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Falkirk student features in new OU inspirational photos

Open University graduate Ali seated at a table with a laptop, and holding a mug

Falkirk based Open University graduate Ali Salik features in a new set of inspirational student portraits unveiled this week.

The portrait collection has been developed by The Open University, the UK’s largest university, in partnership with Alamy, the world’s most diverse stock library, to create an authentic portrayal of distance learning for Black and South Asian students.  

Alongside the portraits, The Open University has also partnered with Alamy, to encourage photographers to submit images that reflect life from the perspective of Black and South Asian students in the UK.

Images submitted will form an ever-growing legacy collection, which will be available via Alamy for other organisations to use in their marketing materials, as an ongoing commitment to diversity in stock images.

“The Open University prides itself on being open to people, places, methods and ideas and is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion,” says Kate Signorini, Depute Director, Strategy, Planning and Resources at The Open University in Scotland.

“We recognised that the stock images available to portray Black and Asian students are not authentic or relatable and don’t reflect the reality of their lives or of distance learning, and this project aims to improve that.”

Ali has now successfully finished his OU studies and works as an Organic Geochemistry Technician.

Commenting on his involvement in this initiative, Ali said: “People from my community do have some hesitancy over distance learning because they prefer going to physical universities, but hopefully things will change.

“Initiatives like this are important to change perceptions and encourage those who want to study.”

The Alamy legacy collection is inspired by the portraits commissioned by The Open University by Press Association’s photographer Inzajeano Latif.

Student Candace, seated next to a laptop, with books and spectacles nearby
Student Joe, seated at a desk and holding a pen, with books and a tablet in front of him
Student Halima, seated on a sofa with a laptop and holding a mug. A cat is nearby.

Inzajeano said: “I’m proud to have worked with The Open University to capture their authentic distance learning experience in the UK.

“Representation in front of and behind the camera is important to me as I’ve dedicated my career to unearthing places and faces that are all too often invisible.

“This campaign showcases students from diverse backgrounds, in their own study spaces, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of flexible learning for all.”

As well as Ali, portraits of students CandaceJoe and Halima also feature in the new photography collection.

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