Cut the Corona! Students challenged to beat the boredom of lockdown with weekly photo competitions

In line with Government directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Plymouth College of Art was forced to close its doors at the beginning of March this year. As we are all forced into lockdown, with deadlines being extended and taught sessions being delivered online, many of our students struggled to stay motivated to keep working on their projects.

To help battle the boredom of the lockdown we challenged our students to use their creativity to stay motivated. Launching a new photography competition titled ‘Cut the Corona!’, we invited everyone in Commercial Photography to submit a single image in response to a brief set every Monday. Students had a week to generate ideas and visual solutions before uploading their entries. The staff team reviewed the images at the end of each week, the winning image being on our Instagram page and the winning student collecting  a £20 Amazon voucher.

Despite the difficulties, which in the first few weeks involved being confined to the house or flat, our students certainly rose to the challenge and produced some outstanding work. Take a look at our winners below:

Week 1: Finding Form

Inspired by the work of photographic artist Jan Groover, our students were tasked with finding the extraordinary in the ordinary and every day. We loved this image produced by year 2 student, Jess Allibon: 

Finding Form-Jess Allibon
Jess Allibon

Week 2: Space & Place

With lockdown slowly starting to ease, students were encouraged to consider their thoughts around space and place. We loved this atmospheric and evocative landscape from year 2 student Rosie Hartshorn: 

CUT-THE-Rosie Hartshorn - Space_Place
Rosie Hartshorn

Week 3: Colour

Pure and Simple! We wanted to see how locked down students would respond to this most powerful of formal elements, and year 2 student Mi Kelly didn’t disappoint.

Mi Kelly2
Mi Kelly

Week 4: Beautiful Strangers

Inspired by the work of Peter Zelewski and Niall McDiarmid – friends and visiting lecturers of our programme – this week’s brief was all about people. With lock-down finally eased it was time to get out and about and find some faces to photograph! This week’s great image was produced by year 1 student, Allanna James:

Allanna James

Week 5: We are Family

The final week of our competition was perhaps the most challenging.. students were asked to consider the idea of family, possibly in the literal relative sense, but also in terms of collective identity and our sense of belonging. Well done to year 1 student Lauren Wiig-Aspland for this great portrait.

Lauren had had won the 2nd place vote in a number of the previous weeks, so it was great to see her claim 1st prize.

CUT-THE_Lauren W-A Family
Lauren Wiig-Aspland


Our thanks go to all of the Commercial Photography students, many of who took part and entered images every week during lockdown. Cut the Corona provided a welcome weekly diversion for many of us and showed that even in the midst of a crisis, you can’t keep a good photographer down!