Each year, the Global Justice Academy runs a photography competition as part of Edinburgh College of Art’s MA Photography degree programme. The 2018 competition was run in conjunction with the ERC Greyzone Project and its Summer School, ‘Navigating the Grey Zone: Complicity, Resistance, and Solidarity’. This post is the first in a short series of three, where we introduce this year’s winners, their images, and the stories behind their submissions
Commended Series: Isobel Budler, ‘Bridges Not Walls’.
Q: What inspired your competition entry?
I came across the ‘Bridges Not Walls’ conference through the organiser Nancy, who I knew prior to the project. She spoke to me candidly about the work they do within the school they are employed by, challenging stereotypes and educating young people on a range of topics.
While all topics interest me massively, and in the future I hope to explore more of the conference, I immediately gravitated towards the ‘Dispelling The Myths About Muslims’ section. In our current political and cultural climate, Islam is constantly scapegoated. Islamaphobia is on the rise, from terrorism to Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban, and I feel that the work that the ‘Bridges Not Walls’ conference is doing is crucial in changing young people’s minds. The organisers are bringing together a multi-cultural community, showing that solidarity is key in overcoming the hatred in the world.
Isobel Budler was born in Leeds in 1998 but is based in Edinburgh where she studies Photography at Edinburgh College of Art. She is currently working on a project called ‘Bridges Not Walls’, which formed the basis of her competition submission.
‘Bridges Not Walls’ explores religions, specifically Islam and the work that is being done in her local community to address hate. This includes the work that Brighouse High School do to dispel the myths about Muslim by hosting a conference for students called ‘Bridges Not Walls’.
Isobel’s previous exhibitions include at the Foundation Show Leeds Arts University where she showed her series ‘I am a name, not a number’. This project looked at vendors who sell the Big Issue in Leeds and their own experiences. She has since had three exhibitions at Edinburgh College of Art: one exploring the student night scene of Edinburgh through postcards, one focusing on feminism and the media and finally her current work on ‘Bridges Not Walls’. All four projects worked exclusively on film – she finds the process of development and printing very creative.
Isobel plans to continue her work on ‘Bridges Not Walls’ as an evolving piece. While she has a commission to photograph a wedding in France in September, her focus will remain on politics, culture and challenging hegemonic constructs in society.