Having your work selected as part of the Season of Excellence Top Arts exhibition is something that many VCE students dream of. To achieve it as a Year 11 student studying Unit 3-4 Studio Arts is a very special achievement indeed.

Year 12 student, Ashleigh Speechley, was both shocked and “stoked” when she received an email during the summer break to say her work had been chosen out of thousands of entries from VCE students across Victoria.

Her digital photography piece titled ‘Incarceration’ is a series of three photographs inspired by classical sculpture. It also won the 2017 Margaret Standen Photography Award.

“The theme for last year was ‘humanity’, so I focussed on both portraiture and some figurative pieces in my folio,” Ashleigh says. “This year I’m studying media and looking forward to working in more of a photo-journalistic, documentary style.”

Ashleigh has been studying Studio Art since Year 9 and loves the storytelling aspect of photography.

“I really care about world issues—the things that effect people—and media is a great way of communicating with people,” she says. “I want to draw people’s attention to things that matter.”

When the BSSC Visual Art students head to Melbourne in March for their annual excursion to the Top Arts exhibition at Federation Square, It will be a very different experience for Ashleigh.

“Yes, it will be pretty strange to see my work exhibited at the NGV Fed Square, but really exciting too.”

The Top Arts exhibition will run from March 23 to July 15 at the NGV Design Studio in Federation Square.