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Department of Sociology


The Department of Sociology is delighted to announce the results of this year’s Photography competition, which bore the theme "Sociology of Change".

This year we received entries not just from across the UK but also from as far afield as Kuala Lumpur! The Department would like to thank all of the students that took part in the competition as well as the teachers for their support.

The Department was amazed by the range and quality of entries, and it was harder than ever for our judging panel to decide on a winner. As a result, this year we’ve doubled our shortlist as well as including two special mentions, because we’re keen to showcase the range of excellent entries and the hard work of the students!

If you’re in Y12 and thinking about studying Sociology at University, have a look at our pages for prospective applicants.


Keira Forde “Society on Lockdown” (Joseph Rowntree School)

Keira’s striking image touched upon themes of hope and resilience and commented on the seismic social changes provoked by coronavirus: “Society has essentially put itself on pause at very short notice. Our usual ways of work, education and socialising have been put on hold.”

Tobias Coll “The New Religion and the technological singularity” (St Columba's College)

Tobias’s uniquely dystopian image really captured the imagination of the judges. Tobias used the juxtaposition of technology with religion to comment on forces of rapid secularisation as well as the growth of consumer culture, arguing that: “technology has now taken the role in society as the ultimate authority.”

Sonia Uthirapathy “Self-reflection” (Alice Smith School)

Sonia’s entry explored the expectations placed upon women by society, the competing forces of structure and agency, and how hopes for gender equality shine even more brightly for the future. Using symbolism to evoke social pressures, Sonia wrote that “her vase is cracking because of the pressures that society has put on her as a woman, a mother and a wife.”

Gregory Chang “Hong Kong Protest: Summer Tears” (Ampleforth College)

Gregory’s exceptional entry combined a journalistic-standard photograph with a considered analysis of both the impact, motivation and perception of the protests in Hong Kong. Writing of his own experiences, Gregory said “I have witnessed my home burning in the flames of protest.” His carefully considered sociological analysis asked: “Why violence? Perhaps, the better question to consider is why have the protests become so violent?”


Jaimie Farquharson “Mask” (Joseph Rowntree School)

Against tough competition, Jaimie’s entry was selected for its highly creative approach to visualising recent social change, as well as her insightful description of changing social norms. The judges were particularly impressed by the thought process behind the curation of the image and the way the frame of fashion was used to relay social acceptability or even desirability in relation to the use of masks. Congratulations Jaimie!

For years, the wearing of masks has been a cultural taboo in western society: evoking anxiety and unease within many, and producing feelings of alienation especially targeting the East Asian population for whom wearing masks has always been much more of a norm. However, the most drastic change in modern history, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes towards both masks and their wearers.

As coronavirus threats grow rapidly, the government has begun to urge the public to wear masks when they visit the outside world. More and more people who would previously ogle at mask-wearers are choosing to wear masks in public, and it is practically unheard of now to see somebody display the same distaste and horror at somebody wearing a mask as they would mere months ago.

Most norms take years of conditioning for society to accustom; however, amazingly, over the space of just a few months, the mask has become a norm in our society. In my photograph, I chose to take a picture as though for the front cover of a fashion magazine, where the model is wearing a floral mask. This symbolises the mask becoming a norm in our society, showing the mask to become a fashion staple shown off in designer magazines, just as ‘normal’ and accepted as any other piece of clothing – JF.

Special Mentions

Eve Hutton “Sociology of Change” (Joseph Rowntree School)

Best accompanying analysis: Eve’s sociological analysis was of the highest standard, comparing postmodernist and Marxist perspectives to warn of the “the dangers of individualism and prioritising consumerism.”

Jessica Francis “Social change in the eye of the Pandemic” (Gumley House Convent School)

Best individual photo: Jessica’s powerful image portrayed the idea that “everywhere you look and everything you do is focussed on the pandemic, this is all we can see!”.

We will be running the competition again next year, you can sign up to our mailing list to receive alerts for the 2021 theme and deadline! 

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