Why study our course?

Documentary photography and photojournalism at USW have a long and distinguished tradition. By joining us you will become part of that legacy. The course was originally established in 1973 by Magnum photographer David Hurn, and has developed into one of the leading documentary photography programmes in the world. Our graduates have gone on to work for prestigious publications such as the New York Times, National Geographic, Dazed, Vice, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, as well as creating content for news outlets such as the BBC, CNN and AlJazeera.

Our graduates have won leading awards such as the World Press Photo Award, the Taylor Wessing Photography Prize, the Prix Pictet, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award and the Jerwood/Photoworks Award. Our graduates have further received grants and scholarships such as the Ian Perry scholarship and the FNAC Grant.

Some of our graduates have also followed in the footsteps of David Hurn by becoming members of Magnum Agency, and others have found representation through agencies such as Panos Pictures. Their work has been exhibited worldwide, resides in private and institutional collections, and has been published in many photobooks.

As part of the course, you will learn to research and find stories, negotiate access, visualise your ideas and construct narratives. You will master communicating your stories to an audience by being trained in the production of exhibitions and publishing of photobooks, shooting and editing films alongside still photographs, and learning to create output for online and social media. You will learn to push the boundaries of your practice, and you will become familiar with what is next in the documentary tradition. You will learn to work individually as well as part of a team. In your final year, you are encouraged to do a major project further afield, chase international stories and pursue big ideas. You will be able to apply for dedicated university bursaries to fund these projects. Finally, you will create a professional portfolio and online presence, and your work will be showcased in the graduate exhibition and accompanying catalogue.

As a student of the Documentary Photography BA course at USW you will become part of a tight-knit and supportive community, make friends with colleagues from across the degree, as well as students from other courses. Your teachers will actively support you in developing your ideas and projects and will take a proactive stance in providing pastoral care and academic supervision. As part of the degree, you can join your fellow students on field trips within Wales as well as abroad. 

All members of staff on the course are engaged, committed and extremely passionate about documentary photography and filmmaking, coming from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds and bringing a diverse and multicultural approach to the course. Each member of staff has extensive experience working within the photography industry and you will benefit from their knowledge base and industry experience and contacts. Our lecturers are also involved in ongoing industry-leading research into documentary practice, which will further inform your teaching. Their work has been exhibited in world famous galleries and festivals such as Le Centre de la Photographie Genève, Fotomuseum Winterthur and Rencontres d’Arles, and Format Festival, published in magazines like Foam Magazine and Camera Austria, as well as academic journals such as The Philosophy of Photography and the Journal of Visual and Cultural Studies.

Why study in Cardiff?