Apr 2, 2024

Vancouver, BC - snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College is pleased to welcome Tilly Nelson as the first Photographer in Residence. She will be interacting extensively with the Langara College community via student mentorship, studio visits, and a public lecture on April 8. Students and faculty have the opportunity to interact with her during the process of creating her work. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to work closely with and learn from a professional photographer with very specific expertise,” said Eric Stewart, Department Chair, Professional Photography program. “It’s our pleasure to host Tilly Nelson on campus, and we look forward to the inspiration she offers our photography students.” 

This residency provides Nelson with time to create a body of work to be exhibited at the College. Her project will include a series of environmental portraits with a focus on increasing visual representation of people with disabilities and visual differences in the workplace. 

“It’s wonderful to join Langara College as the first photographer in residence. I wish I had been given the opportunity whilst studying to watch and work alongside a photographer building a personal project from start to finish. I hope to use this time to inspire students to create work they are passionate about and perhaps share a different perspective,” said Nelson. “Being on campus and working alongside the students has been equally inspiring for me and pushed me to dive deeper into the work that I am producing.”

Nelson has worked with people with disabilities from a young age. Working as a commercial photographer and media creator, she strives for representation and inclusion in her projects. Through her lens, she empowers voices that are often overlooked, capturing individuals with authenticity and respect.

Over the past few years, Nelson has produced several personal projects. One of these projects is a photo series in honour of Disability Pride. Disability Pride is celebrated every July to honour the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community. Nelson's work reflected on the meaning of the disability pride flag and giving the space to the disabled community to share their words - without non-disabled people speaking for them.

“What I’m learning about the inclusive storytelling part of my work is that it’s not my narrative, but the narrative of the people I am photographing,” added Nelson. “This really shapes the process of my personal projects and so I’d love to bring that into this residency and show the students how and why I approach projects in the way that I do.”

A second project focused on inclusivity and increasing representation in the media. Another ongoing project Nelson has focused on is increasing representation in the media. While acknowledging the strides made by companies in showcasing diversity in terms of ethnicities, body shapes, genders, and sexual orientations, Nelson sees the disabled community being left behind. Her body of work aims to highlight the beauty of people within the disabled community and to inspire companies across the world to increase representation of people with disabilities in all of their marketing.

Nelson's images and the stories that go with them will be displayed at Langara College in the Science and Technology Building, April 8–15. Nelson has an opening reception and talk the evening of April 8, register at langara.ca/events.

About snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara's expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm 'house of teachings', a name given to it by Musqueam, on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located. 

Learn more. 
Mark Dawson 
Manager, Public Affairs 
Langara College