became increasingly security conscious and travel-guitar unfriendly, I turned back to photography for a creative outlet. I developed a passion for walking the streets of foreign places of an evening or over a weekend stay. I came to enjoy the contemplative way of looking so much that I decided to study photography seriously and found the OCA (also more portable than an electric guitar!). I started studying early 2015, have just completed my final level 1 module, and am feeling excited about starting level 2, landscape.
The non-photography bit: I was born and grew up in Somerset, England. As a young man, I followed a girlfriend to Hull and have lived in various parts of Yorkshire ever since. I’m now 52 years old and married (not to the same girl) with two boys and live near Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. My extended family includes horses, sheep and hens. I am a qualified accountant and spent many years doing that, but thankfully I no longer own or use a calculator and instead run an operational review and investigations team for a large multi-national business.
I’ve learned that students come to the OCA with many different motivations and preferences for learning and interacting with other students. I also understand that for many, away from formal education for years, or in formal education for the first time, there can be uncertainty and anxiety about what to expect. The changes in the OCA as it joins the University for Creative Arts may add to those concerns, even if ultimately unfounded. I see it as an important role for a student rep to work with the OCA in ensuring the variety of student needs are met, in a way that is consistent with the need for the OCA to remain healthy for future generations of students. Also, vitally important is the effectiveness of communication; I think the student rep has an important role hearing what students have to say and feeding that back to the OCA if communication on any topic needs to be improved.
I am an active member on the official OCA forums, which are my preferred route for sharing and obtaining feedback on my own work and contributing to the discussions on the work of others. If I were to be appointed to the role, I would ask to rejoin the unofficial channels to ensure I hear what is being said there and ensure that I am contactable through those channels (while of course offering good reasons to use the official forums). I appreciate that for some of us interaction is important and that for others, the enjoyment is in quietly studying without too much interaction. I believe this needs to be understood and respected.
Of course OCASA will not satisfy everyone on every occasion, but as someone once sang, ‘you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need!’