The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many in-person events turn digital. Final year students have been no exception to social distancing rules and, in 2020, many were forced to forgo the experience of their degree show, which is the culminating event of three years of study.

Waterside, in Sale, Trafford has responded to this challenging new landscape and continued its burgeoning commitment to the region’s emerging photographic talent. In partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Castlefield New Art Spaces and Creative Industries Trafford, Waterside is providing the opportunity for graduates from 13 universities across the North of England to take part in the First Light project.

A panel of industry professionals have selected a student from each of the participating universities, from a number of new graduates put forward, to take part in a series of online talks, a publication and an exhibition. The talks will take place via Zoom for free between March 16 and June 8, 2021, and will bring together the photographers, writers and educators who are central to this project.

Main image: Zaneta Cinova


The First Light exhibition will open on May 22, 2021 and will showcase all the works by the selected graduates. 

First Light is curated by Mario Popham (Waterside’s visual arts coordinator) and Polly Palmirini (Museum of Half Truths). Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces in Warrington has been selected as the venue for the exhibition, with generous support from Culture Warrington and Warrington Council. A pop-up exhibition will be installed from April 17 in the window display of the venue providing a preview of the upcoming exhibition.

Exhibiting artists:

Zaneta Cinova – BA (Hons) Photography, University of Bolton

Kayleigh Cleminson – BA (Hons) Photography, Hugh Baird College

Dan Commons – BA (Hons)Photography, Leeds Arts University

Schnel Franzine – BA (Hons) Photography and Social Practice, UCEN Manchester

Alberto Gonzalez-Gabarre – BA (Hons) Photography, University of Chester

Talulla Greenwood – BA (Hons) Photography, Manchester School of Art

Nathan Johnson – BA (Hons) Photography, UCLan

Jaskiran Kaur – BA (Hons) Photography, University of Huddersfield

David Ketley – BA (Hons) Photography, Sheffield Hallam University

Jordan Mossom – BA (Hons) Photography, University of Cumbria

Lucie Prince – BA (Hons) Photography, University of Salford

Nick Small – BA (Hons) Photography, York St. John University

Sam Wallis – BA (Hons)Photography, Blackpool and the Fylde College