Sam Lyne — My Dearest Beatrice

5 Collectives To Keep An Eye On This Degree Show Season

by Evan Merner for #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine

It’s one of our favourite times of the year again: Degree show season!

Up and down the country, students are working on their final bodies of work, ready to showcase all of the graft and talent that goes into creating some mega exhibitions. We’ve made it really easy for you this year and rounded up five photography collectives that we think are worth checking out.

Connor Butler — Me, Myself and I


XXI is a group of just under 100 students from Nottingham Trent University. Split into 15 smaller exhibitions spread across the city, XXI is the university’s 21st annual NTU Degree show photo festival and one not to miss. Covering a range of subject matters, visual styles and political stances, each photographer covers their own field of interest that they have come to understand over the course of a year’s research project. The festival runs from the 30th May to the 9th of June but with such an impressive amount of content available for viewing, we recommend checking out XXI’s website for specific dates regarding each venue (links below). A selection from the collective will also be exhibiting their work at Free Range in London from the 29th of May to the 3rd of June.

Jessie Scott — Girls
Corah Hawkins — HEARTS & BRAINS
Sandra Wesolowska — Flowers Magazine
Brodie Whiteley — Scars and Imperfections |


Napier Photo Collective consists of a group of 21 students from Edinburgh Napier University exhibiting from the 18th to the 28th of May on campus and then at Free Range later in June. Exhibiting vibrant and diverse collection of work this group of photographers covers subjects such as the notion of home, the Royal Lifeboat Institution and a local cycling community. Plus, they work across a range of genres so you can definitely expect to find something to suit your taste, especially if you’re a fan of medium-format. After an impressive show last year we’re very keen on seeing an impressive 2017 showcase. Follow them on Instagram for behind-the-scenes action and to keep up to date with their progress in the run up to opening night.

Olivia Roberts — Iron
Paolo Drusi — Sandy Bells
Kat Dlugosz — Lianna
Liadh Kelleher — Mary
Kendal Angharad Fewster — Ivy
Kirsty McLachlan


From Plymouth College of Art comes Ocular, a group of 15 students who will be exhibiting during the first photography week at Free Range (the 22nd to the 26th of June). Proudly showcasing an eclectic vision of fresh talent, Ocular investigates the use of the photograph within a range of contemporary contexts. The varying interests among the artists are evident in their diverse approach to photography which makes Ocular such a great collective, covering topics such as human identity, landscapes and mental illness. The work also takes advantage of the potential that can be provided by using mixed media and images from family archives.

Basia Pruska — Vertigo
Lucy Pike — Ephemeral
Aimee Smith — ERASE
Josh Huxham — Silence |


Fovea is a self-initiated showcase of work created by photography students from Ravensbourne College. As a collection of diverse outcomes, Fovea allows creative visions to become reality. Covering a multitude of genres such as documentary, fashion and landscape, Fovea sees a collection of work depicting life across the world, from a traditional British hounds hunt to the dusty roads of Morocco. Displaying their work at Free Range, you can check out the best that Ravensbourne has to offer from the 23rd to the 26th of June, in the meantime, take a look at their Instagram for a sneaky insight into the stunning range of images being exhibited

Joseph Thompson
Sam Goodridge
Taz |

UOS Degree Show

The University of Suffolk’s degree show is a vibrant collection of 15 emerging artists who will be exhibiting from the 23rd to the 29th of June at 5th Base Gallery in Shoreditch. Their showcase covers a wide array of topics from amateur wrestlers to motherhood and everything in-between. Follow them on Instagram where they’re keeping a visual diary of their progress so far…

Alex Dragan
Holly Wright
Abi Gilhooly
Vicky Swarbrick |


In addition to this guide on our top 5 collectives to visit this season, we’ve also done spotlight interviews with the talented soon-to-be-grads of Coventry University’s Unwritten. As Coventry Alumni, this is one close to our hearts.

Check out the articles here (Nilupa Yasmin / Elle Heaps) or head over to their Instagram where each artist has been doing daily takeovers in the lead up to the opening night at the end of this month.

If you haven’t already noticed, several of the collectives featured on our list are exhibiting at Free Range in London. This is a brilliant platform that was set up in 2001 in order to provide graduates with the opportunity to showcase their work on a much wider scale. As the number one platform for creatives, Free Range annually presents the work of art and design students from all over the country. It’s one of the best places to check out some incredible new work and spot emerging talent before anyone else! It really is one of the highlights on everyone’s calendar each year so make sure you pay the show a visit at 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL.

It’s open from the 15th of June to the 17th of July and is split into individual weeks dedicated to each creative sector with 2 whole weeks dedicated to photography!

Still got degree show fever? Check up last years round up of our favourite Free Range shows week 1 and week 2

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