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Posted 04.04.18

Pre-degree students get hands-on in workshop with award-winning photographer

By Sarah Packer

Maythem Ridha (right) advises a student during the workshop in Plymouth Market.

Students on our pre-degree courses were left inspired following a unique opportunity to take part in a visiting lecture and workshop from award-winning international photographer Maythem Ridha.

Maythem Ridha has lived, traveled and worked in countries as diverse as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, the Gulf States and Morocco and has over 20 years experience creating award-winning film and photography projects.

In his talk to our students, Maythem discussed ways in which he taps into his own “otherness” as an Iraqi, an Arab, and a Muslim living in the UK, to connect with the humanity of the subjects of his work; to see each of them and their world through their eyes and to find true empathy with their struggles and joys.

He illustrates this through his various projects and case studies, from projects on Indian migrant workers in Qatar to working with the survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster and their community.

Students also had the chance to see a preview of Ridha’s latest project ’Tear Maker’, in which, following a group of Iraqi migrants during the Muharram Festival in London, Maythem visually explores the power of storytelling and how a tale can resonate through the ages and dramatically affect the lives of ordinary people.

Following the talk, students embarked on a workshop with Ridha, walking through the city and Plymouth market to capture the stallholders and environment, with Ridha on hand to give tips and advise them on street/documentary photography.

Maythem Ridha’s films as writer and as director have been selected for major international film festivals, distributed theatrically, broadcast and won many accolades and prizes. With specialist knowledge of working in the Middle East and Europe, he has launched channels in both regions; including 10 satellite channels for Showtime Networks. He made films in English and Arabic for BBC World Service and for ART Europe.

Maythem wrote IRAQI TALES, a body of stories for film, at the National Film & Television School (UK); DRIFTING ON THE WIND (ArRuh Ala ArRih) was chosen by over 20 international film festivals, winning the Director’s Award at Hearts & Minds. AL-BAGHDADI won the Gold Prize for Best Foreign Language Film at the International Filmmaker Festival. Winner of Al Hambra Award (UK) and a Takreem Prize (Iraq), Maythem also works as a consultant on film, television and media projects for several international clients.