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Photography Darkroom Enquiry

Discussion in 'Art and design' started by cdhall92, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. cdhall92

    cdhall92 New commenter

    Morning everyone.

    I have been teaching Photography for two years now in my current school. When I started, photography was only just introduced into the curriculum at KS5, it is now been introduced to KS4 students with a high intake this year, and next year. As a department we are well equipped with DLSR, Bridge cameras and access to Photoshop. With the popularity I proposed to my HoD and AP last year about getting a darkroom installed into one of the large cupboards in my room. I wanted a darkroom primarily because I believe it will improve understanding, knowledge, and skills in recording light and producing photographic images, and thus attainment within photography, and it is my specialism. After providing SLT links to the specification's for KS4 & 5, they are now questioning the need for a darkroom, as it is not a requirement but rather an optional choice. I have now been tasked in researching how having a darkroom will impact student attainment. Does anyone have any facts, figures or some sort of evidence on the impact a darkroom has within their schools photography curriculum?

    If you could share it would be much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    As noble is your cause to get a darkroom installed I think it would be difficult to persuade SLT. If you are a headteacher spending thousands for building work, chemicals, developer, fix, health and safety, maintenance time for you as a teacher or a technician - this becomes very expensive indeed. It's a rarity to have a darkroom and it's not easy to explain the magical experience of seeing a photograph come to life in the alchemy of traditional methods in this day and age of performance measures.

    It's the head who's going to be the one signing this off to governors. So, if your school is specifically supportive of the arts you have a better chance. Otherwise, the head may be thinking the money on this venture can be invested elsewhere e.g. a member of staff, new curriculum area, premises, etc. Unless you could come up with a model whereby the facility could begin to fund itself e.g. publicising evening classes/community outreach or something like that - the end has to justify the means.

    If there was clear documentation about the impact of the darkroom, there would be more schools doing it. However, I think a financial imperative comes into play which is a great shame for such experiences for students.

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