352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 1 (Introduction and Proposal Writing Briefing Workshop)

On Wednesday 7th January 2015, I attended my first day of lectures dedicated to the 352MC Professional Photographic Practice module or Final Major Project. To start us on this module, we began with an introductory lecture taken by our module leader, Anthony Luvera, where we discussed the module aims, learning outcomes, the assessments, the degree show, and examples of proposals and works from Anthony’s “Assembly” project. Following this, we then had a small break before attending a Proposal Writing Briefing workshop taken by Caroline Molloy. Below you’ll be able to find the notes from each of these three sessions:




Module Aims:

  • To develop theoretical, conceptual and professional issues that underpin production within a chosen area of practice.
  • To critically reflect, contextualise, comprehend and create work within their chosen specialism/s.
  • To relate their own ideas for production to those of other practitioners and to become increasingly aware of their own position within their chosen community of practice
  • To be self-reliant and develop methods of self-evaluation and reflective self-criticism.
  • To develop an initial self-defined study proposal
  • This proposal will form the basis of their project plan, which will develop project and time management, technical, creative, critical and analytical skills in relation to their research, development and production process
  • The module will also develop transferable skills in research and evaluation, verbal and visual communication, information retrieval and independent study


Intended Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate advanced research skills, creating a viable and relevant basis for their project
  • Apply critical analysis when communicating themes and ideas about professional photography clearly and comprehensively in visual, and written forms
  • Develop their professional independence by defining their own position clearly, with respect to existing bodies of knowledge and practice
  • Evidence a continued professional commitment to the evolution of their practice
  • Communicate effectively through an extended critically informed body of work as appropriate to a specified market
  • Produce high quality photographic material within a self-defined and extended body of work



352MC Assessment Part 1

Assessment Part One – 30%

  • Marked on LO 1-4
  • Consists of two sections:
    • Project Proposal
    • Evidence of Research and Development
      • Experiment – Include contact sheets, mock-ups, first drafts etc.

352MC Assessment Part 2

Assessment Part Two – 70%:

  • Marked on LO 2-6
  • Consists of two sections:
    • The Body of Work
    • Reflective Report



The Degree Show:

  • The venue of the Degree Show is decided by a university board that organizes the university’s Degree Show – the venue is therefore unknown as of yet (but it is suggested that it may be the Lancaster Gallery)


Example Proposals and Work by Anthony Luvera:

  • Anthony showed us some proposals that he created for his piece of work “Assembly” – this was used to help us understand the process behind writing proposals and the development of the original idea into the final photographic works
  • Had to write more than three different proposals for “Assembly” – these included the photographic piece proposal and the funding proposals
  • With funding proposals, when approaching a large company, before you talk about what/how much you need, tell them how it would benefit their company to be associated with the work – e.g. advertisement on project website
  • Although funding is important, think about your overall outcome and choose appropriate methods for the presentation of your work




“Photographers Sketchbook” edited by Stephen McLaren

and Bryan Formhals http://www.amazon.co.uk/Photographers-Sketchbooks-Stephen-McLaren/dp/0500544344


  • What is a project proposal? – The term references a document, that sets out the overall plan of the project
  • Why do we need a proposal? – To clarify the intentions of the project, define your aims and anticipated outcomes
  • What is the goal? – Convince that your project has value and that it can be completed on time
  • Why do we need a plan? – To give your plan the best opportunity of success
    • Things can go wrong – Run out of time (very common); Poor choice of development methods/tools; Mismatched expectations; No budget to finish the project


Project Propsoal Content:

  • Title
  • Introduction and proposed area of study (context and relevant research)
  • Aims and objectives (aim = intention – objective = goal)
  • Methodology (how you are going to make the work)
  • Resources
  • Timetable


Introduction – Context:

  • What is the background to your projects?
  • Set the scene, lay the foundations
  • What’s the problem?
  • Why’s that interesting?


Introduction – Related work/research:

  • This acknowledges and demonstrates you have an understanding of what has already been done in your area
  • That you understand the background to the proposal and aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel
  • It does not have to be completely specific but should be related to your area


Aims and Objectives:

  • Aim – what do you hope to achieve? A statement of intent
  • Objective – a way of meeting the aim. What steps you take to meet the aim
  • Objectives should be SMART
    • Specific – Be precise about what you are going to do
    • Measurable – You will know when you have reached your goal
    • Achievable – Don’t be over ambitious
    • Realistic – Time/money/skills
    • Time constrained – Give yourself a working timetable


Methods and restraints:

  • This is the how


Points to consider:

  • Project description – Give your project an identity; what you are doing and why?
  • Project timetable – Include research and development, production time, marketing/advertising, presentation/showcase, and evaluation
  • Project location – Where are you undertaking the project; do you have an exhibition venue lined up?
  • Do you have agreed participation from collaborators/subjects/location?
  • Budget – Be aware of what funding you have or don’t have


Working Methods:

  • What is your working process?
  • How do you think through your ideas? How do you allow the to develop and change?
  • Who is you critical friend?
  • How does it work for me?


ACTIVITY – Preparing a Proposal:

Identify one of the bodies or work below and complete a project proposal as if you are about to embark on this particular body of work.

Think about how you can formulate the proposal based on what you know about this project and what you need to know before you can start it, the aims and intentions of the project and how it may develop.


Title – “AKA Kurdistan” by Susan Meiselas


  • Area of study
    • Kurdish refugee camps
    • Gulf war
    • Where the Kurds were fleeing from
  • More interested in the journey from where the refuges travelled from rather than war which is what the media were mainly focusing on
  • Searching for identity for the Kurds

Aim and Objectives:

  • Aim – to create a project focusing on the outlook of the refugees journey from war zones contrasting to the western medias concentration on war
  • Objective – raise awareness to the negative impact the Gulf War is having on individuals within the Kurdish area


  • Document the journey of Kurdish refugees through photographic mediums
  • Create a website where she can collate stories from some of the refugee individuals, providing the project with context from a personal and broadened point of view


  • Passport
  • 5 day visa
  • Camera
  • Computer access
  • Access to archived images


  • ?

What we didn’t include in the proposal:

  • Her change in methodology to use polaroid cameras to recreate family portraits – this would not have been included in the original proposal as this is a development in the project that she was not expecting to undertake