Lockdown creativity of LSFMD photography students

During lockdown we all had to find new and innovative ways to continue working and studying. Like many students of visual arts disciplines, the students of BA Photography and BA Visual Effects at UWL suddenly found themselves having to rethink their assignment ideas to fit the environment they found themselves restricted to. They created interesting perceptions of everyday life in lockdown. With limited in-person contact with the outside world due to restrictions, the inside of the domestic home became the new backdrop and family members were now the subjects of portraits, creating beautiful images of life during a pandemic. These works are displayed as part of Exposure 2020 which is the online degree show for BA Photography and BA Visual Effects consisting of a website and a 3D virtual exhibition space. The show was also featured as the main event in the Artsfest for LSFMD in 2020. 


‘Joshua’, Katie Welshman, 2020

‘One Day’
Katie Welshman is a 22-year-old student finishing her degree in BA Photography at UWL. Katie’s project is about loneliness.  Initially, she was going to explore loneliness in the city, but due to Covid-19 this changed instead to represent the loneliness many of us feel at this time. The work is influenced by the photographer Philip-Lorca DiCorcia because of the beautiful lighting in his work and his ability to capture portraits so effortlessly. All images depict Katie’s brother, Joshua, where they have both worked together to represent states many of us how found ourselves in to get through the pandemic.
Katie comes from a fine art background, with an interest in fine art photography, documentary photography and street photography. Her aim is to work further in photojournalism, and document people’s lives and tell their stories. In the future she hopes to change people’s mindsets through her work, and introduce them to circumstances they may not be aware of otherwise.

Rudraksh Thakur, Mumbai, India by Puja Bhatia, 2020

Puja Bhatia – ‘Miles Away’

This series was made by Puja from her apartment in Dubai. Using video calling, she was able to communicate and collaborate with friends in different cities across the world, planning outfits, poses, and lighting together. The collaborations were often playful, with friends dressing up and repurposing different parts of their homes as a backdrop. The settings were chosen as a place where the sitter could be calm in the face of a global pandemic. The series plays with the challenge of art directing a photoshoot, usually a hands-on process, at a distance. The series shows how a degree of closeness and friendship can be maintained using technology.

Puja grew up outside Mumbai, India. She later moved to Saudi Arabia and lived there for almost 10 years before settling in Dubai. Photography was a family legacy, from her grandfather, to her mother and her sisters. They created a spectacular family album. Puja enjoys taking fashion, advertising, portraiture and documentary based photography. She loves creating series-based projects and collaborating with other artists.

The work is also available to view as a virtual gallery https://www.artsteps.com/view/5eb294226a379e6fa4d99433
Creative People and Places Hounslow Visual Arts Programme created ‘Home’, an exhibition of work by ten students on the BA (Hons) Photography course at the University of West London, based in Ealing, and its partner institution Deutsche-Pop, based in Germany and Austria. The exhibition includes the works shown above by Katie and Puja, as well as many other talented students including Daniela Torres with Isolation in Dark Times; James Murray with My Family During Quarantine; Marta Woźniak with Home 2020; Martyna Taraszkiewicz with Deteriorate; and Keren Sequeira Bedroom Isolation Self Portrait with Brother (shown here in exhibition poster).
This image was taken by Keren as part of her final Major Project for her photography degree. Lockdown forced her to rethink her project, and she came up with the idea of photographing the space she lives in, and reveal just how isolating it is. She shares the room with her teenage brother, and her family also received a letter from the NHS determining isolation for 12 weeks. Sharing this small space is a challenge indeed. Even to get this one shot was a struggle. This image is a rare chance to see into another person’s most intimate space.  Because she can’t go out, Keren was inspired to push herself and create something at home in Hounslow. (https://hounslowvisualarts.org.uk/exhibitions/home/)


Paul Lohneis, Head of the London School of Film, Media and Design, said: “As home has become the space where we work, socialise and learn during lockdown, it can also inspire new creative outputs. This exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life, feelings, and hopes of our students as they explore their own lives as artists within our community.”

The exhibition is available online at hounslowvisualarts.org.uk and the collection will also join a touring exhibition within Hounslow Libraries.

Jan Lennox, Director, Watermans and Creative People and Places Hounslow, said: “Watermans is delighted to form this exciting collaboration with UWL through our Creative People and Places Hounslow programme. Our programme is about getting our local communities engaged with high quality arts and we hope that people in Hounslow and beyond will see this fantastic work by talented students living in their community – and perhaps are inspired to create their own lockdown images.”




Representations of the exhibitions above are stored digitally in the UWL archive for future generations. The UWL archive is collecting archives relating to the experiences of UWL students and staff during the pandemic. This could be in the form of a poem, photos, artwork, leaflets, letters, cards – anything which shows what life for the UWL community was like during these strange times. Memories such as these will help us explain how our lives were impacted by such a significant event as the pandemic and how we as a community adapted to continue learning and teaching here at UWL. If you have any material, whether digital or physical, which you would like to contribute towards UWL’s Covid memories project, get in touch with archivist Anne-Marie Purcell anne-marie.purcell@uwl.ac.uk. 

Collecting UWL’s Covid-19 memories

UWL archives NEED YOUR HELP to record the experiences of students and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic

UWL Archives

The situation has had an impact on all our lives and we need your stories to record what life has been like during lockdown. Future generations will look back at the pandemic as a key point in history so collecting records of our experiences will be crucial to help people understand how we have all lived through these past few months.

CC. Philafrenzy

We welcome anything that you have created/collected relating to the pandemic. You may have taken photos during your daily exercise around Ealing or your own local area; perhaps you created video diaries of your studies from home, or were inspired to record musical compositions or performances. We are also interested in collecting physical artworks, social distancing notices or messages of support for key workers hung in windows. Whatever it is, we encourage you to send it to us in order to create an archive of Covid-19 memories.

We are particularly keen to focus on the following areas for collecting:

  • How the physical spaces at UWL and the surrounding area have been transformed from busy and bustling to quiet and eerie;
  • The effects on students and staff working in the NHS and social care;
  • How students have reacted to and coped with the changes of moving learning online;
  • The changes to ways of working for staff including the challenges of working from home

Please contact anne-marie.purcell@uwl.ac.uk for further information about this project. Any material donated will be safely stored by UWL Archives indefinitely and will be available to researchers of the future. Donations containing sensitive personal information are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018.


Spotlight on: Tom Eckersley London Transport murals

UWL Archives is the proud custodian of two Tom Eckersley murals. These are part of a set of nine artworks originally displayed on the platforms at Heathrow Central Station when the extension of the Piccadilly line first opened on this day 42 years ago (16th December 1977). The murals were donated by TfL in June 2018.

Tom Eckersley Concorde tail mural

Mural on display at Heathrow Central Station c.1977










Eckersley was born on 30 September 1914 in Lancashire. In 1930 he began his study at Salford Art School where he was soon awarded the Heywood Medal for Best Student. In 1934 Eckersley moved to London with a desire to become a freelance poster designer. He was accompanied by Eric Lombers, a fellow student and future collaborator on commissioned poster designs.



Eckersley-Lombers posters were both eye-catching and functional and proved popular with advertisers. They supplied full size artwork with hand drawn lettering for their poster designs. Eckersley was also involved in the teaching of graphic design: he and Lombers worked as visiting lectures in poster design at Westminster School of Art. The poster became recognised as a design piece in the 1930s however they were restricted by tariffs imposed for displaying posters in public places. Eckersley’s bold, simple style was well-suited for the workplace safety posters he produced for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) throughout his career.


World War Two ended the Eckersley-Lombers partnership as they joined different military services. There was a decline in commercial advertising which led Eckersley to create posters for RoSPA which were aimed at factories that were part of the war effort. The posters are striking in their bluntness as with little text it is the illustration that catches the eye.

Eckersley originally joined the Royal Air Force for cartographic work but later transferred to the Publicity Section of the Air Ministry. In 1948 his contribution was recognised with the granting of an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to poster design. The ability of the poster to communicate complex messages was recognised so they became propaganda messages and instigated the development of mass media. The demand for government information posters reduced after the war and commercial advertising was still limited. However, Eckersley was able to gain commissions from new sources such as Gillette and old sources such as the General Post Office.

Eckersley taught poster design at the Westminster School of Art from 1937 to 1939. In 1954 Eckersley joined the London College of Printing (LCP, now named London College of Communication) to teach undergraduates. Here he established the first undergraduate courses in graphic design in Britain. He was Head of Graphic Design at the College from 1957 until 1977. Eckersley also continued to complete commissioned work, adding The United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the National Business Calendar Design Awards and Cooks to his list of clients.

Eckersley was one of the most iconic poster designers and graphic communicators of the twentieth century, who combined practice with education. In addition to poster making and book illustration he also produced magazine covers and logos. His designs put across complex messages by bringing together text and pictures. The range of companies who commissioned both the Eckersley-Lombers partnership and Eckersley individually reflects the wide appeal of their/his striking designs and include: British Petroleum; the British Broadcasting Corporation; London Transport; the Ministry of Information; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA); the General Post Office; Gillette; London College of Printing; Guinness; the Inner London Education Authority; and many more.

Spotlight on the Archive: Ealing Art College Graphics students’ magazine, 1968

Graphics magazine back cover crop

In 1968, when Freddie Mercury was studying Graphics and Illustration at Ealing Art College, First Year Graphics Students produced this one-off magazine of artwork, poems, articles and anecdotes.

“this magazine is the work of Ealing First Year Graphics Students, but in a way it is anti-Graphic Design. Our only aims in producing it are to entertain and delight you, and perhaps even to inform and impress you.”

~Jill Marston, editor

‘Ealing’s Feelings’, snippets of memories and photos of old Ealing, printed on a 19th century ordnance survey map of the local area.

In the early 1960s the School of Art was composed of Fashion, Graphics, Industrial Design, Photography and Fine Art Departments. With courses considered revolutionary during the mid 1960s, Ealing Art College (or Ealing Technical College & School of Art) existed on the site of UWL’s Ealing Campus on St Mary’s Road until the 1970s. The two-year Ground course was a radical and influential experiment in art education led by Roy Ascott, whose work was based on cybernetics and telematics.

Ascott taught alongside a team of artists including R.B. Kitaj and Anthony Benjamin. Pete Townsend’s inspiration for the destruction of guitars and amplifiers is said to have come from Gustav Metzger’s auto-destructive art lectures. Subsequent students of the College included Ronnie Wood, Alan Lee and Freddie Mercury.

Front cover of the magazine

Donated by former student Tim Dean who attended the School of Art between 1967 and 1969, the magazine is now in the hands of UWL Archive. If you’d like to look at the work in more detail, why not make an appointment to visit?

UWL Archives

UWL Archives contains historical collections relating to the history of UWL as well as the Heathrow Archive.

The archive is based on the third floor of the Paul Hamlyn library at the Ealing Campus. Visits are arranged by appointment only, please contact the archivist in advance using the contact details on our web page: