250MC research

I’ve been doing some research into the sociology of aspirations and where they come from. My assumption was that we all have high aspirations because of the media. I found an article to support my claim (http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/pjp0101.html) and there was others that agreed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20440407).

Many of us are seduced into a way of life, being introduced to socialisation through the media at early ages.The media idolises people and jobs in a certain way that inspires us and tells us that there is a possibility that we can get that job. Whatever class you are, in our culture we have all been brought up under the thumb of the media, which has embedded aspirations that influence us.


‘Aspirations, even in these communities struggling with poverty, are very high—the missing element is the knowledge of how to make these aspirations concrete and obtainable’
St. Clair, R (2013) Oxford Review of Education, Vol.39, Issue 6

From experience alone, I know that a lot of people have aspirations (including myself), but the drive isn’t always there. To make aspirations obtainable is a long and arduous process. We are all aware with ways of getting where we want to be. There is education, work experience and obtaining contacts. Education is a linear process that provides you with knowledge. Work experience is a more broad process that tunnels through other jobs. Knowing contacts in jobs can be a fast track ticket to getting where you want to be. The most credited qualification would be a combination of all three. But some of our individual skills don’t apply to all three, or so we tell ourselves.

‘Some university students plan to pursue postgraduate studies in order to delay their entry into the competition for jobs’
Li, P (2007) Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Vol.29

Education is a comfort blanket that gives us the opportunity to prolong the process of getting a job. But it does provide students with priceless knowledge and qualifications that will put you in a decent position. However, establishments that incorporate a balance between education and experience opportunities will provide students with a proven formula to lead to a job (as long as you put the work in).


I’ve been in conversation with Senior Lecturer of Law at Coventry University, Mr Alan East. He answered my questions about what is needed to get a job.

‘Yes grades are important, but as I was saying to a student yesterday, you can come out with a First class degree in Law but that won’t get you a training contract if you want to become a solicitor, because most law firms are looking for experience as well. So I try and tell students you need experience as well, not just a good class classification. Once upon a time it was essential, it is important but you can’t just rely on that. Basically if you go and get a training contract as a solicitor, the law firm will want you to make money for them so they want someone who can come in and do the work straight away, someone with experience. It’s important they do that as well as get their grades.’
Mr Alan East, Senior Lecturer, Law

Coventry University has evolved as a university known for innovation. It is now known the best polytechnic university after receiving Modern University of the Year two years in a row. While other traditional universities keep their old ways, Coventry seeks to invest itself as a forward thinking university.


‘A gap exists between students’ employment needs and higher education offerings. Thus, developing the capability to meet the learning needs of students in supporting their future aspirations should be facilitated.’
Liao, C.H (2013) Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Vol 29

By facilitating students needs to get where they want to go, institutions will be able to help students with work experience as well as linear education.The most important thing in education is to make the student do the work, as a lecturer you can lead them to the path, but its their ambition and drive that makes them make the journey.

Why am I talking about education? To understand what there is out there for students, so that I can act on what they have and tell them something different. It would be great to inform a student about something that they didn’t know they had access to and help them in their studies. Learning about what is out there will help me keep the project current.

Returning to the the socialisation of media, what if there was a socialisation of art? If there was some considered anthropological artwork that inspired students to get to a job. Understandably it would not be a lifelong process of inheriting social norms. It would be more a story telling project of the process of getting a job from the perspective of those in jobs.

‘Don’t get caught up in nostalgia of something that never existed. Think about whats happening now’
Campbell, D (2014) New fotoscapes, 49

A quote relating to the current status of photography. But it is also relevant for education. Campbell explains that ‘nostagia’ is a word that was born on false pretences because there was always limitations. The key to getting a job is to experience and learn about what gets a job now. To see people in jobs and to learn from people in jobs.

Before researching all of this information, my idea for the project was to photograph people in jobs and to access archival images of them as a student, but it wouldn’t be relevant because education is changing. I think the project will not be current if I dwell on the past. Instead I should photograph what is happening now, I should photograph people in jobs and photograph what they think would help you make your aspirations concrete, and apply it to their job. Of course it wouldn’t facilitate the answer to peoples aspirations, it would be a collaboration between me and the subject to find out what it takes to get a job in the UK currently.


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