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Anne Chappell, Emma Wainwright and Ellen McHugh present widening participation exhibition showcasing student success stories

Education photo exhibition Successful Students-08

Brunel Education researchers Anne Chappell, Emma Wainwright and Ellen McHugh are undertaking a research project that explores the factors that encourage widening participation students to stay on their course. They have organised a photography exhibition to accompany this project in the Eastern Gateway atrium with the launch event on Tuesday 12th September 12:30-1:30pm. The exhibition will then run until 9th October 2017.

This photographic exhibition showcasing photos taken by third year students at Brunel University London is part of a project entitled ‘Successful students: exploring the factors that encourage and enable widening participation students to stay the course’. Funded by the ‘Access and Student Success Fund’ (2016), this research takes a unique approach to looking at student retention by asking students from a widening participation background to identify the factors that have enabled and encouraged them to complete their undergraduate degree. Students have shared their reflections of their time at Brunel University London through a questionnaire, interviews and photographs, drawing on the personal, institutional and structural dimensions of their lives.

Given the success of widening participation at Brunel, the project was undertaken to explore and understand the factors that motivate students to complete their course of study and develop recommendations and guidelines in order to support and retain students from a disadvantaged background, as well as the broader population of students.

The research set out to investigate the following:

  • The factors that students understand to have had a positive impact in their ability to complete their studies;
  • The issues they have faced while at Brunel and the types of support they have drawn on;
  • Ideas, policies and practices the University could use to better support these students and increase retention rates and enhance progression.

Follow the hashtag #successfulstudents for online social media updates on the exhibition. For more information on this project, email