A successful partnership between the University of Ulster and Belfast Exposed Photography has struck gold in a prestigious careers competition.
The community photography initiative took top prize at the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS) awards for excellence ceremony, following its nomination by Ulster’s Career Development Centre.
For the past three years Belfast Exposed has been part of the University’s Professional Experience Programme (PEP), offering a six-month internship to graduates.
The partnership has proved such a success that it recently collected the gold AHECS Engagement Award 2013 for an outstanding example of constructive partnership involving a small/medium enterprise (SME).
Belfast Exposed functions as a gallery for contemporary photography, with an emphasis on commissioning and publishing new work. It holds a community photography archive and runs an extensive education outreach network.
The company offers vital preparation for Ulster’s graduates to enter a unique practitioner-focussed role in an industry offering limited employment opportunity. Previous interns are still employed there.
Seamus McConomy, Work Experience Development Manager at Ulster, who nominated Belfast Exposed said: “The company is located in the Cathedral Quarter and its close proximity to the Belfast campus offers a unique opportunity for direct engagement with core, creative, visual arts practitioners.
“This is evident in the support it provides to the Career Development Centre throughout the academic calendar, including organising creative careers’ events, workshops and presentations.
“From the outset, Belfast Exposed has actively engaged in the development and promotion of the PEP experience. It has generated bespoke opportunities and in-house mentoring support for its interns.
“Belfast Exposed staff have made themselves available for University staff visits and consultations and have facilitated video recording to showcase the impact of participation.
“The company has shown dedication and commitment to the support of Ulster graduates in their career paths. This is highlighted by their success in winning the AHECS Awards for Excellence – Engagement Award 2013.”
Ciara Hickey, Gallery Manager at Belfast Exposed said: “As a partner in the Professional Experience Programme, we can provide hands-on experience and access to a network of artists, curators and writers for Ulster graduates.”
Caption (left to right): Seamus McEvoy (Chair of AHECS and Head of Career Services at University College Cork); Seamus McConomy (Work Experience Development Manager at the University of Ulster); Ciara Hickey (Gallery Manager at Belfast Exposed Photography) and John Hennessy (Chairman of the Higher Education Authority – Republic of Ireland).