Prof. Samantha Broadhead & Sharon Hooper: Learning Returns

12 May - 22 July 2022

Learning Returns is a practice-based research project that aims to capture the experiences of mature students studying art and design in the north of England.

It draws upon the work of Duckworth and Smith (2018) UK Further Education Transforming Lives where people were filmed telling their stories about the impact education has on their quality of life. The project is also informed by the work of Mumtaz (2015) and Walsh, Rutherford and Crough (2013) where multimedia art forms combine storytelling with digital media revealing personal stories that enhances our understanding of human experiences.

In the United Kingdom there have been declines in adult education generally and within the art and design discipline in particular with mature students been marginalised within cohorts of younger arts students. In response to this, Learning Returns is designed to share the breadth of experience from older learners. Through an informative, inclusive and fun approach mature students share their stories and experiences. Stories are uploaded to YouTube on a regular basis and publicised through social media.

The exhibition presents visual material generated by Learning Returns - interviews with mature students and a series of portraits - that seek to increase the visibility of adult learning and its contribution to society. It challenges dominant educational policy narratives in the UK that includes little about older learners or those returning to education later in life.

Prof. Samantha Broadhead is Head of Research at Leeds Arts University. Sharon Hooper is Senior Lecturer Visual Communication at Leeds Arts University.

Acknowledgments: Henry Gonnet, Research Co-ordinator at Leeds Arts University and Bobbi Rae, Graphic Designer.

12 May - 22 July 2022 
The Rotunda, Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ

This exhibition is available to view from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday by appointment only for external visitors. Please email to make an appointment. Staff and students are not required to make an appointment.

Image: Hafifa Ahmed, Film Still, Learning Returns, Broadhead and Hooper, 2022.

  • 12 May - 22 July 2022
  • The Rotunda, Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ