Young women taking part in one of our recent Photography Clubs have been exploring Brighton Museum’s exhibition Anita Corbin: 100 First Women Portraits, which celebrates pioneering women of the 21st century.

From this, they were inspired to create a series of new artworks exploring their own lives and identities.

Our Photography Club is an initiative enabling young people to meet regularly, develop their camera skills alongside a professional photographer, produce photography and gain an Arts Award qualification. 

For this edition of Photography Club, we have continued a successful ongoing partnership with Royal Pavilion & Museums. The group of year 10 students are from Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) has been supported by photographer Marysa Dowling and the Royal Pavilion & Museums’ Youth Engagement Team.

Working with Dowling, the group’s activities included a tour of the exhibition with Corbin as she installed her work and a series of workshops. 

The workshops focused on introducing new techniques and using creative strategies for staging portraits. One pair of students worked together to make a triptych of photographs which demonstrated what friendship meant to them. Students also chose a setting for their portrait from a variety of interiors within the museum and the surrounding gardens. 

Relishing the freedom to explore, the young women responded enthusiastically to the exhibition’s themes, demonstrating their new found confidence with the equipment and to sharing ideas as a group. 


All images made by project participants with Marysa Dowling, 2020.

Today I loved taking photos and talking about my emotions


I loved taking photos in nature and using trees and experimenting with backgrounds.


During the project the girl’s confidence clearly grew. During the museum visits and our weekly sharing of images they became much more confident to give individual and personal responses. Most were keen to talk about their reading of the portraits they were seeing or making and considering representation and narratives. Through a series of smaller directives and simple portrait activities their visual literacy improved, in turn giving confidence to how they would direct and create portraits. 

Marysa Dowling 

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