Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam released from prison

Shahidul Alam after his release from Dhaka’s central prison on 20 November. Photograph: Suman Paul/AFP/Getty Images

Shahidul Alam after his release from Dhaka’s central prison on 20 November. Photograph: Suman Paul/AFP/Getty Images

‘The award-winning Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam has been released from prison after more than 100 days behind bars, in a closely watched freedom-of-speech case.’ Read report from Guardian 20/11/2019 here.

University Centre Weston participated in a Mass Exhibition of Dr Shahidul Alam’s work in support of the campaign to free him. #FreeShahidulAlam

We have kept prints from the exhibition on display in the gallery at UCW Loxton Campus, more details and online exhibition at:


London Trip - Friday 7th December 2018

Careful reconstructions … The Long Duration of a Split Second by Forensic Architecture at Tate Britain. (Turner Prize 2018). Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Rex/Shutterstock

Careful reconstructions … The Long Duration of a Split Second by Forensic Architecture at Tate Britain. (Turner Prize 2018). Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Rex/Shutterstock

The Photography department is running an educational visit to London to visit the exhibition ‘All I Know is What’s on The Internet’ at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.  The Photographers’ Gallery also has an excellent Photo Book shop and Print Sales library which students can view. 

Interested students can also join staff to see the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize at The National Portrait Gallery or take the opportunity to photograph/ film London in the run up to Christmas.

Another option is to see Turner Prize 2018 at Tate Britain (£11 concs) which has a considerable amount of artists using video, film, moving image.

This is an opportunity for students to engage in primary research relevant to their upcoming final major projects.

We will be meeting outside Loxton Campus no later than 6.50am for a prompt departure at 7am.  We will be leaving London at 7pm to return home around 11pm.

It is essential to bring a notebook, pens and a camera.

The cost of the trip is £25, which includes return coach journey and entry to the Photographers’ Gallery.  Entry to the Taylor Wessing Prize will cost £3.50 with a student card.

It is also advisable to bring enough food to last a full day or sufficient funds to purchase lunch and dinner.

The trip is open to Photography and Film students. Book via the shop

A Struggle for Democracy: Images by Shahidul Alam

University Centre Weston is participating in a Mass Exhibition of work by award winning Photographer, human rights activist and digital pioneer Dr Shahidul Alam in support of the campaign to free him. #FreeShahidulAlam

‘Dr Shahidul Alam was arrested, tortured and imprisoned in Dhaka Bangladesh at the beginning of August. Shahidul is an internationally respected photographer, journalist and activist and a good friend and colleague to many of us working in the photography and the academic worlds here in the UK.

University of Sunderland, where Shahidul has been a visiting professor for many years, Autograph and Drik have proposed a mass exhibition of Shahidul’s work in support of the campaign to free him (#FreeShahidulAlam).

Shahidul has been a significant force both in photography and in photographic education and we feel it is essential that we raise our voice in support of him. On 28 October Shahidul is due to be awarded the Lucie Award at Carnegie Hall, New York.'

We invite as many organisations as possible to participate in an exhibition (8 – 28 October 2018) across the UK, in solidarity with the works recently shown at Drik Gallery Bangladesh, under the exhibition title ‘A Struggle for Democracy’. ‘ NEPN

UCW will be exhibiting Dr Shahidul Alam’s work in our Gallery space at University Centre Weston, Loxton Campus, Loxton Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 4QU
Monday 15th October - 28th October 2018. Tel: 01934 411 600



'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' by artist Paul Cummins. Poppy Memorial at Tower of London.

In 2014 the Tower of London will be commemorating the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War through a major art installation, in collaboration with ceramic artist Paul Cummins. The Tower's dry moat will be filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies -- one for each British fatality during the war.

A few weeks back I visited the World War 1 memorial, 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, at The Tower of London. It is an immense Installation and I like many of the millions that have flocked to see it found it a profoundly moving spectacle, despite the crowds, 'gentle jostling and sense of fun'.

However I do feel Jonathan Jones, writing in The Guardian,  does make some very important points and valid arguments regarding the memorial.

'By the time Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is completed – and it’s nearly there now – it will consist of 888,246 ceramic poppies, each representing a British fatality in the first world war. It is deeply disturbing that a hundred years on from 1914, we can only mark this terrible war as a national tragedy. Nationalism – the 19th-century invention of nations as an ideal, as romantic unions of blood and patriotism – caused the great war. What does it say about Britain in 2014 that we still narrowly remember our own dead and do not mourn the German or French or Russian victims?'

And in a later, article, defending his arguments against the severe backlash he wrote:

'In so explicitly recording only the British dead of world war one, this work of art in its tasteful way confirms the illusion that we are an island of heroes with no debt to anyone else, no fraternity for anyone else.

The war poet Wilfred Owen did not want us to remember him and his contemporaries with the bland sentimentality of this installation. He wished instead we could witness what he witnessed, a young man dying in a gas attack:

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer … My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.

A true work of art about the first world war would need to be as obscene as cancer. But Owen, who died soon after writing this, is “represented” by one of those ceramic flowers now, his bitter truth smoothed away by the potter’s decorous hand.'

Links to the full articles are below: